Houston, You Have a Problem. It’s Yuli Gurriel’s Racism

The Dodgers lost Game 3 of the World Series, but the Astros lost the narrative. Baseball analysts from television studios to bar stools around the country – check that – around the world, were all discussing the racist gesture and slur that Astro Yuli Gurriel casually used to mock Los Angeles Dodgers Japanese pitcher, Yu Darvish.

Gurriel, from Cuba, had just returned to the dugout after hitting a home run off Darvish, when broadcast cameras picked him up using his fingers to pull his eyes back in a racist mocking gesture rarely seen outside elementary school playgrounds. Others interpreted his mouth to be saying “Chino”.  The gesture was picked up by social media and flew around the world faster than Cody Bellinger swings at bad pitches.

The broadcast that went out to Asian countries showed Darvish and his interpreter discussing the matter in the Dodgers dugout shortly afterward. Darvish can be seen putting his fingers to his face in the same manner as Gurriel.

After the game, Gurriel made a half-hearted apology:

“I didn’t want to offend anybody. I don’t want to offend him or anybody in Japan. I have a lot respect. I played in Japan.”

“In Cuba, we call everybody who’s from Asia, ‘China.’ … I know it is offensive to them and they don’t like that, but I didn’t mean to do it.” – Yuli Gurriel 

This amounts to the old cop-out, “Of course I’m not racist, some of my best friends are chinos  ( even though I know they’re offended by the term and I use it anyway).”  Context is everything. Gurriel was clearly making fun of Darvish. His empty apology didn’t even address him pulling his eyes back and having a good laugh.

On the bright side in all of this, Yu Darvish took the high road. He called Gurriel’s actions “disrepctful” and said, “He made a mistake. He’ll learn from it. We’re all human beings.” according to tweets from the LA Times Andy McCullough. Darvish later tweeted on his own account that “No one is perfect.”

Major League Baseball may not be perfect, but we’re all waiting to see if it’s consistent. MLB Commisioner Rob Manfred is expected to speak with Gurriel before Saturday’s game, and any discipline could be immediate. Players Kevin Pillar and Matt Joyce were both suspended for using homophobic slurs.

This is different, sure. It’s especially different because it happened under the glare of the World Series, and the world at large. Will Manfred suspend Gurriel in the middle of the series? Will he suspend him, but delay it until next season? Or will MLB take the high road as well?

 

Oscar Martinez

Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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22 thoughts on “Houston, You Have a Problem. It’s Yuli Gurriel’s Racism

  1. No, he won’t suspend him in the middle of the series, nor should he.

    It was juvenile, disrespectful and stupid, but I’d rather not get sucked in to our current cultural obsession with race and racism everywhere. It’s another dog whistle for our culture’s addiction to grievance and outrage over the trivial and insignificant.

    Still….hope the Stros get some bad press and the country starts rooting for our Doyers. For contrast they oughta replay some Vin moments

    1. Dodgerpatch

      Bottom line, this was a racist pose by Gurriel last night!

      And no one went out of there way to bring up any racial issues in this World Series, other then Gurriel, himself!

      Gurriel made this blatantly racist gesture, in front of the media, on a national broadcast, last night.

      And Gurriel in his half baked apology, has already admitted, he knew that Asians are offended by what he did, and what he mouthed at the same time, when he made his racist gesture last night, on a national broadcast!

      And what Gurriel did is much worse than the slide that Chase made, in the post season, a couple of years ago!

      But there were many people out there, including people in baseball, that wanted Chase to be punished, for accidentally hurting the Met’s second baseman!

      But unlike Chase, Gurriel already knew before he made his racist gesture, that his racist gesture was offensive to Asians, but Gurriel purposely still chose to blatantly make his racist gesture, in front of a national broadcast, last night!

      And because baseball is a game played by children, there were many children watching this national broadcast, of the World Series last night, when Gurriel made his racist gesture!

      And because of that, and the fact that baseball has players of all ethnicities, including many Asians, Gurriel should be suspended immediately!

  2. If Darvish performed the way the team expected from him, the reason they traded for him, there would be no controversy. He had nothing on his pitches which I could see from my couch in NW Indiana but Roberts seemed really pleased with his performance until he wasn’t.

  3. If Darvish pitched well, this thing wouldn’t have occurred. I’m not saying it is right or wrong or anything else. It happened, it was not appropriate, but I agree with Patch’s above statement.

    Back to baseball. “Houston we have a problem!”

    Our big guns are not hitting the ball, Ed Dinger isn’t even fouling off pitches, he is just creating a breeze around homeplate.

