The afternoon of August 15, 2012 will be remembered for a long time in Major League Baseball circles, for both good and bad reasons.
Earlier today, San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera was suspended 50 games for testing positive for testosterone. This is very unfortunate for a player who was in the midst of a career renaissance the last two seasons with the Kansas City Royals and Giants, respectively.
Cabrera returned to Kansas City last month for the All-Star Game and was named MVP. The 27-year-old leads all of baseball in hits with 159, to go along with 11 home runs and 69 runs batted in.
The Giants seemed to have pulled off a grand larceny when they shipped off struggling starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez to the Royals in exchange for Cabrera last November. Sanchez has since been traded to the Colorado Rockies and Cabrera was having the best year of his career.
But it all comes to a crashing halt as Cabrera will miss the remainder of the regular season, along with either the first five games of next year or a potential Giants playoff run.
After back-to-back stellar years heading into a contract year, and just now entering the prime of his career, Cabrera was also expected to cash in on a huge payday this offseason.
It will be interesting to see how the suspension affects talks in free agency.
But as the day began on a sour note, things quickly turned upbeat just hours later as Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez became just the 23rd pitcher—and first Mariner—in MLB history to throw a perfect game in a 1-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
King Felix joins Chicago White Sox Philip Humber and, ironically, the Giants' Matt Cain, who have also gone nine innings without a blemish in 2012 (the only time in history three perfect games have been thrown in the same season).
On the back of Hernandez, the Mariners were able to exact revenge on the baseball gods. It was Seattle who fell victim to Humber’s perfect game back on April 21.
Hernandez had a fairly easy time handling the Rays, only needing 113 pitches while striking out 12 batters. Perennially considered one of the best pitchers in the game, the performance plants King Felix firmly atop that discussion.
While it is never good news for one of the game’s brightest stars to be caught cheating, it is reassuring to see another’s star shine extra bright on a day that the baseball world needed it.