This is the only word that can describe Melky Cabrera’s suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
From Cabrera, via Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle:
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.
Frankly, Cabrera should be sorry, for his selfish actions could have huge implications for major league baseball.
Just when baseball has begun to heal from scars inflicted on it from the steroid era, another MLB player commits MLB first-degree murder on the integrity of the game.
Again, Cabrera’s actions dig up old memories of the 1990s, when my friends and I were devastated to learn that our favorite MLB players tested positive for PEDs.
While not illegal, learning this news destroyed superhero images we had of players like Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and others who juiced.
MLB has worked diligently to clean up the mess left by these men, only to watch this problem rear its ugly head again.
This is the only word to describe what many scarred baseball fans will speculate about now.
Going back to my original word, I feel awful for Giants fans. For Cabrera joins Bonds to feed a heaping bowl of San Francisco Mistreat.
Cabrera's absence not only creates a huge hole in the Giants' lineup, but it comes during a time when the Giants are fighting for the postseason.
Perhaps the old adage, "if it is too good to be true, it probably is," applies to this situation.
“How long has Cabrera been using?” will now be the question kicked about in the aftermath of this terrible news.
Comparing Cabrera’s statistics prior to 2011 to those after 2011 may very well answer this question.
Then, in 2011 Cabrera had a breakout season for the Kansas City Royals. That year, Cabrera batted .305 (201-for-658) with a career high 18 home runs and 87 RBI.
This season, Cabrera was on his way to smashing these numbers. Through 113 games, Cabrera was batting a league leading .346 (159-for-459) with 11 home runs and 60 RBI. His OBP/SLG/OPS was .390/.516/.906—also career highs.
Hope and Faith
Another question that will be batted around: “Who else is using illegal substances?”
Call fans who ask this question paranoid. But honestly, can you really blame them?
Frankly, those who experienced the steroid era have every right to launch inquiry.
That said, as baseball fans, let us maintain faith.
Let us hope Cabrera’s breach of integrity is an isolated event. Let us also hope a deeper probe does not uproot more MLB players suddenly having monster seasons.
More critically, let us maintain our faith in the innocence of other big league players who have played the game with honor.
Most importantly, let’s not let Cabrera’s infraction distract us from the fact this 2012 MLB season is one of the most memorable in season’s we have seen in decades.