Following the US Women’s loss to the Japanese team in the Women’s World Cup, a sport I’m guessing that 90% of Rockies fans were not paying attention to before this week, a handful of a fans decided that they should taunt Brewers pitcher, Takashi Saito, with racial slurs.
From Andy Tworischuk’s Twitter feed:
“rockies fans are apparently yelling anti-japanese slurs at takashi saito which is pretty f-ing embarrassing…saito was in the middle of his windup and stopped, walked off the mound and started yelling "please stop” at fans"
Here is a clip captured by @Long_Drive of Saito pointing out the fans responsible:
Baseball players receive plenty of abuse from visiting fans, so the fact that these comments were vicious and offensive enough to give Saito cause to interrupt the game can only hint at some of the awful slurs that were hurled his way. Saito should even be commended for his restraint as no one would blame him had he decided to confront the bigots who were safely hidden in the stands.
While this is surely the case of a few isolated fans, this remains a terrible embarrassment for everyone at the stadium and a horrid reminder that racism still exists in this country, just a few beers and a sporting event away from rearing its ugly head.
I’ll update this post as I receive more information.
UPDATE: Perhaps we were too quick to judge without enough information, though apparently the television announcers also thought there were some racist slurs being used.
From the Journal-Sentinel:
Two odd conferences took place in the bottom of the seventh inning involving Brewers reliever Takashi Saito, Saito’s interpreter, Kosuke Inaji, Roenicke and the umpires.
At issue was a fan down the third base line who, during the odd hitch in Saito’s delivery, was, well, making his presence known.
“There was a fan in the stands that kept repeating my name really fast,” Saito said, laughing, through Inaji after the game.
“The first batter, I was able to concentrate fine. From the second batter on, I started hearing it more and more, and it started bothering me.
"So I asked the umpires if there was anything they could do about it.”
Both times the umpires told Saito no, there was nothing they could do. So Saito went ahead and got Carlos Gonzalez to fly out to center before heading over toward third to ask the fan personally to quiet down.
Saito struck out Dexter Fowler to end the inning. That was followed by an emphatic gesture as Saito went back to the dugout.
“It was to the fan,” he said, laughing again. “It was to the person calling my name.”
It’s hard to believe that Saito would have such an issue with a man merely saying his name “really fast,” but I also don’t know why he would have any reason to lie after the game. Any chance someone from the game has a comment?