Updated: Nov 15, 2019
We at Cubs DNA have made our love for Yu Darvish known. Yu Darvish is a treasure and the Cubs/Cubs fans are truly blessed to have him as a part of the team. His demeanor and attitude make him exactly the kind of person you want to root for, and he's over his injuries and pitching like himself again. With all of the recent talk about the Astros and sign stealing, I was curious as to what he thought about it. As you recall, he came to the Cubs on a smaller deal than expected because he pitched poorly in the World Series (against the Astros). He addresses this in a youtube video shown below:
It's in Japanese, and you can watch with the subtitles on but thanks to the fine folks at Reddit someone has already translated it for us. According to the translation, Darvish says that following Game 3 the Dodgers suspected that he was tipping his pitches. After exhaustive research neither the Dodgers or Darvish could find any noticeable signs that he was tipping his pitches. Game 7 had similar results (though it was played at Dodger Stadium, not Minute Maid Park) and he reached out to an Astros player and was told he was doing a specific motion before his fastball. Again, Darvish reviewed the footage for this specific cue and it wasn't there.
Darvish, NOT tipping his pitches.
So, with what we know about the Astros you have to consider that perhaps they were indeed stealing the signs and relaying them to the batters. In fact, one comment in that Reddit feed said that every time Darvish threw a fastball a 'Charge!' whistle preceded it. Interesting. So, I went and found a copy of Game 3 on YouTube. Yuli Guerriel hit his home run off a Yu Darvish fastball in the 2nd inning. The feed is showing a replay of the previous pitch, but about the time the catcher would be giving the sign for the next pitch you can CLEARLY hear the 'Charge!' whistle in the background (time stamp 1:07:53 in the YouTube link above), boom HR. Later in the video, Darvish is facing Gonzalez and there is a different whistle heard in the background when a breaking ball is thrown (1:18:52). Honestly, it's pretty compelling evidence but the most amazing thing is Darvish's response.
The translation says this. "Through adversity, I’ve been able to work hard and play for a great organization, the Cubs. If I start associating my failure to the Astros scandal, I don’t think that I would be able to develop as a person. I think adversity is important in life, and I think these types of failures will be an important experience for me, as a player. I’m willing to swallow the results of 2017."
This man got hate mail from Dodger fans, lost millions of dollars in free agency, and probably had a lot of self-doubt for a while and he's like, 'it's cool.' I really am blown away by Yu Darvish on a daily basis. I think it's a great lesson for all of us to take in. There is a famous quote that says, 'Life is 10% of What Happens to Me and 90% of How I React to It', and Darvish is truly out here living it. He has every right to be bitter, and yet he's the loosest and happiest we've ever seen him. We all get dealt a crap hand in life at one point or another, it truly is up to us on how we choose to react to the crap. Take it from Yu, don't let the bad consume you (and there is plenty of it), stay true to who you are and rise above it. You WILL feel better.
A happier Yu.
Perhaps even crazier than Yu's forgiveness is that this Astros scandal might just be the tip of the iceberg. Darvish goes into details about weird that happened THIS year! The translation says, "Especially this year, I've noticed a lot of weird things. When I’m in the set position, usually the batter looks at me. It depends on the batter, but they generally look at my elbows, my eyes, my shoulders, you know it. But several times this year, I’ve noticed that the batters don’t look at me. Even without runners on second, I see players just looking into the distance, around left-center field. It’s awkward. This usually happens when we’re the visiting team. I’ve even told Caratini during mound visits that the batter's eyes were not on me."
It was still happening just last season! This looks to be bigger than we all initially thought and could have far-reaching consequences throughout the game. I personally hope that it is dealt with swiftly and severely, as it's worse than the steroid era. (IMO) However, knowing Manfred and baseball it'll be covered up because they're too worried about critical things like limiting mound visits and a pitch clock. /i In the meantime, we can be thankful for Yu Darvish. He is an Ace on the mound and a quality human being off it.
Hat tip to https://www.reddit.com/user/rataface/ for the translation.