When the World Series shifted to Los Angeles on Tuesday for Game 6, the Astros’ Yuli Gurriel was lustily booed by Dodgers fans irate over his racist gesture after hitting a Game 3 home run off the Dodgers’ Yu Darvish in Houston. Not only did the booing of Gurriel continue in Wednesday’s Game 7, there was added emotion because Gurriel would once again be facing Darvish.
This time, though, the Houston infielder offered a different sort of gesture. After stepping into the batter’s box in the first inning — amid a deafeningly negative reception at Dodger Stadium — Gurriel took of his cap and tipped it in Darvish’s direction.
The conciliatory act did not mollify the thousands of Dodgers fans in attendance, who continued to rain boos down on Gurriel as he eventually flied out to right field after a 13-pitch at-bat. However, it represented the latest attempt by Gurriel to express his contrition for making a slanted-eyes gesture in Game 3. In that incident, he also appeared to say “Chinito” (“little Chinese boy”) to a teammate.
“In Cuba and in other places, we call all Asian people Chinese,” Gurriel said through a translator after that game. “But I played in Japan and I know [that is] offensive, so I apologize for that.”
“I didn’t want to offend anybody,” Gurriel added. “I don’t want to offend him or anybody in Japan. I have a lot respect. I played in Japan.”
Gurriel subsequently issued a statement of apology, but he was suspended for five games by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. That ban, though, is set to take place at the start of next season, allowing Gurriel to continue playing in the World Series.
“There is no place in our game for any behavior like the behavior we witnessed last night,” Manfred while announcing the suspension Saturday. “There is no excuse or explanation that makes that type of behavior acceptable.”
For his part, Darvish initially described Gurriel’s Game 3 gesture as “disrespectful,” but he went on to say via Twitter, “No one is perfect.” Darvish added, “I believe we should put our effort into learning rather than accuse him. … Since we are living in such a wonderful world, let’s stay positive and move forward instead of focusing on anger. I’m counting on everyone’s big love.”
Gurriel requested to meet with Darvish, but the pitcher indicated that wasn’t necessary, saying on Tuesday, “I told him, ‘Hey, you don’t have to do that, because you made a comment, and like, I’m not that mad.’ So I really didn’t care much about that.”
A face-to-face moment for the two arrived Wednesday, and Gurriel took the opportunity to send Darvish a silent message of apology.
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