Oh, geez, this is some ugly business, but I suppose I must address it, must I? You’ve no doubt heard by now the real reason for the bruises and scratches on Miguel Cabrera’s face Saturday night. If you need more detail, I’ll send you over to Jason Beck’s article on it. And yes, Cabrera has apologized for his actions and I have heard at least one report that stated he did NOT drive home when he was drunk. Naturally, there has been a whole slew of different reactions by the fanbase. Several people (including most bloggers) are outraged and feel betrayed, advocating benching Cabrera for the one-game playoff/postseason/next season/indefinitely. I even saw one commenter who wanted Cabrera released or traded immediately. Others have been more forgiving and seem determined to stand by him. I tend to be rather level-headed, and I don’t have a final judgment yet, but here is my preliminary opinion:
Cabrera did an incredibly, INCREDIBLY stupid thing and picked a really bad time to do it (i.e. the night before a very important game). It’s embarrassing and disappointing, no doubt, and the Tigers have every right to be royally pissed off at him. But this is also a guy who, from what we’ve seen, has worked very hard and has carried this team, and without him, I’m not sure we would’ve even had a winning record. This is the first time we’ve heard of something like this happening, and he’s probably not the first one to do it. I have grown very fond of Miguel and his fun-loving, goofball personality, and I don’t want to have this one incident force me to do a complete 180 and hate him. At this point, I can’t bring myself to do it.
For those who claim that Cabrera simply decided to blow off Saturday’s game even though it was important, I’m pretty sure that’s not how he viewed it. I still maintain that Miguel Cabrera is a good person, but I have never tried to claim that he is humble. Everyone has character flaws. When you’re in his position and you’ve had as much success as he’s had, it’s easy to develop a sense of invincibility. Even if he wanted to get fall-down drunk, he may very well have (erroneously) figured that he could sober up before the game started. He’s a baseball player, not a medical expert. Which brings up a similar point: We don’t know for a fact that he intended to get shit-faced drunk that night. It’s just as plausible that he was planned on just having a beer or two with his White Sox buddies and once he got there, the fratboy mentality (that I am certain goes on when players party together) took over. And when you’re as drunk as he was, you don’t “know” your limits anymore. Someone else has to stop you. And I will say something else: It probably didn’t help matters that Miggy was (likely) brutally hungover, but the Tigers probably would’ve lost that game regardless, despite his excellent numbers against Garcia (whom many suspect was one of the “buddies” in this whole thing).
What happens from here on out will go a long way towards what my final assessment will be. If Miguel has a chronic drinking problem (and there are reports that may suggest that), he needs to man up and get help, and the fans need to support him in that. If this is a one-time incident, my hope would be that he learns from it, atones for it, and doesn’t let it happen again. If it becomes a frequent thing, that’s when I’ll probably start to get annoyed.
And as a fellow 26-year-old, I’ll let you in on something: We don’t always have the best judgment. In fact, a lot of times we have rather poor judgment. It’s easy for one of us fans to say, “Oh, he should have known better,” and yes, he should have, but it’s a lot harder in practice.
So, in conclusion, this was a major screw-up on Cabrera’s part, but for now, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. For now. And I hope he plays his heart out tomorrow. Kick some Twins’ asses, Miggy!