By now, most of you know about Miguel Cabrera's drinking incident on Friday night/Saturday morning. It has turned into a national story with all kinds of rumors and speculation and is threatening to overshadow the one game playoff with the Twins on Tuesday evening. I'd rather think about the game but I feel compelled to write something about what has become a major deal.
The facts have been coming in amidst the rumors throughout the day. What we know for sure is that Cabrera got very drunk (a .26 Blood Alcohol Content at 6:00 AM on Saturday) after Friday night's game. He also got into a physical altercation with his wife which would explain the scratches which appeared on his face on Saturday. His wife Rosangel also suffered an injury to her lip during the incident but neither pressed charges. There are lots of opinions on these events on the internet today, some more rational than others. One of the best takes comes from Mack Avenue Kurt.
It certainly comes to no surprise to see a ballplayer get very drunk after a game. As much as some of us would like to think that all players keep themselves in optimal physical condition during the season, heavy drinking is part of the lifestyle of many professional athletes. Still, it's very disappointing to see a player get that drunk (.26 is very very high) on the morning before the biggest game of the year. It is possible (some say likely) that such an extreme level of drinking would effect his performance on the field the next game. It's that performance on the field which is a concern to fans.
Some fans are worried about rumors that he may have been drinking with the enemy - White Sox players - Saturday Morning. I don't see anything wrong with that and suspect it is quite common for players to fraternize with friends on opposing teams during a series. Again, I don't care very much what he does off the field as long as it doesn't affect his play on the field.
Some are calling him a wife beater. Based on what I've read, it does not sound like that at all. His wife did not press charges and the police did not see evidence of abuse. There was no arrest so that part of the story is really between the Cabrera's and should not be of any concern to fans.
This was Cabrera's second brush with the law in the last several weeks (the other involving a dispute with a man and a teenager at a hotel restaurant). While there is no indication that the incident involved drinking, there is speculation that his binging on Friday night was not an isolated episode. If he indeed has a drinking problem, then that would be a legitimate worry of fans as it could be preventing him from being as good as he can be as a player. If Miguel does have an ongoing alcohol problem ( I don't know if he does), then perhaps this incident could sufficiently embarrass himself and the Tigers enough for something to be done about it.
I've heard some say that the Tigers should bench Cabrera for Tuesday's game to send a message that out of control drinking which could affect play on the field will not be tolerated. I think if they wanted to do that, then Saturday (when he was perhaps playing drunk) would have been the appropriate time. I think Benching him on Tuesday would hurt teammates and fans who want to see them win the game. They are enough of an underdog already without putting their best hitter on the bench. I want them to concentrate on winning the game for now and deal with Cabrera's issues later.
Hopefully, the game will be the story on Tuesday night rather than Cabrera's drinking. Unfortunately, if the Tigers lose though, I'm afraid this story will not go away for a long time.