I am not crying over spilled Melk
Posted on August 17, 2012
Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants takes batting practice before the game against the Miami Marlins at AT&T Park on May 3, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Brad Mangin)
Two days ago I left my house for the long drive to San Francisco in anticipation of a great day of shooting baseball. The exciting Washington Nationals were in town for their only series of the year and I couldn’t wait to shoot their young stars in the sunshine. I was also looking forward to shooting the Giants and their new lineup that had just made it’s debut the night before. There was no batting practice, so I went up to the Sam Skinner Press Room with my friends for a turkey sandwich and everyone’s cell phones started blowing up. At 11:44am @MLB_PR sent out the following tweet: “Giants OF Melky Cabrera has been suspended 50 games without pay after testing positive for Testosterone.” Holy shit. This was a huge story. My immediate thought: The Giants are done.
I actually laughed when I first read the news. I couldn’t believe that Cabrera could be so stupid. I could really give a shit if today’s players take performance enhancing drugs. There are rules against it, however, and guys are getting tested many times during the season. If you are gonna take the stuff, how can you be so stupid to get caught? Sure Cabrera hurt himself. He cost himself tens of millions of dollars (he is a free agent in 2013). He ruined his reputation. I really don’t care about him right now. What bothers me is what he did to his teammates, his organization, and his fans.
Cabrera was leading the league in hitting. He was the MVP of last month’s all-star game in Kansas City. His smile captivated Giants fans in person and on television. His play inspired grown men to don Melk Men costumes at the ballpark and his name made him a favorite of children all over the Bay Area. By Wednesday night many parents were having to explain to their kids why Melky would not be playing baseball for the Giants anymore at the dinner table. Melky let everyone down.
As usual the Giants have been fun to follow this season, but after hearing the news on Wednesday I started to think that 2012 just wasn’t their year. Sure they are only 1/2 game out of first place behind the Dodgers, but I feel like Cabrera’s actions have taken all the air out of the balloon. The Giants have been playing .500 ball for the past few months and do not seem to have a big run left in them. They have no closer, no power, and no Melky.
The Giants and their fans are used to having their guys get busted for PED’s. Bobby Estalella, Benito Santiago, Marvin Benard, Barry Bonds, and other Giants have been proven to be PED users, but none of them were popped in the middle of the season and suspended. None of these guys ever cost the Giants a post-season appearance by getting caught. Earlier this season Giants middle inning relief pitcher Guillermo Mota got nailed for taking “children’s cough medicine” and is still serving his 100 game suspension (second offense). Most Giants fans who spend wads of cash at AT&T Park don’t even know or care who Mota is, but they all know who the Melk Man is.
Willie Mays drank the “red juice.” Dozens of Hall of Famers needed “greenies” to get up for a day game after a night game back in the day. Getting “help” to make it through a 162-game regular season schedule is nothing new. Amphetamines, HGH, and the synthetic testosterone that Cabrera was caught using are all illegal in today’s MLB. Some guys get caught. Most do not.
I love the game of baseball, and I always will. As I said earlier, I don’t care what these guys do to their own bodies. If they feel they need help and can take something that leaves their system before their next test then have at it. What needs to stop is the wimpy testing that allows guys to skate and fool the system. We all know if goes on. Today’s testing is not tough enough. Either fix it or continue to look the other way. I think that what Melky has been doing is the norm in today’s big leagues. He just happened to get caught. The Giants will miss his bat in the lineup. He will never wear the orange and black again, but I will keep going to the ballpark to watch and work ballgames. I don’t have to explain anything to my cats Mike and Willie, unless I forget to feed them.