As Miguel Cabrera left the ballpark on Friday night after his Detroit Tigers lost to the Chicago White Sox, he told the media he was going to go home and relax, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Relaxing means different things to different people, but in the case of the young, emerging superstar and MVP candidate Cabrera, apparently it meant that he was about to go out and drink.
And drink he did, heavily, in fact, to the point where he ended up with a blood alcohol level of .26 according to police reports from the scene of an altercation between Cabrera and his wife on Saturday morning at around 6 a.m.
That’s more than three times the legal limit for being drunk. Granted, Cabrera was safe in his house and no charges were filed after the incident, but now, the Tigers have to be concerned about the mindset of their best position player heading into their one-game playoff with Minnesota and perhaps a playoff series with the New York Yankees should they win on Tuesday over the Twins.
Cabrera was out partying with some of his friends on the White Sox according to the Free Press, and that’s something that should not happen on the eve of what was the biggest game of the season up until that point. Imagine if this were a Red Sox player partying with New York Yankees on the eve of a big game; the media storm on ESPN would be overwhelming.
Cabrera showed up to the ballpark following the incident with a fairly big scratch on the left side of his face. It almost looked as if one of the giant Tiger statues that dot the Comerica Park landscape had come to life and attacked him. He went hitless during Saturday night’s loss to the White Sox and then hitless again on Sunday, going 0-11 n the series with the White Sox despite being one of the top hitters in the American League.
As for the altercation, his wife apparently had an undisclosed injury to her lip and Cabrera was taken to the station because she wanted him out of the house. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski picked him at between 7:30 and 8 a.m.
Cabrera is one of the youngest stars in all of baseball and handling such wealth and youthful exuberance at the same time can obviously be tough, but the timing of the situation is what makes it all so disturbing for Tigers fans.
The Tigers are one small ray of hope in an otherwise dark and dreary time for metro Detroit residents everywhere. The city’s unemployment level is a shade under 30% and the pennant race is all sports fans have to look forward to on most days because of the ineptitude of the Lions, but Cabrera just doesn’t seem to be taking it as seriously as even the fans are taking it right now.
Perhaps this is part of the maturation process for a player who is still growing up despite his incredible numbers and smooth demeanor on the field. But it probably could have waited until the off-season, or Cabrera could have at least taken it easy on the drinking and used better judgment at home, even though we don’t know all the details.
Athletes like Babe Ruth and Dennis Rodman for example have been known to party a lot, but that doesn’t make it right, especially not on the eve of such a huge game and with the hopes of 20+ other players who just put in 160 games of hard work to consider.
Now, with a day off until the Tigers’ season-defining game at the Metrodome, the hope is that the incident motivates Cabrera to come out and have a great game and to put this all in the past.
The Twins are 1 ½ run favorites for the game according to BetUs.com and it’s tough to predict how this will affect the Tigers heading into that game.
The Tigers will have to face tons of media questions about the incident leading up to it, and that could be distracting. But at the same time, it could unite the team and give them an “us against the world” kind of mentality on the road.
Either way, Cabrera owes his teammates, coaches, and fans an apology, especially if he doesn’t make up for it in a big way on Tuesday.