Posted on October 28, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine

Houston Astros Yuli Gurriel

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Major League Baseball has made a ruling with regard to Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel making a racist gesture during Game 3 of the World Series. Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Saturday that Gurriel will be suspended for five games. However, the suspension will not go into effect until the start of the 2018 season. It will not prevent Gurriel from participating in the rest of the World Series.

After Gurriel hit a home run against Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish in the 2nd inning of Game 3, television cameras caught images of him in the dugout mimicking the eyes of an Asian person. Gurriel also appeared to say a derogatory term for an Asian person in Spanish. Darvish is of both Japanese and Iranian descent.

After the game, Gurriel said he meant no offense and that he was simply telling his teammates that he’s had little success in his career against Japanese pitchers. Before signing with the Astros last summer, Gurriel played in Japan in 2014 and 2015.

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“I did not mean it to be offensive at any point,” Gurriel said through an interpreter after Game 3. “Quite the opposite. I have always had a lot of respect (for Japanese people). … I’ve never had anything against Darvish. For me, he’s always been one of the best pitchers. I never had any luck against him. If I offended him, I apologize. It was not my intention.”

Gurriel met with Manfred both Friday night after the game and again Saturday morning. He says he will seek out Darvish to apologize to him in person. But While Gurriel appeared contrite and immediately apologized for the gesture, Manfred still felt it was appropriate to suspend him.

“There is complete unanimity – me, my office, both owners, both clubs, and the (union) – that there is no place in our game for the behavior like we witnessed last night,” Manfred said Saturday. “There is no explanation that makes that type of behavior excusable. Mr. Gurriel quickly realized last night that his behavior was wrong. I met with him today. He reiterated that remorse and he assured me that he will offer a private apology to Mr. Darvish.”

However, Manfred did not feel it was appropriate to suspend Gurriel for any World Series games. The Commissioner believes it would be unfair to the other Astros players to have Gurriel suspended in the middle of the series. Gurriel is Houston’s primary first baseman. During the postseason, he’s hitting .340 with eight extra-base hits in 14 games. He’s 3 for 12 with a home run and two doubles against the Dodgers during the World Series.

Gurriel has no plans to appeal the suspension. He will also undergo sensitivity training this offseason. Astros GM Jeff Luhnow released a statement Saturday expressing his support in MLB suspending Gurriel at the start of next season.

Darvish, meanwhile, was understandably upset at Gurriel’s gesture. However, he appeared willing to offer Gurriel forgiveness for his mistake.

“I feel like, of course, Houston has Asian fans and Japanese fans, and Asian fans live all over the place,” said Darvish. “And acting like that, it’s just disrespectful to people around the world, to the Houston organization. It’s not OK. Including him and I, nobody’s perfect. Everybody’s different. We’ve just got to learn from it. He made a mistake, and we’ve just got to learn from it. We are all human beings.”

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