    Time for the good karma to return.

    EdDingerEDDingerEDdingereDDINGEREdDINGEReDDingerEddinger

    That was just awful last night, Darvish was totally lost from the get go, he is lucky he didn’t get blasted in the first inning. No command, no control, no location, no bueno!

    Note: Grandmal is staying right in form, nice post season at bat.

    1. Wow. What an ignorant thing to say. If Yu had pitched better, this wouldn’t have happened? Are you serious? If someone lights up a black pitcher it’s OK to cover your top lip with your tongue to make your lips look fat? It’s Yu’s fault?

      Wow. Shaking my head.

      I’m going to take this to an extreme: “If she hadn’t worn a short skirt, she wouldn’t have been raped.” If you still don’t see my point and still think this is mere dog whistles–a fabricated distraction, then stop reading here because I’m going to waste your time.

      Racism has no place in our society. It will always exist, but it never should be tolerated or dismissed. Dismissing Gurriel’s behavior and half assed apology and shifting the blame to Darvish is beyond clueless. Asians are sick of these idiotic gestures. Everyone knows it’s insulting.

      Gurriel’s not going to be disciplined because baseball doesn’t want any problems, and honestly I don’t know if they should suspend him for this. Where do we draw the line? Not sure. But if they want to really continue growing the sport in Asia, they better do something smart about this. I doubt they will though.

      But I have so much respect for Darvish’s classy reaction, and am disappointed in those who want to dismiss this as benign playground behavior. Very disappointed, but sadly, not surprised.

      1. Brotherblue

        I don’t know about that, Baseball sure wanted to punish Chase, for accidentally hurting another player, and what Gurriel did, sure was no accident!

      2. BB,
        Talk about jumping to conclusions. So what you are saying if Darvish pitches well, Gurriel would have still mocked Darvish? Since that is what I am saying and was saying. Jumping to your rape scenario is absolutely ridiculous. You have me shaking my head with your hyper reaction and reading way beyond anything that I posted. Stop looking for ways to be offended. I said in my second sentence that it was inappropriate, so don’t skip over what you don’t want to hear and jump on conclusions that you want to hear and generate. I have found over the years that just because you think and act a certain way doesn’t mean that everyone else thinks and acts as you would. You are driven first by your ideology not by the facts. Take you ideological worship to the group you hang with, don’t go blasting away and putting words in my text.

        1. Trying to make Darvish the inciting cause of Gurriel’s behavior is moronic.

          People are responsible for their own actions, the fact that it took Darvish’s lack of a curveball for Gurriel to show his true behavior is losing the forest for the trees.

          By your logic, do you blame the Versailles treaty for the Germans behavior in WWII?

        2. Blue

          I would hope any human, and not just someone of a certain ideology, would not want others, to judge, or put down others, because they are of a different race, or a different ethnicity.

        3. Ed, I went after the logic that Darvish’s pitching bore part of the blame in Gurriel’s gesture, according to a few posters here . I have no idea how you draw the conclusion that I’m saying Gurriel would have still mocked Darvish if Yu pitched well. That’s completely irrelevant. Whether he’s lights out or tossing grapefruits he doesn’t deserve Gurriel’s actions. Period. Gurriel is completely responsible, yet he still doesnt get it, given his lame half-assed apology.

          It’s too bad you decided to personalize this. I wasn’t directing it toward yout. But given your final 4-5 sentences you come across just as judgemental and ideological as you label me. Funny how you can have me all figured out with this one post, isn’t it?.

          Bottom line: what Gurriel did was insulting and moronic. He is 100% to blame, not Darvish or his performance on the mound.

          Now let’s move on and hope the Dodgers quit trying to play this idiotic homerball swinging for the fences every AB.

      3. You’re correct in that Dingle’s argument is not a very good one. I think his argument is one of general taunting. If you don’t want to open yourself up to taunting, don’t perform poorly. The point he misses is that taunting using overtly racial or ethnic characteristics is totally unacceptable in our culture, and for good reason.

        Your second point is why I find your ideological side, and our current cultural obsession with race, so infuriating. Simply because I don’t immediately turn my outrage dial to 11 over a puerile gesture that grade school age kids have probably done at some point does make me “ignorant” or racist or my country endemically racist. That’s your implication, and I resent it and I find it offensive; firstly, because I resent being labelled a racist, and secondly, because I think this type of obsessive virtue signalling and contrived outrage destroys the ability of a reasoned, rational society to have reasoned, rational discussions. We’ve lost all perspective and are in the thrall of a type of collective hysteria.

