Posted April 04, 2013

Astros announcer apologizes for Yu Darvish remark

MLB
Astros announcer Alan Ashby apologized for comments about Yu Darvish. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Astros announcer Alan Ashby apologized for comments about Yu Darvish. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Houston Astros announcer Alan Ashby said he’s sorry for the controversial on-air comments he made about Yu Darvish after the Texas Rangers pitcher blew a perfect game in the ninth inning on April 2.

The comments under fire were about Darvish learning the English language. Darvish grew up in Japan before coming over to the Texas Rangers last season. The Rangers ended up winning the game 7-0 , but Darvish would’ve become only the 24th pitcher in MLB history to throw a perfect game.

Chris Chase of USA Today Sports transcribed the on-air dialogue between Ashby and play-by-play commentator Geoff Blum:

Blum: “Gosh, that has got to be a tough pill to swallow.”

Ashby: “That’ll force a guy to learn some of the language here in America.”

Blum: “[Laughter] Some of the more inappropriate language. I like it. They probably learn that instantly coming over here. But that was a fantastic performance.”

USA Today Sports also included the subsequent apology that Ashby issued the next day:

“I’d like to apologize if my comments last night were misinterpreted or construed as insensitive. I have the highest respect for Yu Darvish; he’s a great player and his performance last night was outstanding. He showed a great deal of poise in the face of a difficult moment last night, which speaks to the strength of his character.”


48 comments
Faino
Faino

Who cares?  This is stupid.

Craig
Craig

While the comment could easily be construed as demeaning, I'm actually more disappointed in the end of the first paragraph of this story.  The man pitched 26 outs of a perfect game and then "blew it."  I don't think that accurately describes the situation.  He finally sent a pitch to the plate that somebody could hit...but that hardly constitutes "blowing it."  Was it a bad pitch?  Was the batter just lucky?  Who knows.  The point is that nobody goes that far and then "blows it," a term that usually means they completely melted down and screwed up big time, often semi-intentionally.

 

Did the pressure get to him?  Was he just plain tired?  It's hard to say, but better wording might simply be to acknowledge that before he could get the last out somebody finally got a hit.  I doubt the writer has ever come wihtin a single batter of a perfect game, and it's so easy to criticize others when you don't have to do it yourself.

george90630
george90630

Hey, I'm Japanese-American, and I didn't find the remarks offensive either!  I think the joke he was making was that that sort of disappointment would make a guy want to swear.  I think people need to get a sense of humor.  In SoCal, where I'm from, I remember that one of the funniest "color" announcers ever, former Dodger Steve Lyons used to regularly make sort of off-color remarks, and they were *hilarious*.  I think he eventually had to quit because some uptight, no-humor, wet-blankets kept complaining about him -- such a pity to see him go...

GlenHenderson
GlenHenderson

OK, I've read the comments 3 times now. I'm confused - which was the part that was supposed to be offensive again? And exactly what was it the announcer was apologizing for?

unknown75
unknown75

I 'm not seeing the offensive remark made

6marK6
6marK6

I have read that ten times and am trying to find something remotely offensive. As for Ashby being a "homer," he is. He is a lifetime Astro and well respected by all who grew up with that team. I have no problem with him or what he said.

rhymeister
rhymeister

The comment meant no sense whatsoever.  Shut up if you have nothing worthy to add to the conversation ya HOMER!  Hate announcers that are cheerleaders.

MattEdmundson
MattEdmundson

I watched the game with the Astros broadcast and I didn't even notice when Ashby said it. If you watched that game you can't tell me he was trying to offend Darvish. They were like everyone else sad to see a perfect game lost on the last batter.

LennyDiWilliams
LennyDiWilliams

so many observations and comments, especially those coming from any Caucasian, are now considered suspect for any reason that helps advance the cause of "equality".

LennyDiWilliams
LennyDiWilliams

not getting the offensive comment in this statement.  Not at all.  I know everyone is being watched closely these days for any perceived slight but this time, this is just absurd!!!!

MichaelNance
MichaelNance

Look at the context of the conversation.  Learning to speak an additional language has nothing to do with getting 3 final outs in a perfect game.  It was not implied that if he spoke better English mabye the gods above would not have allowed a hit.  If he would have said "we need a mic on Darvish, mabye we could all learn some new Japaneese after that hit" he would have been saying the same thing and someone still would have found a way to complain.  Celebrate our differences they don't make us racist they make us unique.  Thinking or acting as if your differences make you better than another is where we need to worry about racism and that is not prevelant in Ashbys comments.

