In the tradition of “Gutless Bud” Selig (the most ridiculous Hall of Fame inductee in the history of baseball) Commissioner Rob Manfred refused to impose an immediate suspension on a player for a despicable act.
After hitting a home run off Los Angeles pitcher Yu Darvish, Houston first baseman Yuli Gurriel pulled up the corner of his eyes and uttered an anti Asian slur, an act insulting to everything for which baseball and the United States of America should stand.
But, while descrying the act, Manfred decided that the World Series was too important to sit a player down for an act of overt racism.
So he will have Gurriel serve an all but meaningless five-game suspension at the beginning of next season.
Give me a break!
But there was ample precedent for Manfred’s moral failure.
In September 1996, believe it or not Roberto Alomar actually spit on home plate umpire John Hirschbeck after Hirschbeck called him out on strikes in a crucial end of season game with a playoff berth at stake. If you didn’t see it you would find such an act hard to believe.
Nevertheless Gutless Bud, who (wink, wink) let steroids run rampant and counted the cash generated by balls flying out of the park while juiced players made a mockery of the game, did not sit Alomar down until (and once again it was a meaningless punishment) the beginning of the next season.
Baseball needs to follow the example of hockey and basketball. In those sports playoffs or no no playoffs, finals or no finals, you show blatant disrespect for the game that has made you wealthy beyond imagination, and you serve your suspension immediately.
When Manfred succeeded Selig, there was hope he would restore respect for what once was our national pastime. Manfred’s sorry response to the Gurriel racial slur shows me that hope is fading fast.