SAN FRANCISCO — It’s rare that a reliever enters in the middle innings and gets booed, but some Giants fans certainly made their feelings known when Josh Hader came on with two down in the sixth inning Thursday night.
Hader was making his first road appearance since his racist and homophobic tweets were discovered during the All-Star Game. He heard light boos as he entered and several Giants fans in the lower deck stood and yelled at him as he warmed up. Hader was booed again as he jogged off the mound at the end of the inning.
"Like I said before, I can't control what they're going to say to me," Hader told reporters after the game, a 7-5 Brewers win. "I've made mistakes in my earlier years. I've just got to go out and focus on what I've got to do and that's to get outs and help this team win ... Obviously I don't like what I said back then and I obviously regret what came out, but we live and we learn as human beings. We're not perfect. It's how you learn from what you do and just become a better person from it."
Hader is having one of the best seasons by a reliever in recent memory. With 1 1/3 scoreless innings, he lowered his ERA to 1.39 and WHIP to 0.77. He has 96 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings. The dominance earned Hader an All-Star appearance, and during the game some Twitter users dug up tweets Hader sent out when he was 17 years old. Hader apologized to teammates upon returning from the break in what was described as an emotional meeting.
The Brewers opened the second half at home against the Dodgers and Hader, now 24 years old, received a standing ovation from the home fans when he made his first appearance following the discovery of his tweets.
The Giants, like most teams, try to be thorough when it comes to social media. Draft picks go through social media training while visiting AT&T Park for workouts in November and minor leaguers get a presentation every spring in Scottsdale. Per a team official, the Giants did reach out to minor leaguers after the Hader incident to remind them of the standards set in previous training sessions.
Before the game, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he had not thought one bit about the kind of reception Hader might get.
“To be honest, that’s the last thing I’m thinking about the last couple of days,” Bochy said. “My thoughts are we need to get rolling and get ourselves on a nice run.”