Wheretofor
Wheretofor

Therenorth1:  Your statement that there is no racism is Canada is ridiculous.  Furthermore, your statement about Ashby having to get used to the idea that large portions of the population where he lives makes sweeping judgements is absurd and baseless.  Where do you get your stats?  If you don't like the country that has protected Canada for the last 100 years or so, then stay up in socialist Canada and keep your comments to yourself.  I guess they don't have any places up there worth posting comments to.

therednorth1
therednorth1

Ashby has spent the last several years working in Canada, where we do not have racism.  As such, this comment would not have had the racist overtones in Canada that it does in the United States, hence why Ashby was taken by surprise by the controversy.

 

Ashby just has to get used to the idea that large portions of the population where he lives make sweeping judgments about a person's character on the basis of their race, and then he'll adjust his prose to fit locally, and then he'll be fine.

MARK7
MARK7

Vladamir Guerrero was in the big leagues for 15 years, and does not speak English. That is just disrespectful. If you got hired by a company based in another country, lets say you got hired by Airbus after building planes for boeing.. and you move to France.. Are you going to refuse to learn French? No, you will do your best to learn French and quickly.. so there is no excuse for foreign ballplayers to not learn English. The comments are well founded. 

BubbaJoBubba1
BubbaJoBubba1

I think the Astros will be doing a lot of apologizing this season...........maybe their resident "roids help you win" spokesman Roidger Clemens can help them..........

Shawn4
Shawn4

Really? What does he have to apologize about? There was nothing at all in bad taste. The PC Police need to go away!

JerryBelle
JerryBelle

If you are going to apologize - then do it. I am sorry for what I said. PERIOD.  Saying, "I’d like to apologize if my comments last night were misinterpreted or construed as insensitive..." is the most wishy-washy of apologies.  I'd like to...IF...IF WHAT?!?

opaque
opaque

 @Faino

I had already pointed that out on here and had done so much more articulately than you, so try not to be so overtly extraneous in future.

JenCole
JenCole

 @GlenHenderson he's a public address announcer - he's supposed to be unbiased - and there were kids in the audience - he's not their parent - he doesn't get the right to teach them that lesson

Robert27
Robert27

 @6marK6 Incredible. I'm really struggling to find the offensive nature of that comment.

opaque
opaque

 @rhymeister

 

I too hate overtly biased announcers, and there are plenty across sports, but you've totally missed the point of what he was trying to convey as it had nothing to do with him being in the tank for the woeful Astros.  Also, the apparent negative public reaction that the comments elicited is ridiculous for the most part as what he said was clearly much more of a lame joke than it was a pointed jab at Darvish or Asians.

opaque
opaque

 @Louis Friend

 Talk about an overreaction and misinterpretation of the situation.  Ashby should absolutely NOT be terminated for that comment.

therednorth1
therednorth1

 @Wheretofor I have lived in both countries.  I currently reside in the United States.

 

As such, I know better.  There are the occasional racist idiots in Canada, yes; but in America racism is a societal problem; an institutional problem, if you will.  I speak from experience.

 

As a famous historian once said, as class was the defining conflict of France, so is race the defining conflict of America.

rhymeister
rhymeister

 @therednorth1 First Nation people said you are a moron for that statement that there is no racism in Canada but even beyond that.  There's no country that is immune to that, because racism is learned and comes from fear and every group of people has people w/ that issue.  #CLOWNSTATEMENT, bro!

alfredwells
alfredwells

 @therednorth1

 Who the hell are you to proclaim that "There's no racism in Canada"? And what does a comment suggesting an immigrant in America "learn some of the language" have to do with racism anyhow?

Borrow a dictionary (since it seems that you don't own one) and look up these three  words; sweeping, judgment and irony. The irony is your suggestion about Americans making "sweeping judgments" which in itself is about as sweeping a judgment as one can make, eh?

