October 30th, 2017 – The Houston Astros slugged their way to a 2-1 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers by getting the better of Dodger’s ace Yu Darvish early in the Game 3. After hitting a home run off the 31-year-old former Japanese Professional League superstar, Astros’ first baseman, Yuli Gurriel, was recorded mocking Darvish by holding the corners of his eyes in a racist insult.
The Cuban-born Guriel was also reportedly caught using a racist slang term for people of Chinese descent to refer to Darvish. The 6’5,” 220lbs Darvish is of Japanese and Iranian heritage. Major League Baseball was quick to act as MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced a five-game suspension for Guriel on Saturday. The suspension is scheduled to take effect at the start of the 2018 MLB season as opposed to immediately, and Gurriel is expected to play for the remainder of the Fall Classic. Manfred explained his reasoning in a press statement reading in part:
“I wanted the burden of this discipline to fall primarily on the wrongdoer… I was impressed in my conversation with Yu Darvish by his desire to move forward, and I felt that moving the suspension to the beginning of the season would help in that regard.”
Gurriel and the Astros management quickly issued public statements expressing regret for the incident:
“I made an offensive gesture that was indefensible. I sincerely apologize to everyone that I offended with my actions. I deeply regret it,” Gurriel said.
Astros’ General Manager Jeff Lunhow backed MLB’s decision:
“The Houston Astros were surprised and disappointed by the behavior [of] Yuli Gurriel during [Friday] night’s game. … We support Major League Baseball’s decision on a five-game suspension for 2018.”