Monday, October 05, 2009

Thoughts on Miguel Cabrera

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.


  1. This was a very good article (especially after plowing through Motown Sports). I agree with all of this, but in cases like this I am not sure of the right solution.

    If it is a drinking problem, should the Tigers check his Blood Alcohol Content on Tuesday? Every Game? If they check his, should they check any player the suspect? (I am sure they couldn't or the Union would stop it.)

    I read the Mack Ave article and think the sincere apology to the fans would be a great start, however... we live in a society that we don't receive much sincerity from players...instead way too much spin, so much so I am not sure if I recognize sincerity any more.

    Maybe fans shouldn't expect trust from athletes, but it would be ince if we could.

  2. This was my post from another site. I think it's really unfortunate to see the degree of hatred from our fans personally, anyhow this was my comment on the issue...

    Did it say anywhere at what time he was tested and with what type of equipment the measure was taken? .26 is very high, but it wouldn't be the first time in history that a police officer recorded an inaccurate reading with faulty or unreliable equipment/methods, just sayin'. Just because ESPN and MLIVE report it as a .26 doesn't mean it is absolute truth. I wouldn't hold a .26 against the guy until I knew it was reliable data. It would be helpful if there was corroborating evidence from the barkeep and/or receipts regarding his drinking levels.

    I would also be interested to know Cabrera's full side of the story along with all of the other witnesses, as well as at what time he had those drinks, and what he was doing for transportation. If you guys come across more details from more links in the future, please post them here so we can learn more about was happening. From everything I have read so far, I'm definitely not going to be bashing Cabrera just because he had one awful night of poor judgment, as there is just too many details unknown as well as others that I can't substantiate. Surely the early indication is that it doesn't look good for Cabrera in terms of his actions, but I do not like making mistakes, and I'm not going to condemn Cabrera at the level that I have seen others do until I know exactly what happened and to a reasonable degree of certainty.


  3. While its true players may "drink with the enemy" from time to time, I know there are a lot of old-timers out there that would never have considered such behavior during the season. These are the kind of guys I miss in sports today. We have become a very tolerant society, in some cases for the better, in others not so much. We seem more ready to accept a lack of dicipline today than in earlier generations. Not just in sports, but in general. Younger folks will probably disacgree with that, but it does not change the fact. There is no excuse for Cabrera's actions. Period. I feel like I've just wasted an entire baseball season routing for a team whose best player doesn't have the discipline to do the right thing. For those that want to make excuses for him, go ahead. But for me, it is simply sickening. So now someone can write an apology for him and all will be fine. Come on.

  4. A double and a HR for Cabrera, NICE!

    Kiss my ass Cabrera haters out there!

    You guys aren't loyal fans and don't deserve to bask in the glory that Cabrera brings to your lives. Disloyal fans should keep their mouths shut today and take some time to reflect on their behavior and learn how to be a better teammate for the future imo.

    Cabrera is a winner, and I support winners; you should too.


  5. The Tigers wouldn't have needed that double and HR in a play-out game if he'd not been a drunken bum over the weekend distracting the team management and players during the most critical series of the year. Here is a winning strategy: come to the park ready to play baseball. Cabrera is a loser, not a winner.

  6. He is a winner. He lost on that day and killed us in that game. But overall he has produced more than he has cost us. That is winning, it's about the totality of your gains and total receipts. He is for all intents and purposes in the black, not the red. Winners end in the black, losers end in the red.

    He is not responsible for the team being in the red. The Manager and GM are. We paid more than enough money for a winning result. They delivered to us a losing result, and that is the bottom line. I would never spend $120+M to NOT make the playoffs, that's for damn sure, and I expect the same in return from somebody doing that job in lieu of myself.




Blog Archive


My Sabermetrics Book

My Sabermetrics Book
One of Baseball America's top ten books of 2010

Other Sabermetrics Books

Stat Counter