Astros' Infielder Yuil Gurriel Followed Up A Home Run With A Racist Mocking Of Yu Darvish
I'm not sure there's any "good" news results from a universally understood racist gesture that takes attention away from a championship series that has served as a defibrillator to the dying popularity of the sport of baseball. That said, if I were Yu Darvish I would take some solace in the fact that looks-based insults mean a whole hell of a lot less coming from someone that appears to have voluntarily swagger-jacked the styles of a multitude of exotic birds. Obviously as a run-of-the-mill white dude, I am neither Yu Darvish or making a big enough deal about the mocked facial feature being one that is inherent to a particular group of nationalities. Still, while the main issue is that we can't have athletes in the most repressed professional sport promoting discrimination on national television, I can't help but feel like the low-blow is ever-so-slightly softened by the victimized party's ability to say "look in the mirror, bro"...
Now the bad news, of which there is no shortage, is that we are about 4 hours away from the first pitch of Game 4 and the MLB has yet to hand down a punishment. He probably doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt with how blatantly offensive that expression seems, but I'm fairly certain that the brightest of lights was shown on the cultural differences that exist in baseball on its biggest stage. Regardless, this isn't about what is or isn't perceived as prejudice by Yuil Gurriel. This is about a league that's viewed as being run just as "white" as your average country club needing to put its foot down and prove they are as progressive as the makeup of their rosters leads you to believe they are.
Trust me, I hate when off-the-field antics affect on-the-field performance as well. As the importance of the games increase, more and more I find myself erring on the side of no suspension. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, the only other form of justice that exists in baseball requires the excessive force of an intentionally inaccurate 100MPH fastball. While I think that there is too much on the line for a World Series game to devolve into a plunking contest, I also think that Yuil Gurriel's actions require a lesson that's painfully comparable to taking one on the chin. Watching the biggest game of his life from afar is just that. It might be an odd correlation, but if a celebratory show of enthusiasm is worth a baseball upside the temple then a show of racism (be it a result of ignorance or not) is worth a one game benching.
The rules might remain unwritten, but Major League Baseball's questionable history is basically etched in stone. They would be extremely remiss to pass up this opportunity to paint over some of it while eyes of all shapes, sizes, and colors are on them.
UPDATE: It sends a message. Sadly, that message is that they prioritize the maintenance of a healthy working environment for all players somewhere in between the outcome of the first week of a one hundred and sixty two game schedule and the outcome of a 'World Series' game, but it does send a message...
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