Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Milkman Makes a Sour Delivery

In the living spirit of Barry Bonds, another San Francisco Giant has been using steroids, but only this player got caught. Outfielder Melky Cabrera, the San Francisco hits leader and baseball’s All-Star Game MVP, now out for the remainder of the regular season, suspended for 50 games after testing positive for testosterone. Unlike Bonds, who never missed game action because of his steroid use, which took place before Major League Baseball implemented its policy against performance enhancing drugs, Cabrera’s omission is a killer for the Giants. With just 45 games left in the regular season, the Giants will try to have to now win the National League West or a wildcard spot without him, tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers heading into Wednesday’s play. Unlike Bonds, Cabrera owned up to his sins right away, saying in a statement released by the players union. “My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used.” “I accept my suspension under the Joint Drug Program and I will try to move on with my life. 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”. “The Milkman”, as he has been affectionately known in the Bay Area, was hitting .346 with 11 home runs and 60 runs batted in, during his first season with the Giants. The 28-year-old has basically been known as baseball’s best hitter in the majors this season with a 51-hit month in May. During that month he crushed pitchers to a tune of .429 with three homers, five triples, seven doubles and 17 RBIs. He also hit safely in 25 of 29 games. His 51 hits in May set a new San Francisco Giants record breaking the old mark of 49 by the great Willie Mays. But we now know there was something else behind those amazing numbers. Ironically another San Francisco Giant breaking the record of another of baseball’s legends with the help of performance enhancing drugs. Bonds was never suspended for using PED’s or convicted of a crime for using performance enhancers. But his record as baseball’s home run king with 762 overall breaking Henry Aaron’s mark and 73 in a single season are widely regarded as tainted records. So what should be made of Cabrera’s All-Star Most Valuable Player Award? Should he simply give the honor back or should baseball take it? There is no previous case to look back on but you better believe this is going to be something for commissioner Bud Selig to think about. There are several years of separation between Bonds play with the Giants and Cabrera’s sudden suspension. But does baseball need to start penalizing clubs for the indiscretions of their players concerning its substance abuse policy towards PED’S? If so, is the penalty monetary for the club or a forfeiture of games, something like what takes place in the NCAA when a player has been used to win contest, then has been ruled ineligible? All these are questions that must eventually be addressed. If the Giants were to win the division or capture a wild-card spot this season, you’d have to believe there will be a lot of fans and team executives very unhappy that a player who helped win the majority of the Giants victories earlier in the season, played the most of the year with the help of steroids. While much on the subject remains to be discussed and settled by baseball, one thing is still evident. Despite the game’s efforts to push it back to its pre-steroid age, players are fully aware of the advantages of PED’s and are still trying to “spike their milk”, to enhance their play on the field.
Get the complete MLB standings including the Wild Card Race here.

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