SAN FRANCISCO – Giants first base coach Antoan Richardson and Padres third base coach Mike Shildt met at Oracle Park early Wednesday morning, speaking cordially on the field in an effort to resolve their dispute from the night before. .
Twelve hours earlier, in the Giants’ 13-2 victory over the Padres, the two coaches had been embroiled in an argument that led to Richardson’s ejection amid an incident he said had “shades of racism”.
“I just want to make it very clear that I don’t believe Shildty is racist in any way,” Richardson said, speaking to reporters alongside Shildt on Wednesday morning. “What I was trying to do was just raise awareness of the impact of words on certain communities, even though they might not have bad intentions. It just helped us to be more aware of what these things mean.”
The situation arose early in the third inning on Tuesday. Shildt, who spent the last three seasons as Cardinals manager before being hired as an adviser in San Diego, is a third base coach while Matt Williams recovers from hip surgery. He appeared to shout into the San Francisco dugout after the Padres were upset by the Giants’ decision to steal second base when they were up nine runs.
Richardson answered Shildt from dugout, then was ejected by third base umpire Greg Gibson. (Richardson’s dismissal would make for some history as Alyssa Nakken of the Giants became the first woman to take the field as a field coach, replacing Richardson at first base.)
After the game, Richardson called reporters at the Giants clubhouse long after it closed to explain the moments leading up to his ejection.
“Obviously a historic night with Alyssa coaching first base,” Richardson said. “I think that was great. I just wanted to clear up the incident that happened tonight that brought Alyssa into the game.”
Richardson explained that Shildt was searching the dugout to find southpaw Alex Wood, who has a long-standing relationship with Shildt. The two then exchanged heated words which brought Giants manager Gabe Kapler into the fray.
“[Shildt] said, “You have to control this m—-f—–“, and at that point I went to the top of the top step and said, “Excuse me?” “, Richardson said “Because I couldn’t believe what I heard. And at that point, Gibson, the crew chief, decided to kick me out of the game.
“I say this because I think his words were disproportionately unjustified and undertones of racism when he called me ‘that m—–f—-‘, as if I should be controlled or a good or slave.”
A day later, Shildt and Richardson arrived at Oracle Park early to discuss the situation. Richardson said he didn’t think Shildt was racist, but wanted to convey the effects of his words. Shildt wanted to clarify that “it was in no way a shape or form in the context of what was said last night”.
Hours later, Shildt and Richardson spoke with reporters behind home plate at Oracle Park before the first pitch in the Giants-Padres series finale.
“I don’t know Antoan’s heritage; I can’t walk in his shoes,” Shildt said. “I can only have empathy and love, which I have and have always had in my life. I used inappropriate language, which is my biggest problem last night , and I apologize.”
Richardson praised Shildt’s receptivity and willingness to engage in dialogue, hoping to put the spat behind them, while shedding light on an important issue.
“It’s more something that we both want to use as an opportunity to raise awareness that sometimes harmless words are very insensitive to other people,” Richardson said. “And it’s really important that we are aware of the things we say. Once again, Shildty has been a huge supporter of the black community. I appreciate that he takes ownership and understands the impact of his words. “
A day later, the Giants remained upset over Richardson’s ejection. The Padres, meanwhile, fumed that Steven Duggar stole a base and Mauricio Dubón attempted a hit with a nine-run lead — an apparent violation of the unwritten rules of the game.
But any animosity between Richardson and Shildt had apparently been quashed.
“We’re here to play baseball,” Shildt said. “And the one thing that I’ve always liked about our game is that whatever color your skin is, whatever your socio-economic status, whatever language you speak, and now, thankfully , whatever your gender, we had a great time last night with Alyssa…. I think it will come out good because now the reality is that we handled this difficult situation publicly, as men with solutions and without any animosity. It’s a great example of how people communicate with each other.”