This has been a pretty crushing day. In case you live under a rock (which I would understand – those things sound cozy), I’m sure everyone’s heard that Melky Cabrera was suspended 50 games for testing positive for a banned substance. He’s out for the rest of the 2012 regular season, although he would be eligible a few games into the playoffs, were the Giants to get to that point.
He did not claim he drank his daughter’s cough syrup , a la Guillermo Mota. He did not claim his sample was tainted or FedEx messed up, like our favorite liar-through-this teeth, Ryan Braun. He did claim anything at all (unless there was an appeal that did not go public, like Braun’s would have, had it not been leaked). He issued this statement today:
“My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used. I accept my suspension under the Joint Drug Program and I will try to move on with my life. I am deeply sorry for my mistake and I apologize to my teammates, to the San Francisco Giants organization and to the fans for letting them down.”
Ouch. This one hurts. This one really, really hurts. Honestly, I’m disappointed and I’m angry and I’m more than a little bit crushed. Melky was, of course, a fan favorite but beyond that, he was having a monster year and was one of the most important parts of the club, hands down. This is a needle in our balloon of playoff hopes, no two ways about it, and it’s also not something I, for one, saw coming. It hurts.
I have mixed feelings about the whole thing, because I am kind of a cynic and watched too much cycling growing up (and cycling today is basically Doping 101), so I tend to think the use of PEDs is more widespread than we think. The way the clubs distance themselves from the players after a positive test leaves me with a bad feeling, because are these players really operating on their own? The signs point to it. They definitely do. But I’m still not completely convinced. While I feel angry at the players, I also feel some level of sympathy. There is a tremendous, tremendous amount of pressure on them to perform and if there are people higher up, – an organization, coach, trainer etc. – propagating this and not owning up, then that makes me even angrier.
The New York Times took an interesting angle, interviewing the Rangers’ Matt Harrison who got beat up by Melky in the All Star Game. “‘Anytime you hear about something like that, with someone that’s had success against you, it’s disappointing,’ Harrison said Wednesday by his locker in the Rangers’ clubhouse at Yankee Stadium. ‘You know that they got a little advantage over you because of something they took. But at the same time, it’s over with now. You move on. That’s something he has to deal with. It’s not my issue.’” The sport can be tainted quickly and it has been, in the past. I think Major League Baseball likes to portray it like it’s not an issue any more, but it is and this an unpleasant reminder of that.
But anyway! The season is obviously not over and whether or not the front office had an inkling of this when they made the Hunter Pence trade, we do have Hunter Pence. That counts for something. And by something, I do not just mean copious numbers of acrostics on my blog. There’s a lot of baseball left to play and a lot that could still happen.
Still, Jonathan Sanchez looks awfully appealing right now.
Actually, no. He doesn’t. Not even now.