Major League Baseballis looking into Yuli Gurriel’s actions during and after Game 3 of the World Series. It will judge if they merit a suspension for tonight’s Game 4. I’m not holding my breath waiting for a “yes” answer. And even if that is the answer, the appeal process means serving during the Fall Classic is extremely unlikely.
But if MLB wants to back up its words with supporting actions, the Houston Astros first baseman should be disciplined. He should miss the biggest game of his baseball life because some things are –trite as this may be– bigger than baseball.
Gurriel mocked Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish with a “slant-eye” gesture after blasting a solo homer in the second inning. His action was caught on video and quickly spread, including to the other dugout.
— MT (@beemybeeby) October 28, 2017
As for the gesture, Gurriel said: “I was commenting to my [teammates] that I hadn’t had any good luck against Japanese pitchers here in the United States.”
Uhhhhhh okay. That’s the type of answer that erases all benefit of doubt people were giving. That includes myself, who didn’t want to fly off the handle because surely there was another explanation for what Gurriel was doing. Or so I thought. Guess not.
Gurriel did muster this.
“I didn’t think anybody would think about what I meant with all those kinds of things like that. I offer my apologies to baseball and anyone offended.”
Those are some weak words compared to the actions that drew them out. Actual, real-world consequences should be in order.
Spare yourself the knee-jerk reaction to such a suggestion. There’s slow PC creep and then there’s this. Major League Baseball — and society — can’t have people walking around tugging at the corner of their eyes to demean Asian people. That shouldn’t be a controversial take.
Gurriel’s inability to grasp the gravity of the situation and show contrition is as perplexing as him thinking the gesture is copacetic in 2017. How can MLB just look the other way during the World Series and after so much time and energy has been spent trying to get this nonsense out of the game? What message does that send?
The Astros surely won’t be happy about losing their first baseman to a suspension. Nor will the MLBPA. But you know what? Let them say that in public and defend Gurriel’s actions. See if they’ll own it. My guess is you won’t hear an army of teammates coming to his defense and defending his actions.
Gurriel himself should be less worried about Game 4 and more concerned about this following him around for the rest of his career. Let him voice his objections and defend the indefensible.
In that sense, MLB has the leverage here to do what should be done. But, again, I’m not holding my breath.