You read that title right. In a league that had players like Ty Cobb and also treated Jackie Robinson like complete garbage for years, the first baseman of the Houston Astros just pulled the most racist maneuver in World Series history… Or at least the most racist thing caught on camera.
In the second inning of game three of the World Series last Friday night, after hitting a home run off of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting pitcher, Yu Darvish, Gurriel retreated to the dugout and pulled both of his eyes to mock Darvish’s ethnicity — he’s got both Iranian and Japanese heritage.
It’s hard to decide what is worse: the fact that he did the most tired and unoriginal — not to mention incredibly racist — “joke” towards an Asian person or the fact that he was playing in the WORLD SERIES and had just hit a home run and somehow thought that the multitude of cameras that were covering the game wouldn’t catch him doing this:
Clearly the “joke” was much worse but it really has to make you think (if you’re part of Astros management) about the intelligence level of your first baseman. Gurriel has been given a five-game suspension without pay that will begin at the start of the 2018 season. He’s escaped the dreaded World Series ban though.
As for Darvish, he issued a statement Friday night forgiving Gurriel and asking fans to learn from the incident.
With the NFL dealing with all sorts of PR problems from the player protests during the national anthem, it seemed as if Major League Baseball escaped that controversy pretty scot free. It’s surpassing the NFL in terms of likability in most polls and has regained its status as “America’s Game” after years of lagging behind the NFL — which lagged behind baseball for most of the first half of the 20th Century back during the leather helmet days.
When the Astros travel to Los Angeles, the whole thing could end up creating a really horrible situation for everyone. While that’d be interesting to see, it’s something the league definitely wants to avoid.