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Looks like Milwaukee Brewers fans have already forgiven controversial relief pitcher Josh Hader, based on their warm welcome when he took the mound on Saturday at Miller Park.
Fans gave Hader a warm ovation from the crowd of 36,242 in his first stint since his racist and homophobic tweets that he posted when he was 17 years old surfaced during the All-Star Game.
Hader opened the seventh by striking out Logan Forsythe and forced Manny Machado to a flyout. He allowed a double to Matt Kemp but atoned for it by forcing Max Muncy to a lineout.
In the eighth, Hader struck out Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, and Cody Bellinger to preserve their 4-2 lead. Corey Knebel then worked the ninth for his 12th save of the season. Corbin Burnes (1-0) earned his first win of the season in relief of starter Chase Anderson.
Hader Grateful For Warm Welcome
“I’m not expecting that everybody’s going to forgive me early,” Hader says after the game. “But I just hope that people see my true character today. I hope that I can show them that’s not who I was.”
Hader also expressed gratitude for another chance to return to the mound and do the thing that he loves to do. According to Hader, his return helped him clear his mind from the noise of the controversy that surfaced from his old tweets.
“This is what I love to do. It helps me clear my mind and that’s really what I did today,” said Hader, who drew praise from Brewers manager Craig Counsell. Counsell acknowledged that Hader is a good pitcher and could be key piece for the team entering the second half of their campaign.
Hader Made Tearful Apology To Team
On Friday, Hader made a tearful apology to his teammates for the offensive tweets that he posted. All of Hader’s teammates accepted his apology while some of them joined the relief pitcher as he faced the media.
“This isn’t me. I hope that people who I’ve touched and came across, they know who I really am,” said Hader, who was joined in the press conference by African-American teammates Lorenzo Cain, Jeremy Jeffress, Eric Thames, and Keon Broxton.
Before facing his teammates, Hader met with MLB vice president Billy Bean to explain his side. According to Bean, Hader will undergo a league-mandated sensitivity training and participate in MLB’S diversity and inclusion programs.
After their talk, Bean says he’s really proud of Hader for opening up and expressing his willingness to repair his relationship with his teammates.
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