Yulie Gurriel: One of Our Favorite Astros

Yuli Gurriel
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With the last out of Game 7 in his glove
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November 1, 2017

 

Gurriel Deserves Baseball’s Accountability Award

If there were such a thing. And maybe there should be.

When Yuli Gurriel of the Houston Astros homered off Yu Darvish of the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the World Series, he completed his gait of elation around the bases as he energetically landed back in the dugout at the end of the trip through invisible roses in a smiling heap.

Then he did the thing that made his celebration not OK. Using the fingers of each hand at the corners of each eye, Yuli pulled back on his own facial corner flesh to create an ever-so-briefly slanted eyes look as an apparent taunt of the Japanese pitcher he had just taken yard in the World Series.

As a home viewer, I missed it in real-time. I may have been on a quick (for me) run to either the bathroom or kitchen, where all my game-watching supplies are kept. It wasn’t until after the game that one of the commentators brought it up and the network showed us a brief (because that’s all it was) clip of Gurriel’s quickly finished reaction.

It was only the next day that we learned of Gurriel’s sincere apology, heard his convincing story that it had not come from any kind of intensive hate, but from a common practice in Cuba for giving playful and benign-spirited recognition to the Asians in their midst for all sorts of social interactions, and of Commissioner Manfred’s decision, nonetheless, to attach consequences to this act by suspending Yuli Gurriel from 7-8 games at the start of the 2018 season. And rightly so. Even without serious intent, there is no space for tolerance here for behavior that is universally perceived as hate for others of another ethnicity, race, sex, religion, or “any other different condition of being.” Yuli Gurriel got that point right away because his own actions were not the products of hate, but the result of an important misstep in how his own Cuban culture had prepared him for how the hand gesture exercise would be perceived on the world’s largest stage.

We doubt we ever will see this behavior from Gurriel again. He expressed his contrition very well, as did Darvish get across his ability to forgive Yuli in a genuine way. I’ll never forget that smiling tip of the cap that Yuli Gurriel gave to Yu Darvish when the two last faced each other as batter and pitcher in Game Seven.

It’s too bad all these kinds of things aren’t simply matters of benign misunderstanding, but they cannot be when the perpetration is the result of 100% ignorant human hate.

Thank you Yuli Gurriel and Yu Darvish for being a very bright candle in the dark woods of human relations in 2017.

Aaron Judge was named Monday as the AL ROY for this past season. 33-year old Yuli Gurriel tied for 4th in the 2017 American League Rookie of the Year vote announced last night. Too bad they don’t award extra points for humanitarian acts of understanding that teaches all who need them – that accountability in the larger world holds us all responsible for lessons that are larger than the sub-cultures of anyone’s individual childhoods.

In addition to being a “Cool Hand Luke” killer of a hitter, one that comes through in key game ROB situations, Yuli Gurriel is a class guy – and one of our Pecan Park Eagle favorite Astros!

Just another cog in the reasons behind why the 2017 Astros were so great. The club had “Little Adonis” and “Big Adonis” up the middle and killer-cold hitters at the corners. What an infield. Overall, we’ve never had a better one at one simultaneous all season moment at the four infield glove and hit men spots.

On his own in 2017, Yuli Gurriel batted .299 with 158 hits, 18 homers and 75 RBI in 2017. Had he been able to start a decade ago, at age 23, and had he been able to average that much production for ten years, he could have compiled something like 1,580 MLB hits, 180 HRs, and 750 RBIs by now.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

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One Response to “Yulie Gurriel: One of Our Favorite Astros”

  1. jeff share Says:

    one of your best Bill

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