Lost in the elation of the Houston Astros’ World Series win and Carlos Correa’s romantic on-the-field proposal was a quiet moment between Yuli Gurriel, perceived villain of the Fall Classic, and Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish. In Game 6, Gurriel had gotten booed relentlessly by the Dodger Stadium crowd, an unsurprising development following his offensive gesture at Darvish during Game 3. With Darvish set to start a decisive Game 7 in Los Angeles, the stage was set for another epic boo fest.
However, as Gurriel approached the batter’s box for his first at-bat on Wednesday, the Cuban first baseman removed and tipped his helmet towards the pitcher, as a sign of respect:
Although it was a bit late, it was good to see Gurriel approach the situation with a public acknowledgement of his previous mistake. Darvish nodded in acceptance, and Gurriel proceeded to fly out to end the first inning.
For his part, Darvish seemed to handle the whole situation with grace, posting a message to his Twitter account saying that he would like to move past it and instead spread knowledge and love. Gurriel had originally acknowledged the incident with a “I’m sorry if I offended you” non-apology, which was as unsatisfactory as MLB’s take on the situation. The league chose to suspend Gurriel for 5 games, but not until the start of the 2018 season, which was seen as far too lenient.
However, with the World Series now in the past, and Gurriel having deferred to Darvish to start their first face-to-face encounter since the gesture, perhaps there can be a collective effort to use the incident to teach, rather than to admonish. It’s what Darvish wants.