        As a culture we now live in fear that anything we do or say could be construed as racist. We now have college professors physically intimidated and screamed at because he and his wife don’t sufficiently denounce Halloween costumes that deviate from the orthodoxy. A racial injustice is now a micro-aggression – anything construed within the mind of the person who perceives herself the victim. It’s insanity.

        If you want to pat yourself on the back for being virtuous in your own Orwellian self-referential bubble, fine. Don’t imply that me or my country are somehow bad because I choose to put incidents in a rational – and sane – perspective.

        What he did was dumb. Hopefully he learns we don’t do those type of things in our culture, the least of which because chances are he’s going to be playing with an Asian player and he has to look that teammate in the eye.

  4. I must have been so pissed off by what was happening that I totally missed the gesture. Anyway, when I read about it last night after the game, the only thought that came to my mind was what a moronic thing to do. And also that haircut you have is hideous. Listen, racism exists in the major leagues. It is not talked about much, but it is there. The fans do it, and players do it. It has been there since Jackie broke into the bigs. MLB would for the most part rather look the other way. A couple of players were suspended earlier this year for racial slurs. So, should Gurriel be suspended? All things being fair and treating a Hispanic player the same way that two white guys were treated earlier, the answer is yes. His apology reeked of being very half hearted and the excuse he gave that Cuban players call all Asian players China was totally lame. But will Manfred be that bold during a World Series? Is racism as big a crime as doctoring a ball? Remember that Jay Howell was suspended 1 game in the 88 series for having a file in his glove. Personally, I do not think Manfred has the stones to do what should be done, same as the NFL and NBA limit their disciplinary actions when it comes to racial slurs. It is a sore subject for all involved, and suggesting that if Darvish had pitched better it would not have happened is somewhat ludicrous. Obviously if Yu had not allowed the HR it would never have happened, but he did, and it did, so now it is out there being scrutinized. That this is even a topic of conversation is the worst part of the whole thing. Knowing MLB, they will just sweep the whole incident under the rug. Darvish to his credit has taken the whole thing with extreme class. I would love to see the Dodgers re-sign this guy in the winter.

    1. I don’t think racism in the MLB exists even remotely to the degree it did during Jackie Robinson’s era. The MLB has people from all over the world playing and on the same team. The vast overwhelming day to day interactions between these players from diverse cultures and different races is positive. They’re on the same team working towards the same goal and they generally get along perfectly and bond with each other.

      It doesn’t mean individuals who are under 30 (I think most people under 30 are pretty immature) don’t do stupid stuff. And although the “apology” was dumb, I think there’s some underlying truth to it in that what is acceptable or frowned upon in Latin American cultures is sometimes radically different than what is acceptable in American culture.

      Human being are wired to be tribal, and they identify with those who are similar to them and have antipathy to those who don’t . It doesn’t have to be race. We do this with culture, language, behavior…and politics. If you wore your MAGA hat on a college campus, what do you think would happen? Is that a kind of bigotry?

  5. Oscar I have a problem with your title: “It’s Yuli Gurriel’s Racism”. If it had said “It’s Yuli Gurriel’s Gesture” then I wouldn’t have been bothered.

    You went from an action (the gesture) to a label. Now Gurriel is part of that ever expanding club (which apparently includes Ghandi) because “others” have decided to put him there. Regardless of blame, IMHO, it is wrong to label and categorize others.

    Now about the game, YIKES! That high powered offense has taken a snooze.

    1. Artieboy

      The only one that brought this on, was Gurriel.

      And if he would make a racist gesture like that, on a national broadcast, what does he do, when no one is watching!

      I always thought, that actions mean much more then mere words, and Gurriels actions, spoke louder then any words he said, after the fact!

    2. And this is the problem with expanding without limits how we define racism and who we apply the label to. Racism is now anything anyone wants it to be.

  6. I did hear this, on a positive note, the last three teams, that were down in our situation, ( Which is down two games, to one) two of the three teams, went on, to win the World Series.

  7. Gurriel suspended 5 games in 2018…..WTF? He should have been suspended immediately if they think it was worth 5 games…..benefits the Stros and I said before Manfred does not have the stones to buck the MLBPA.

    1. Michael

      It is hard being a Dodger fan, with all these bias broadcasts people, and knowing everyone on the MLB Channel, want the Astros to win, including everyone in NY, there works for the MLB.

      They sure went after Chase that time he slid into second, and Mattingly didn’t play Chase, after all the controversy either, but we all know that Gurriel will be in the line up tonight.

      And it feels even worse, with the way the team has played, in these last two games.

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