Kurt Porter
Kurt Porter

 @MARK7 You must be kidding.  I've been in over 70 different countries.  Americans are the worst about living in a foreign country and not learning the language.  I've lived in the Philippines, Japan, Germany and Russia.  Regarding learning and using foreign languages, we (Americans) just suck...

rhymeister
rhymeister

 @MARK7 A lot of Jpnse players speak some English but use their interpreters as a barrier to get too close as well as to avoid questions too direct.  An example of that is Ichiro, he speaks VERY GOOD English and has for a while.  Some of the Spanish speakers do as well, e.g. Sammy Sosa except when you ask him about roids. : P

doublejtrain68
doublejtrain68

 @MARK7 Totally agree. That is just messed up that Vlad was playing in the states all those years and never learned English. If I were living and working in a foreign country it would be a standard requirement that I learn the language. With all the millions he made he could have done it easily in the off seasons. I don't think Ichiro speaks much English either, and he's been playing over here a long time, too. It's pretty unacceptable. 

rifleman
rifleman

 @MARK7  We have so many illegals here in the US now we're asked English or Spanish before we get through to anyone on the phone. Everyone should learn to speak the native language as soon as possible.

dronach
dronach

 @MARK7 Nice how you took Ash's inoffensive comment and made it offensive. He said nothing about foreign players learning English. He was suggesting that Yu might want to have some English swear words handy since he'd be so pissed about missing the perfect game. And no apology was necessary since he said nothing that was insulting.

Shawn4
Shawn4

 @JerryBelle

 PC Police need to go away...Ashby shouldn't have apologized at all no matter how weak it was!

 

Faino
Faino

@opaque the fact that you took the time to tell me that my post was "inarticulate" and "overtly extraneous" mean that you are small, unimportant and overtly idiotic. So to you I say, "who cares, YOU are stupid".

GlenHenderson
GlenHenderson

 @JenCole What lesson is that, Jen? What lesson do you imagine he was trying to teach?

JerryBelle
JerryBelle

 @dronach  @MARK7 If no apology was necessary than why did Ashby apologize - to save his job?  Coward.  Also, don't you think Yu can curse in his own language or perhaps he doesn't stoop to cursing at all.  Cursing - a sign of weakness in weak individuals with limited speaking skills - in ANY language.

JerryBelle
JerryBelle

 @Shawn4 Ashby needs to apologize for his ridiculous announcing - sux.

opaque
opaque

@Faino Really? Seems to me that it simply highlights that you, like many, can't handle the truth. Useless little punk, you'd never say any of that to my face that's for sure.

opaque
opaque

 @JerryBelle  @dronach  @MARK7

 I hear what you're saying in terms of feeling he's a coward to apologize if he doesn't feel he did anything wrong, but people do things out of self-preservation every day that they'd rather not do all things being equal.  Reality is probably a better word for that in the end than cowardly.  As for cursing being "a sign of weakness in weak individuals with limited speaking skills" in your estimation, sorry, but that's just plain dumb.  I'll be the first to admit I'm a very profane person in general as it just comes natural to me and I've never felt much need to curb it, but I can assure you that when I'm so inclined my general "speaking skills" completely obliterate those of 95% of the people I've ever come across in my life and would be right on par with the other 5%.  Yeah, that encompasses you as well.

RoyYoon
RoyYoon

 @BryanCustard  @Louis Friend Bryan...you're right about this. The comment was funny.  I am a South Korean dude and at first i was constantly offended by people making comments about me and my race, but i realized later on if you want to diminish the impact on racism and make it go away one needs to differentiate REAL racism and unintentional and trivial ones.

BryanCustard
BryanCustard

 @Louis Friend  EVERYONE KNOWS YU DOESNT SPEAK ENGLISH MORON.  The comment was not insensitive, actually it was quite funny, or so said my Japanese wife. Go get some Vagisil and call it a day.

Shawn4
Shawn4

 @JerryBelle

 Give me one reason why? All he said was in essence Yu might want to learn a couple English cuss words...he wasn't attacking Yu for not speaking English. I guess in this overly PC world we have created a player from Japan making over 100 million in the country that invented the game isn't required to learn a modicum of English. But he can sure sign his checks in English. I think Ashby was weak in offering any sort of apology.

This bull pushes us to become xenophobic and not allow any foreign players in our leagues until they learn English. You cannot have it both ways...if he had called Yu a racially improper name then you have a point.