The Melky story was too good to be true, apparently. Not that I ascribe all of his recent baseball accomplishments to chemical help, this guy was a major-leaguer (a Yankee starter, no less) at the tender age of twenty, so he's obviously a talented athlete. When you work hard on your natural abilities, good things happen, and you could see that Cabrera had re-dedicated himself to his craft after some poor seasons. The drugs? Well, who can say what they do and what they don't? Color me skeptical. Sure, PEDs work, just like all drugs, otherwise no one would take them. But do they make mediocre guys All-Stars and MVP candidates? No. But I suspect they help a guy stay on top and keep an edge. Being great, in baseball, is mostly about being average. That is, if you are average most of the time and great occasionally, you will be the best in the league. Then again, we don't know if Melky was on some kind of regime with testosterone, or whether it was a short-term attempt at a "fix," or what. We know nothing about that and probably never will. It was a huge risk on his part, and it is likely he will lose out on some lucrative offers this fall. Then again, he will likely still be a major-league baseball starter somewhere, even in San Francisco, which will mean he'll still get paid a few million bucks for a year's work. We'll never find out if Melky made a rash decision or a calculating one. We can't get inside his head, or know all of the things that led to his choices.
We do know that his violation of the drug policy is a huge blow to the club, even if his performance on the field can be replaced. His unusual name, effusive style, and outstanding play won him a lot of fans. Fans don't win or lose pennants, of course, but they are part of the equation. Teams have to market themselves, and they need marketable guys. So much for that, Melky. Giants fans know all about steroid scandals, and no matter how you personally feel about PEDs, we are all sick of such things. No one is naive enough to believe that drug testing will get drugs out of baseball--there is too much money at stake for PEDs to ever be gone from any sport. But it would have been nice to have a break from it! When Manny Ramirez was a Dodger and got busted, I know I was happy about the fact that someone else besides Barry Bonds was tied to PEDs. Man, did I get tired of talking about Bonds! I didn't really care that the Dodgers were hurt by ManRam's violation. I was just glad to be vindicated. Sort of. I mean, no one listened when I told them that the MVP of the 2002 World Series (Troy Glaus) was named in the Mitchell Report. Gee, should the Angels get an asterisk on their trophy?
But I'm not here to write about drugs in sports. That's too long and too tired of a topic. In the case of Mr. Cabrera, "do the crime, do the time." He took the risk and he got burned. Am I angry? No. He's a grown man and can do what he wants. Am I disappointed? Absolutely. The Giants had a beautiful thing going with him in left and hitting third. I'm a grown man, too, and even though I devote a lot of time, energy, and emotion to the San Francisco Giants, I'm not going to lose sleep over Melky Cabrera. (I will lose sleep over the Dodgers being in first place!) After all, teams lose guys all the time for all sorts of reasons. Think Aubrey Huff. But, damn, this was looking like a pretty good team even with all the recent poor play. They are going to have a hard time making up for his lost production. Still, it is not a lost season. The race is wide open and the talent is there to win. I'm sad. Very sad. It's not as fun, now. But I'm still here, even if Melky isn't.
Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry.
(The title is 2Samuel 1:25)