Melky Cabrera's Troubles Say More About Baseball than They Do About Him

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“I don’t care anymore”

-Phil Collins

I’m really getting tired of writing about drug use in Major League Baseball.  So much so that this time around, I’m going to be brief.

I…. don’t …. care.  How’s that?

What our national pastime has presented us with, once again, is enough gray to rival the world’s largest raincloud and an institution that has turned its head on the heroes it once revered, yet never felt the slightest bit guilty about cashing the checks they brought into the game.

Let the hypocrisy continue with Melky Cabrera.

I haven’t watched a single San Francisco Giants game this year yet, from what I understand, Cabrera was having himself quite the season.  He has 159 hits, which led the league as of August 18th, and a .346 batting average, second only to Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen, who Major League Baseball has to be secretly hoping wins the NL batting title.  Why?  Because Cabrera is eligible to win the batting title even after his fifty-game suspension for use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Keep your fingers crossed, Bud.  We’re all rooting against you on this one.

The next person to make sense of this head-scratching predicament will be the first.  Let’s say I became the top salesman at my job, yet broke company policy to do so, would I still be eligible for my bonus or have it swept out from under me?  Major League Baseball wants to pretend it’s penalizing its athletes for wrongdoing, yet rewards them in the very same breath.

I can picture it now, Bud Selig at his desk, phone pressed against his ear, chatting away with the person on the other end of the line.  One of Selig’s assistants walks in to his office and tells him that Cabrera failed a drug test.  Selig responds listlessly, paying more attention to the phone call than to the HGH bomb just dropped in his lap.  “Suspended!  Yea, yea!” Selig shouts as he signs off without a care.“So, Boss, do we keep him eligible for the batting title?” asks the intern.“Sure, sure,” Selig replies as he dismisses him from his office to finish his phone call, only to realize later what he had just done…  another wishy-washy stance on an issue that has plagued the game under his watch.  So much for professional sports’ most stringent drug policy.

Look, I don’t care either way.  Give him the award or don’t, but take a damn stand.  Either suspend the guy and make him ineligible for post-season recognition or let it slide, but don’t pretend to be something you’re not.  If Melky was juicing, wouldn’t his numbers reflect the fact that he was cheating by the standards you yourself have set?  Why would baseball choose to honor his accomplishment if they’re taking a new hard line?

To paraphrase J.A. Adande on a recent episode of Pardon the Interruption, Major League Baseball has yet to answer for previous MVPs who have admitted to steroid use the very same year they won the award.  Furthermore, with every ticking second, we inch closer to the day Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens become Hall of Fame eligible.  It’s as if Selig is hoping these issues will just go away.  But they won’t.  And the buck has to stop somewhere.  Just not anywhere in Selig’s zip code.

I don’t blame Melky Cabrera for trying to get an edge, even if he knew what he was doing was wrong.  He’s in a contract year and was obviously doing everything to ensure success, as well as a future payday.  He broke the rules, yet may still have a batting title to show for it.  So where’s the punishment?  It might soon rest comfortably aside his Silver Slugger award.

Major League Baseball’s hypocrisy is reaching record-setting heights, even by its own pathetic standards.  The saddest part is that its fan base now cares as little as its Commissioner.

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