Jason Heyward was greeted with boos in his return to St. Louis last night. ESPN microphones also caught a few racial epitaphs direct his way during the game, according to the New York Daily News.
Heyward, who signed an 8-year, $184 million contract with the Cubs this offseason, spent last year with the Cardinals. He apparently didn’t hear the more malicious stuff while on the field.
Honestly, I didn’t hear it either. Not on the ESPN feed and not on the WGN broadcast. Not on his first plate appearance or any subsequent one. Not on any defensive play in which he was involved.
The New York Daily News piece embedded four tweets to support the claim. One references “nasty” language and one claims to have heard the N-word twice on audio.
To add another twist to this story (or perhaps non-story), ESPN made the odd decision to switch to a Bryce Harper at-bat during Heyward’s sixth-inning plate appearance.
This, of course, led to people drawing the conclusion that the network decided not to take a chance on unseemly language slipping through.
The paid attendance at Busch Stadium last night was 45,432. It’s likely that a few of them said some offensive things about Heyward. There are always idiot outliers in a group that large.
It just seems odd that there’s no audio evidence to back up this narrative.
It’s no secret that self-proclaiming themselves to be the best fans in baseball has put a target on Cardinals’ supporters’ backs. Anything less than perfect behavior is fodder for those who want to point out hypocrisy — especially Cubs fans who long ago grew tired of the perceived arrogance.
There’s a huge difference between Heyward being “blitzed with alleged N-word taunts” and spurned fans booing.
Check the tape for yourself and see which version of events is correct. The evidence seems to point toward one more than the other.