Justin Heiman/Getty Images

Yuli Gurriel apparently mocks Yu Darvish with slant-eye gesture, racial slur

86 Comments

Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel opened the scoring in Game 3 of the World Series by scorching a Yu Darvish fastball down the left field line for a solo home run into the Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park. It sparked a four-run outburst, which propelled the Astros to an eventual 5-3 victory over the Dodgers.

Gurriel seemed pleased with himself for his production. In the dugout, cameras caught him apparently mocking Darvish by slanting his eyes and he then appeared to say “chinito,” which translates to “little Chinese.” Darvish, of course, is from Japan. He considered the gesture “disrespectful,” per Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times.

Chad Moriyama of Dodgers Digest has a screencap and video of Gurriel’s actions. It’s difficult to think of any kind of scenario that makes this a whole misunderstanding. Tyler Kepner of the New York Post reports that MLB will review the incident and “consider discipline.”

On Twitter, Craig referenced a few incidents from past years in which players faced punishment for bigoted behavior. Yunel Escobar, then a shortstop for the Blue Jays, was suspended three games in September 2012 after writing an anti-gay slur in his eye black. In May this year, Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar shouted a homophobic slur at Braves reliever Jason Motte and received a two-game suspension. Two months ago, Athletics outfielder Matt Joyce was also suspended two games for using an anti-gay slur when responding to a heckling fan.

There is precedent for players to be punished for such behavior, but they all happened in the regular season. Major League Baseball has an important choice to make now. If, after reviewing the situation, Gurriel was found to have been in fact mocking Darvish in a racist way, commissioner Rob Manfred can suspend Gurriel during the World Series when it would matter, taking a stand against racism. Manfred can also weasel out and wait for the completion of the World Series to announce a punishment, which would mean Gurriel pays a fine and/or misses the first few games of the 2018 regular season. Smart money is on the latter, sadly.

Giants hire Gabe Kapler as new manager

8 Comments

The Giants announced on Tuesday the hiring of Gabe Kapler as manager. Kapler, filling the extremely large shoes of future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy, inked a three-year deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kapler was one of three finalists for the job, beating out Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quataro.

Following his 12-year playing career, Kapler was a coach for Israel’s team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier. He then became an analyst for FS1 before joining the Dodgers’ front office as the director of player development in November 2014. He was involved in three scandals there: one in which he tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police, one in which he allegedly discriminated against Nick Francona, a veteran and former baseball operations employee, and an incident that implicated most of the Dodgers’ front office concerning the recruiting of international free agents. The Dodgers reportedly kept a spreadsheet of employees and their level of criminality.

Despite Kapler’s background, the Phillies hired him as their manager ahead of the 2018 season. He would lead the Phillies to an 80-82 record that year and then helped them improve by one game in 2019, finishing at exactly .500 before being fired. Kapler’s tenure in Philly was tumultuous, often drawing ire from the local media and subsequently the fan base for not being tough enough on his players. The Phillies also reportedly had a clubhouse issue in 2018 in which players were playing video games in the clubhouse during games, prompting Carlos Santana to smash a TV with a bat.

Kapler has a history with Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. They worked together in the Dodgers’ front office as Zaidi served as GM from November 2014-18.