Jason Heyward spent 2015 with the St. Louis Cardinals before departing in the offseason and signing an eight-year, $184 million contract with their rivals, the Chicago Cubs. When the rare high-profile player inks a free-agent deal with a rival club, their return to their previous team's stadium is never a fun experience. When Alex Rodriguez left the Mariners for Texas, for example, the Seattle fans famously showered him in Monopoly money in his first game back.
But Heyward's return to St. Louis last night reportedly went beyond mere vitriol. The New York Daily News reports ESPN cameras picked up "multiple Cardinals fans allegedly yelling the N-word" at Heyward, who stood in right field.
Fans on Twitter also reported hearing the ESPN mics picking up the racial slurs.
Heyward, for his part, seemed unfazed.
“You hear it,” Heyward told ESPN. “It’s fun. They don’t boo too often. It must be someone important or someone doing something worth booing.”
UPDATE: Deadspin went back and listened to the ESPN audio, and found no evidence of racial slurs picked up by ESPN microphones. A spokesperson told Deadspin that "to their knowledge no slurs had been picked up."
This posted has been updated with new information regarding the ESPN audio.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.