No amount of strikeouts or sick Twitter burns will ever be enough for some baseball fans to absolve Yu Darvish of the perceived sins of mental weakness and failure to perform in the clutch. For far too many, his legacy has already been etched in stone. That includes Darvish himself to an extent, as he recently admitted he’s chosen to hold onto ignominy even after the very public revelations of sign-stealing by the same Astros team that tagged the righty in the 2017 World Series.
In a YouTube video Darvish posted, and that was subsequently translated by Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, the pitcher refused to use the Astros’ cheating as an excuse.
“I feel that if I absolve myself and say it was the Astros’ fault I was bad in Game 7, in the World Series, I can’t develop as a person,” Darvish said. “In life, I think huge failures are extremely important. I’ve had a few up to this point. The World Series was one of them. I think it will remain a point of reference for me. I’ve already learned a lot from it. So regarding that, I can’t view myself charitably. I think I have to continue to accept the results.”
Darvish caught all manner of hell from Dodgers fans who blamed him for the continuation of their World Series futility of the last three decades, to the point where he didn’t even want his kids going to school in LA. That information came from a 2018 interview he granted to Hernandez upon his first return to Dodger Stadium with the Cubs, at a time when Darvish was catching fresh hell from more than a few Cubs fans over what they wrongly perceived was a phantom injury manifested from his mental weakness.
Turns out the guy was trying to pitch through a stress reaction that could have led to a fracture and that eventually required offseason surgery to clean up. After a period of acclimation in 2019, a healthy Darvish found his groove and dominated down the stretch, including a game in LA he went into confident would not be the worst day of his life.
A lot of the fans who gave Darvish the most crap have since come around, whether because of the way he pitched or the way he’s carried himself since. Dude has been nothing but class the whole time, and his sense of humor has endeared him to fans around the league. His refusal to throw the Astros under the bus, all while acknowledging that something was obviously going on, is further evidence of that.
Not everyone can handle allegations with such grace, as Christian Yelich make all too clear Friday afternoon. Bleacher Nation’s Brett Taylor had noticed a moment from a game at Miller Park in which Yelich’s eye’s darted out to left center, after which Darvish stepped off. Darvish himself confirmed Taylor’s suspicions in the ensuing conversations, something Yelich took issue with.
May wanna scrub those home/road splits before you go throwing stones, man. While you’re at it, maybe saying “Nobody needs help facing you” isn’t the sickest burn when your team carries an aggregate .585 OPS against Darvish.
Anyway, this whole saga has been very interesting for a number of reasons and it could get a whole lot worse before it gets any better. There are definitely several other teams trying to steal signs with more than just their wits, it’s just that the Astros were the most brazen about it and their hubris ended up biting them in the ass first. When you include the moronic behavior of disgraced chucklehead Brandon Taubman, it almost makes you wonder if the organizational culture is irretrievable broken.
The tl;dr version of all this is that Yu Darvish is super awesome and is addressing everything in a wonderfully diplomatic fashion. As for the remaining fallout, we’re just going to have to see what MLB comes back with. I’ve got a feeling the Astros won’t face penalties even remotely befitting the crime, if only because the league would run the risk of having a lot of other teams outed for similar practices.
Regardless, you have to figure some of the more sophisticated sign-stealing methods will be curtailed for at least a little while. Between that and his ever-increasing confidence, Darvish might be in for a monster season.