On Friday night, after homering off of Dodgers starter Yu Darvish in Game 3 of the World Series, Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel mocked the pitcher — who is from Japan — by pulling at the corners of his eyes and using the word “chinito,” which translates to “little Chinese.”
Gurriel apologized after the game, claiming his intent wasn’t to offend. Commissioner Rob Manfred said he intended to speak with Gurriel on Saturday before Game 4. There was some clamor, including from us, that Gurriel should be suspended at least one game during the World Series. That isn’t happening.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that Gurriel has been suspended for five games starting at the beginning of the 2018 regular season. Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times adds that Gurriel will attend sensitivity training.
Astros GM Jeff Luhnow released this statement:
The Houston Astros were surprised and disappointed by the behavior displayed by Yuli Gurriel during last night’s game. The Astros and Major League Baseball pride ourselves on the diversity of our sport and in showing great respect to all cultures represented by our players, front office staff, fans and members of the media.
Yuli has always demonstrated respectful behavior and is extremely remorseful for his actions. Appropriately, Yuli has apologized for his gesture. He had no intention of offending anyone, but now recognizes the perceived offensiveness of his actions.
We support Major League Baseball’s decision of a five-game suspension for the 2018 season. The Astros will donate Yuli’s salary for these five games in equal parts to the Astros Foundation and to a charity directly supporting diversity efforts.
Players who had previously been punished for bigoted behavior served two- or three-game suspensions. Gurriel’s five-game regular season suspension is likely due to his behavior being seen by manyfold more people on baseball’s biggest stage.
All things considered, though, Gurriel got off easy and Major League Baseball missed a great opportunity to back up its recent dialogue about wanting more diversity, wanting to be more inclusive. Manfred said there is “no place in our game” for Gurriel’s behavior, McCullough reports, which would’ve been much more believable if Gurriel faced an immediate punishment.