Oct 31

WIT Life #317: World Series 2017

Written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03), WIT Life is a periodic series about aspects of Japanese culture such as film, food and language.  Stacy starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some interesting tidbits and trends along with her own observations.

As a child I was a rabid Mets fan, but since becoming an adult I have not followed baseball nearly as much.  However, since I’m currently in LA interpreting for a group of young political leaders, I’ve been closely tuned in to the exciting World Series between the Dodgers and the Astros.  Like myself many of you probably caught the palpitation inducing game the other night, and are eagerly awaiting Game 6 tonight.

But another stressful incident occurred during Game 3 Friday night, when Astros player Yuli Gurriel made the racist gesture of stretching the sides of his eyes in the dugout after getting a home run off of Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish.  He also called Darvish a “chinito,” a derogatory term toward Asians meaning “Chinese boy.”  This ignorant behavior earned Gurriel a five-game suspension for the 2018 season, leading many to wonder why he is being allowed to still play in the series (he will lose about $321K as a result of the suspension and also has to go undergo sensitivity training).

Despite the fact that this punishment is more severe than others for similar offenses, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was questioned as to why it wouldn’t go into effect immediately.  He stated that he didn’t want to penalize the whole team at such a critical juncture, as well as that he considered Gurriel’s remorse and that he had a right to the appeals process, which would have disrupted the series.

Darvish, who is of Japanese and Iranian descent, graciously accepted Gurriel’s apology and in an official statement expressed his hope that people learn from the episode.  Gurriel had actually played for the Yokohama Bay Stars in 2014, and his explanation that “he was telling teammates that maybe Darvish though he was Japanese and that is why he gave him a good pitch to hit” was absurd.  Many Dodgers players have said they want to win for Darvish, so hopefully this episode will provide fuel for them to tie things up tonight and claim the series in Game 7.  Happy viewing and Happy Halloween!

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