Will Craig is ready to leave his viral mistake behind.
The former Pirates first baseman, who was designated for assignment shortly after committing a bonehead fielding mistake, has signed for the Kiwoom Heroes of South Korea’s KBO League in an effort to “start over.”
“I feel like that play kind of defined me,” Craig told the Post-Gazette. “I didn’t want that to be the case. That’s another thing that went into my decision to go over there. I need to almost start over in a way.”
During a game against the Cubs on May 27, Craig, a 26-year-old rookie, shockingly chased Javier Baez on the base path rather than tag the Chicago shortstop or touch first base for the out.
The bizarre sequence, which lasted 11 seconds, allowed the Cubs’ Wilson Contreras to score. The Pirates lost 5-3.
Craig, a first-round pick in 2016 who hit .203 in 20 total games with the Pirates, recognizes that he will be on “blooper reels for the rest of my life” and there is no total escaping the disastrous play.
“There are times where it hits me, and I’m like, ‘Did that really happen?’” Craig said. “It will hang over my head for the rest of my career. But I want to give myself an opportunity to break away from it for a little bit.
“… I feel like most players always have a play or some type of event that happens in their career,” he added. “Mine just happens to be a little bit bigger than others. If I was in Year 15 of my career, I feel like that play wouldn’t be nearly as crazy. But because I only had a month [of service time], it made it seem that much worse.”
Craig, who spent time with Triple-A Indianapolis following the gaffe, is slated to become a free agent at the end of this season.
He hopes that his move abroad will help him “get [his] feet wet with something a little bit different,” and give him an opportunity to be known for something more than just his mistake.