The smudge on the Houston Astros’ World Series run was the ugly incident involving first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who homered off Yu Darvish in Game 3 of the World Series then made a racist gesture in the dugout and uttered a racially charged word about him.
For a couple days there, Gurriel was the epicenter of sports controversy. He homered off Darvish in the second inning, then was caught making a slanted-eyes gesture about Darvish and calling him “Chinito” (which translates to “little Chinese boy.”) Afterward, MLB opted not to suspend Gurriel for Game 4 of the series but rather ordered him to attend offseason sensitivity training and suspended him for the first five games of 2018.
Gurriel mocking Darvish?? pic.twitter.com/DsHz12HT3O
The suspension is still coming, but Gurriel recently completed his sensitivity training. Gurriel — who is from Cuba — told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart through an interpreter that the training “went really well” and it helped him further acclimate to life in the U.S.
“It went really well,” Gurriel said through an interpreter. “I learned a lot. There was a lot of things I didn’t know when I came to this country, and I think sensitivity training was really beneficial in a lot of different areas, just helping me acclimate to life in the U.S. It was really beneficial.”
For a while, it looked like Gurriel and Darvish had a chance to be teammates next season, as the Astros were one of the finalists to sign Darvish, baseball’s top free agent pitcher. The Astros traded for Gerrit Cole instead.
Even if they had been teammates next season, based on the way Darvish handled the original incident — with empathy and class — it probably wouldn’t have been a problem.
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