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Whicker: MLB does the wise thing in Yuli Gurriel case

By in Press Enterprise on October 29, 2017

By Mark Whicker

HOUSTON — The Astros came to the ballpark Saturday leading a World Series, 2-1.

In an occurrence almost as rare, Major League Baseball got something right.

Commissioner Rob Manfred gave Houston’s Yuli Gurriel a five-game suspension for a racially insensitive gesture and remark he made inside the Astros’ dugout during Game 3.

But Gurriel will not serve the suspension until the beginning of next season.

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So Gurriel, who hit 18 homers with 75 RBIs and a .299 average in the regular season, was back in the lineup Saturday, much to the consternation of Dodgers fans, some of whom suddenly became socially aware.

Gurriel, who is scheduled to make $12 million next year, will be suspended without pay and the Astros will donate that money to a local charity.

By comparison, the Giants’ Juan Marichal assaulted the Dodgers’ John Roseboro with a bat to the head in 1965 and was suspended for eight days (10 games, due to doubleheaders) and was fined $1,750.

This was far from an exoneration of what Gurriel did, which was juvenile and ignorant at best. A five-game suspension is not nothing. Kevin Pillar of the Blue Jays was suspended for two days when he delivered a homophobic epithet.

But, in making this call Manfred threaded the needle and targeted the individual, not the team. He said it was unfair to punish the other Astros and their organization during a World Series, and he was right.

Besides, Gurriel and the Players Association would surely have filed a grievance in the case of a suspension, and Gurriel would have played on, to even more tumult than he faced this weekend.

Gurriel hit a home run off the Dodgers’ Yu […]    

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