Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is having his suspension and his World Series too.
MLB levied a five-game suspension against Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel as punishment for a racist gesture mocking Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish during Game 3 of the 2017 World Series. The incident took place on Friday night. The suspension was announced on Saturday afternoon. Then Gurriel was in the lineup for Game 4 on Saturday night at Minute Maid Field in Houston.
"There is complete unanimity — me, my office, both owners, both clubs and the MLBPA — that there is no place in our game for the behavior or any behavior like the behavior we witnessed [Friday] night," Manfred said, via MLB.com. "There is no excuse or explanation that makes that type of behavior acceptable."
Gurriel’s unpaid suspension is set for the start of the 2018 season. The 33-year-old Cuban-born player will undergo sensitivity training during the offseason. He will be available for the duration of the World Series.
Addressing the suspension before Game 4, Manfred noted that the five-game ban for Gurriel exceeds previous suspensions for offensive slurs. He counted Darvish’s gracious response and a reluctance to punish Gurriel’s teammates among his four reasons for not beginning the suspension during the World Series.
Here are the four reasons outlined by Manfred for suspending Gurriel the way he did, via ASAP Sports:
I've decided on that timing really for four reasons: First of all, I felt it was important that the suspension carry with it the penalty of lost salary.
Secondly, I felt it was unfair to punish the other 24 players on the Astros roster. I wanted the burden of this discipline to fall primarily on the wrongdoer.
Third, I was impressed in my conversation with Yu Darvish by his desire to move forward, and I felt that moving the suspension to the beginning of the season would help in that regard.
Last, when I originally began thinking about the discipline, I thought that delaying the suspension would allow the player the opportunity to exercise his rights under the grievance procedure. It now appears, and I have every expectation, that he will not be exercising those rights.