Turns out Rich Hill knew exactly what he was doing.
When Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel strode to the plate to lead off the second inning of Tuesday’s World Series Game 6 at Dodger Stadium, the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher went for a stroll of his own, taking an unusually long time to step on the mound.
The delay allowed Dodger fans to mercilessly boo Gurriel, who mocked Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish with a racist gesture in Game 3.
As the scene unfolded, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times noted that Hill may have delayed on purpose to allow fans to boo Gurriel.
After the game — a 3-1 Dodgers win that forced a Game 7 on Tuesday night — reporters followed up with Hill, who confirmed exactly that: His decision to step off the mound was a direct response to Gurriel.
Here’s more from Hill regarding Gurriel and his punishment, via MLB.com reporter Joshua Thornton:
“That’s a subject that’s disheartening. I think it’s something, unfortunately, I don’t think the punishment fit the action. I think, rightfully so, the fans spoke out and understood what was going on. I gave them their time to voice their opinion.”
Major League Baseball suspended Gurriel for five games but is allowing him to continue playing in the World Series, as he’ll serve the suspension at the start of the 2018 season. Hill and Dodgers fans delivered their own form of punishment Tuesday, though.
H/t to Yahoo Sports
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images