“Stupid and ignorant” is what Indians manager Terry Francona called racist social media messages sent to first baseman Chang Yu. They have no place in baseball or “anywhere,” Francona added.
On Tuesday, Chang shared some anti-Asian postings he received on Twitter after he made a costly error in the ninth inning of Monday’s game in Chicago. The throwing error allowed the White Sox to score the winning run.
Chang, who is Taiwanese, posted some of the messages on his account, while asking for tolerance. One of the messages referred to the shape of his eyes and another referred to COVID-19.
“Exercise your freedom of speech in a right way, I accept all comments, positive or negative, but DEFINITELY NOT RACIST ONES,” Chang wrote. “Thank you all and love you all.”
Chang included the hashtag #StopAsianHate.
Chang’s message included a screenshot of three of the messages. Two of the accounts seem to have been deleted.
Soon after his posting, the 25-year-old Chang received an outpouring of positive responses and support from Indians fans and others on social media.
Francona said that earlier in the day, he had texted with Chang and met with him along with the player’s interpreter before Tuesday’s game at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“First, I wanted to make sure he was OK and that he understands the lunacy or the idiocy that was said is not shared by hopefully very many people, certainly not in the Indians organization,” Francona said.
“Truth be told, man, it’s really simple: Errors are part of the game — but ignorance and racism, they shouldn’t be anywhere,” he said. “Those comments that have nothing to do with baseball, it’s just an excuse for somebody to be stupid and ignorant. That’s really what it is.”
Francona said that Chang was handling the situation well.
“He’s an extremely mature young man and he’s fine,” Francona said.
With the Indians and White Sox tied 3-3 in the ninth inning and Chicago threatening with two runners on base and one out, Chang fielded a groundball and attempted to force the out at second, but hit runner Yasmani Grandal on the helmet.
The ball ricocheted toward the left-field line, allowing pinch-runner Nick Madrigal to score and giving the White Sox a 4-3 win.
Chang, who came up as a middle infielder in Cleveland’s organization, is playing first base for the first time this season. The Indians signed him as a free agent in 2013.
Chang was not in the lineup on Tuesday night, but Francona said that putting Jake Bauers at first base had nothing to do with the error.
“I can promise you that we will never make a lineup out from somebody’s tweet the night before,” Francona said.
Chang hit a fly ball as a pinch-hitter on Tuesday in the Indians’ 2-0 win in 10 innings. There was no noticeable reaction from the socially distanced crowd when he batted.
The racist social media postings directed toward Chang are part of an ugly trend of abusive behavior toward Asians, which included the fatal shootings of six women of Asian descent in Atlanta by a white gunman last month.
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