Giants coach Antoan Richardson, whose ejection during Tuesday’s game resulted in Alyssa Nakken’s historic coaching debut, accused Padres coach Mike Shildt of yelling an expletive at him that “reeked undertones of racism” before getting ejected.
Richardson, who is Black, spoke at length about the sequence of events that led to his getting thrown out in the third inning of San Francisco’s 13–2 victory over San Diego. The Giants’ first-base coach explained that the incident started when Shildt, the Padres’ third-base coach, began to approach San Francisco’s dugout.
After the two assistants exchanged a few words, Richardson said that Shildt, who is white, yelled, “You need to control that motherf—er” to the Giants’ dugout. Richardson said that the comment prompted his reaction and subsequent ejection for “instigating.”
“[Shildt] yelled ‘You need to control that motherf—er,’” Richardson told reporters, per Evan Webeck of the Mercury News. “At that point in time, I went to the top step and said, ‘Excuse me,’ because I couldn’t believe what I heard. At that point in time, Gibson, the crew chief, decided to toss me from the game.
“I say this because his words were disproportionately unwarranted and reeked undertones of racism when he referred to me as ‘that motherf—er,’ as if I was to be controlled or a piece of property or enslaved. I think it’s just really important we understand what happened tonight.
“And the second part that’s equally disappointing is that me being tossed by that umpire empowers this coach to continue to have conversations like that with people like me, and that’s really unfortunate that’s what happened tonight.”
Giants’ Alyssa Nakken becomes 1st MLB female coach on field
Nakken came in after Antoan Richardson was ejected, Alyssa Nakken was hard at work in the batting cage, just a few steps from the dugout, when suddenly the call came: The San Francisco Giants needed her to coach at first base.
She quickly pulled off her sweatshirt, grabbed her No. 92 jersey and found a bright orange batting helmet.
A few minutes later, Nakken made major league history as the first female coach on the field in a regular-season game when she took her spot Tuesday night in a 13-2 win over San Diego.
“I think we’re all inspirations doing everything that we do on a day-to-day basis and I think, yes, this carries a little bit more weight because of the visibility, obviously there’s a historical nature to it,” she said. “But again, this is my job.”
Nakken came in to coach first base for the Giants in the third inning after Antoan Richardson was ejected.
When she was announced as Richardson’s replacement, Nakken received a warm ovation from the crowd at Oracle Park, and a congratulatory handshake from Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer.
“Right now in this moment as I reflect back, I reflect back to somebody needed to go out, we needed a coach to coach first base, our first base coach got thrown out, I’ve been in training as a first base coach for the last few years and work alongside Antoan, so I stepped in to what I’ve been hired to do, is support this staff and this team,” Nakken said.
The baseball Hall of Fame was ready, too. Her helmet is already on its way to the shrine in Cooperstown, New York.
San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler said Nakken had “prepared for this moment” while working with Richardson and others.
“So it’s not a foreign spot on the field for her. She does so many other things well that aren’t seen,” he said. “So it’s nice to see her kind of be right there in the spotlight and do it on the field.”
Nakken is an assistant coach who works heavily with baserunning and outfield defense. She watches games from an indoor batting cage near the steps to the dugout — and keeps a Giants jersey nearby, just in case she needs it.
And in an instant Tuesday night, she needed it.
The 31-year-old Nakken jogged onto the field four days after Rachel Balkovec became the first woman to manage a minor league affiliate of a Major League Baseball team. She guided the New York Yankees’ Class A Tampa club to a win in her first game.
Nakken had previously coached the position in spring training and during part of a July 2020 exhibition game at Oakland against now-Padres manager Bob Melvin when he was skipper of the Athletics. She started at first again a night later against the A’s in San Francisco as the teams prepared for the pandemic-delayed season.
“You feel a sense of pride to be out there,” Nakken said at the time. “Me personally, it’s the best place to watch a game, that’s for sure.”
The former Sacramento State softball star, whose blonde braid hung out from her orange protective helmet Tuesday, became the first female coach in the big leagues when she was hired for Kapler’s staff in January 2020.
At Sacramento State from 2009-2012, Nakken was a three-time all-conference player at first base and four-time Academic All American. She went on to earn a master’s degree in sport management from the University of San Francisco in 2015 after interning with the Giants’ baseball operations department a year earlier.