Did the Houston Astros and MLB do enough in disciplining Yuli Gurriel?
The 2017 Fall Classic has been one for the ages. Two heavyweights are just going at it, including two extra-inning marathon slug-fests between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros.
Taking away from the epic series is an inexcusable act of racism displayed by Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel. After hitting a home run off of Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish, this reprehensible act followed:
Gurriel’s was seen using his hands to slant his eyes and mouthed the word “chinito,” which is a Spanish term that translates to “little Chinese.” The gesture was caught on cameras on the international feed and quickly spread on social media during the game.
Commissioner Rob Manfred stated that Gurriel would not appeal the suspension, where he will be required to attend sensitivity training during the offseason.
“There is no place in our game for the behavior or any behavior we witnessed. There is no excuse.”
Gurriel stated his remarks through his translator, showing his remorse for what went down:
“I didn’t think anybody would think bad about what I meant with all those kinds of things like that. I offer my apologies to baseball and anyone offended.”
Darvish mentioned that Gurriel’s gestures were “disrespectful” but offered forgiveness for his fellow ballplayer.
“No one is perfect. That includes both you and I. What he had done today isn’t right, but I believe we should put our effort into learning rather than to accuse him.”
That is a man who understands human emotion and the art of forgiveness. Darvish then continued that very approach of graciousness:
“If we can take something from this, this is a giant step for mankind. Since we are living in such a wonderful world, let’s stay positive and move forward instead of focusing on anger. I’m counting on everyone’s big love.”
Houston Astros GM Jeff Luhnow showed his displeasure, issuing an apology to Darvish and all of Major League Baseball:
Failure to act
Gurriel went 2-for-4 with that aforementioned home run and a double in that game, where you figured it would be his last one of the series. However, he received a suspension for five games, but not until the beginning of the 2018 season.
Does this punishment fit the crime? I say nowhere close. In fact, not only should Gurriel have been banned for the entirety of the 2017 World Series but for a minimum of 10 games to start 2018, to go with a high fine.
He went on to be an intricate part of the Astros’ game five 13-12 victory, one that Gurriel should never have played. The slugger went 2-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored, on a critical three-run blast that evened up the score in the 4th inning.
Like Darvish, I’m all about forgiveness and letting things go, but there also needs to be more severe repercussions for acts of racism. Gurriel got off easy, and Major League baseball should be ashamed of this light sentence.
Manfred’s acts of omission are even worse, after saying these actions had “no excuse.” His actions as MLB Commissioner showed that he is okay with that cowardly act and there is no excuse for this petty punishment.
Not only was Manfred’s sentence short of the mark, but he should also be reprimanded and held accountable for his lack of discipline and failure to act.
Ironically, Gurriel played one season in Japan during the 2014 campaign, where you would think he would know more about race relations from that experience.
Hopefully, he learns from this mistake and moves on, learning how to treat his fellow man with more dignity from here on out.