Finally, Miguel Cabrera provided Major League Baseball with some good news.
It's been a while since baseball has gotten significant national press for something good. The past several years have been marred by steroid scandals and fallen heroes, and whether or not it's related, kids today aren't anywhere near as interested in baseball as they have been in generations past, according to a study by The Wall Street Journal.
And now, we have Miguel Cabrera, an unlikely hero who has provided us some much-needed, baseball-related warm and fuzzies once again.
On Wednesday night, while most of the nation watched Mitt Romney and Barack Obama discuss the merits of Big Bird, Cabrera became the first MLB player in 45 years to win the Triple Crown. He finished with a .330 average, 44 homers and 139 RBI as the Detroit Tigers took home the AL Central crown.
It was the kind of night where everyone was a Miguel Cabrera fan, even the Kansas City faithful, who watched their own team finish the season by coming up short once again, but still found it within themselves to offer a standing ovation to only the 15th player in the history of this sport to lead the league in homers, RBI and batting average.
And that wasn't lost on Cabrera, who told Fox News:
It was like playing at home, having all the fans cheer for you. It was an unbelievable feeling, and I was very thankful for the fans in Kansas City.
But this is something all baseball fans—what's left of them—can celebrate. This is a feat that happens so rarely that the last time it did, Carl Yastrzemski was the one receiving the standing ovation.
And it's all the more exciting that it's happening to Cabrera, who's been making his biggest headlines for all the wrong reasons over the last couple of years. There has been a drunken driving arrest and suspicions of alcohol-related problems that stretch much deeper.
But it just goes to show how quickly things can turn around, like they did for Cabrera.
In the grand scheme of baseball, it's not all that much of a surprise that Cabrera won the Triple Crown. His numbers have been stellar for years. According to SI.com's Ted Keith, he's led the league in home runs, batting average and RBI in his career, though not all at the same time.
Winning the Triple Crown is something that the people we consider to be The Greats haven't even been able to accomplish. Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez—all these names that are so familiar and so well-known in this sport haven't achieved the milestone Miguel Cabrera achieved this year.
This is better than an MVP. This isn't about a baseball writer's opinion. This is about the facts and the numbers, and the numbers say that Cabrera has been the best this sport had to offer in 2012.
And the fact that Cabrera is the player who accomplished what so many could not illustrates all the reasons why people used to like baseball. The players that are the most beloved are the ones who are the unlikely heroes, not the ones who are on the covers of all the magazines and who lead the flashiest lifestyles.
We love the players who are fun to watch not because of the funny things they say or wear but just because they can flat-out play. For a long time, Cabrera's numbers have suggested that he's one of those players; now, it's official.
Baseball needed a Triple Crown winner, and it needed one soon. It needed someone to make people take notice and care about the sport again, someone who could remind the fans why this sport is so much fun to watch and is so beloved.
Who would've predicted that Miguel Cabrera would be baseball's savior?