Saying "there is no excuse or explanation that makes that type of behavior acceptable", Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred suspended the Astros' Yuli Gurriel five games without pay, starting next season, for his actions during Game 3 of the World Series Friday night.
When Gurriel returned to the Astros dugout after he hit a home run off the Los Angeles Dodgers' pitcher Yu Darvish, he made a "slanted eyes" gesture, the Times reported. "Notwithstanding Mr. Gurriel's remorse, there needs to be disciplinary consequences to make clear that Major League Baseball is an institution that will not tolerate behavior of this type".
Gurriel was caught on camera making a slant-eyed gesture and also seemed to say the Spanish word "chinito, " meaning "little Chinese guy, " in reference to the Japan-born Yu Darvish. I would particularly like to apologize to Yu Darvish, a pitcher that I admire and respect. But I played in Japan and I know they find that offensive, so I apologize for that.
For his part, Darvish called the gesture "disrespectful" after the game, and pointed out that "Houston has Asian fans and Japanese fans" too.
"I wanted the burden of this discipline to fall primarily on the wrongdoer", he said.
"Yes, of course. I want to talk to him because I have nothing against him", he said.
Gurriel said the derogatory term is used commonly in Cuba to refer to Asian people.
Gurriel spent 15 years in the Cuban professional league and played in Japan for a year before signing with the Astros last season.
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 27: Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts during the seventh inning against the Houston Astros in game three of the 2017 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 27, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Matt Joyce of the Oakland Athletics and the Blue Jays' Kevin Pillar were both suspended for two games this season after using gay slurs in separate incidents, so there's already some precedent for the commissioner to take action. "And then he made a mistake and then we're just going to learn from it. We are all human beings, that's what I'm saying".