Indians manager Terry Francona’s message in response to Yu Chang receiving racist remarks on social media was simple: “Errors are part of the game, but ignorance and racism, they shouldn’t be anywhere.”
Along with Logan Allen’s supportive tweets back to Chang, Francona texted Chang right after he got the news and reassured the infielder that he was there for support and asked Chang to stop in his office when he got to the ballpark. Along with his translator, Chang visited with his manager Tuesday afternoon.
“First, I just wanted to check on Yu and make sure he was OK,” Francona said, “and make sure he understands the lunacy or the idiocy that was said is not shared hopefully by very many people — certainly not in the Indians organization.”
Francona was planning to talk with Chang about his decision to throw the ball to second on the ninth-inning ground ball on Monday instead of taking the guaranteed out at first base. Because the natural middle infielder has had only a few weeks to practice at first, the Indians knew that the transition could come with some growing pains. But what was supposed to be a learning moment on the field turned into a conversation about racist comments that were made to him on social media.
“Those comments, they have nothing to do with baseball,” Francona said. “Whether a play is being made or not, it’s just an excuse for somebody to be stupid and ignorant.”
Chang is known for his upbeat personality — so much so that Francona noted during Spring Training that the 25-year-old is always smiling. And even when he was faced with a difficult situation like he was on Monday night, he took the time to say he appreciates fans’ comments — both positive and negative — but wanted to call attention to the #StopAsianHate movement in an attempt to put an end to this kind of mistreatment. The accounts associated with the messages Chang called out have been deleted.
After he received an overwhelming amount of support on Twitter, Chang later posted a photo of the famous “Cleveland” sign with the caption, “Thank you. NOW LET’S PLAY BALL!”
“He’s an extremely mature young man,” Francona said. “He’s fine. … I’m confident that Yu already felt like he was a cared-for member of our organization.”