Allegations are unfounded that Chicago Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward heard racial slurs directed at him Monday night in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
The New York Daily News reported Tuesday morning that Heyward, who played for the Cardinals last season, was not only booed but also called a derogatory name.
ESPN, which broadcast the game nationally, could hear no evidence of the racial taunts from crowd microphones. Fans on Twitter, however, said it happened more than once.
“We’re just trying to get the information around here and trying to get whether this is factual or not,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Tuesday afternoon. “I haven’t heard that there’s anything documenting it being true.
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“It’s just an awful thing to be said. Whether it happened or not, it’s a shame. But right now, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything backing the fact that it actually did happen. I hope that’s the case.”
Heyward, who signed an eight-year, $184 million contract with the Cubs in December, said after the game Monday that he heard the boos, but didn’t mention anything else.
“It was loud enough, obviously, to hear,” Heyward said of the boos. “I’m not ignoring it or listening, one way or another. It’s fine. Everybody can voice their opinion.
“Who didn’t say anything? Obviously, people are going to say something. There were a lot of Cubs fans here, too, supporting (me). That’s cool. It’s a fun thing for everybody, to go back and forth.”
Heyward said Tuesday that he’s been racially taunted in the past, but reiterated that he didn’t hear anything coming from the stands Monday.
“It’s just not something that I really pay attention to because it’s not really a part of the game on the field,” Heyward said. “In the outfield, you’re trying to make sure you’re into every pitch, so I don’t concern myself with what’s going on off the field.”
Cubs manager Joe Maddon believes Cardinals fans would have had stadium security escort the offenders from their seats had anyone called Heyward a name.
“I’m certain if it did occur, people around those people aren’t very happy about it, either,” Maddon said. “I did not hear anything specific about it, other than rumor.”
Maddon said what happens inside a baseball stadium is similar to what occurs at any other public place.
“Listen, you just watch the elections right now, watch what’s going on everywhere,” Maddon said. “It’s nothing unique to a baseball stadium and nothing unique to a particular city. We’ve come a long way, but then again, we haven’t.”
Matheny is amazed at the power of social media outlets like Twitter.
“It just shows you how, if in fact this did not happen, which I’m hoping it did not, how quick something can happen virally through the social media stuff,” Matheny said. “It’s a shame. Hopefully, the fact that it hasn’t been picked up by anybody will let this go away.”
Cubs 2, Cardinals 1
Jason Hammel and four relievers subdued the Cardinals, who dropped the second game of the series against the Cubs. Chicago scored the only runs it needed in the fourth when Hammel grounded a two-run single through the left side against Jaime Garcia.
By the numbers
Yadier Molina had an RBI triple in the second to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. ... Garcia (1-1) allowed two runs on four hits in five innings, with four walks and seven strikeouts. ... Hammel (2-0) allowed one run on five hits in six innings, with no walks and six strikeouts ... St. Louis was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. ... Hector Rondon earned his third save. ... The teams combined for 24 strikeouts.
Carlos Martinez (2-0, 3.46 ERA) vs. Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 2.84 ERA), 12:45 p.m. Wednesday