Thursday, February 17, 2011

Before you get too judgmental about Miguel Cabrera...

Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera let down a lot of people by getting arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Compounding the issue was his alleged deportment during the arrest (if this was taped, it will be the all-timer to see) .
Obviously, he has a drinking problem. And has had for sometime.
It was kind of the Tigers' dirty little secret - and baseball's as a whole - before it became public in Birmingham late in the 2009 season.
But Cabrera, although contrite, never came clean about the drinking problem itself. And while it is likely he will be following this incident, it doesn't mean he will have it licked. What is it they say? It will just be the first step.
I knew Steve Howe. He was a good guy, who understood fully his drug problems were hurting people surrounding him and hindering his career. He couldn't get over them. He was constantly suspended from baseball.
I've worked with Lary Sorensen. Good guy. Drinking and subsequent DUI arrests caused havoc, which tore his family life apart - which he cherished - and ruined a promising broadcasting career.
Those guys couldn't help themselves - even though there were many people reaching out to help them, and each fell under the category of reasonably bright.
This will hurt the Tigers immensely. It is the worst possible distraction for a contending team, especially considering Cabrera's top rank in the game. He needs help, the kind that takes longer than six weeks for results. The Tigers need him on the field. Where do you find balance in that? Play him - and get help after the season? Bite the bullet - and have Cabrera go to rehab?
But ask yourself, could Cabrera help it?
I tend to think he couldn't.

NOTE: I am still recovering from my surgery, but if all continues to go well, I will be returning to work full-time at the end of next week. Thanks, again, for your support. Caputo



Blogger Tiger Fan said...

Pat good to see you up again, and basically I agree with your sentiment here. But isn't this totally at odds with your position on the Chrysler workers drinking at lunch? Maybe I'm wrong but didn't you basically say get rid of those bums?

How you can possibly square the two thoughts? And if you say it's only about the "worth of the two" then I would say that an auto worker is probably worth more to society than a ball player.

If I'm wrong on your thoughts about the Chrysler workers than I apologize, if not explain this one to me please?

11:33 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Pat! I was hoping you would post to this - I hope your feeling better my friend.

I found this quote from Carlos Guillen rather insightful :

"Sometimes you have people around you that are not good for you. You think they're your friends, but they're not really friends."

Ball players have never been gentlemen. If they were, they would be cricket players.

In 2009 this was inexcusable because of the importance of the time it happened. This time, well, it's just plain dissapointing.

Worse than the the fact this has occurred again is the publicity - the spotlight - which brings repercussions that likely would not transpire. And I think they may be costly to both Cabrera and the Tigers.

I've had my share of associations with people with such problems as well, Book. We have all battled demons of our own at one point or another. But when it happens more than once - the trust that was regained is washed away. And trust never gets a third chance.

There is not one Tiger fan - who before today - after Miggy's 2010 season played out- who had a bad thing to say about Cabrera. Not one. Trust was regained. But now?

But now - Miggy - the sure thing - has become another one of a growing list of "ifs".

I hope this all works out for him personally for sure.

12:44 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who knows a family who lost a child to a drunk driver, I must ask: Are you really this naive or were you just desperate to find a different spin on a national news story? I'm guessing the latter.

2:01 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Tiger Fan,
Interesting point you make, but that wasn't as much a drinking and driving issue as a "drinking on the job" issue. And the safety issue that could come from making a mistake while building a vehicle. Both obviously need help.

5:51 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Drinking, it seems to me particularly is rooted to baseball and hockey. It's part of the culture for a lot of these players coming up through the ranks. Night game, have few beers after becomes the routine of life. Problem is, like in a lot parts of society, the cutoff point gets badly blurred. Agreed. Miggy needs to divorce himself from that element - including the people ingrained in that part of the culture.

5:55 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

There is no excuse for him getting behind the wheel apparently as intoxicated as the police report presents. That was the intent of my posting.

5:56 PM 
Blogger Craven said...

Before I go too far, let me say I am disappointed in Cabrera and maybe he needs some kind of help. That said, we don't know the facts.

We don't know if he was driving, the Police report put him "in control" of the car. It does not say he was behind the wheel. It does not say the car was driveable. It does not say that someone actually saw him driving.

It does say he refused a breathalyzer (I would too if I hadn't been driving), it does say that he intimated someone else was with him (he was going to F&&ing kill him).

Mamy times when I hear a story like this, I harken back to the Duke Lacrosse incident. Law enforcement and the press had those kids tried and convicted in the press and it turned out it was all a lie.

I am not saying this is the same, but I am saying wait for the facts, people.

9:19 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Most of the time where this amount of smoke, there is fire. But the Duke case certainly did point to the pratfalls of coming to quick of a conclusion.

12:51 AM 
Blogger rick snares said...

Pat, hope you are ok, health is nothing to mess with, here is hoping you make a complete recovery, I enjoy your columns even though sometime I think you bumped your head, get well and get back......

9:09 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Rick Snares,
All is well. My first column upon returning will be a week from Sunday. I will be back on the air on The Ticket a week from Saturday.

4:07 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree with Guillen, in that Cabrera can't blame the game or the people around him, as that's a copout. He's hurting himself, and he might injure himself or others, if he continues to drive drunk.

Real sad, and we were all so pleased after last season. But if he keeps getting in trouble with the law, the Tigers have to cut the cord.

2:55 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

It becomes a matter of trust with fans and the organization. I mean, even when things are going well for Cabrera, you have to wonder now when the other shoe will drop.

7:15 PM 
Blogger rick snares said...

As someone who has had a DUI, and it happened over ten years ago, it stays with you, that being said, there is no reason to assume the worst, why does everyone go there, is it stupid, you bet, should there be repercussions absolutely, but hey let me ask all of you a question that do drink, have you ever gotten behind the wheel when you shouldn't have heck, let me answer that, you bet you have, you got lucky if it was only one time then good for you, chances are it wasn't. Let me tell you something else, when it is you that is in the back of the cop car, and it is you in front of the judge, then be very careful how you judge. It is not your call or my call to determine if Miggy has a problem, it is Miggy's call if he admits a problem than he can be helped, if not nothing you can do, nothing I can do. I luckily overcame my issue, on my own by the way, it can be done you don't need an army of people and have it play out in public to handle your issues, contrary to what everyone seems to think......So assume what you want, does not matter what any of us think........

7:28 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Rick Snares.
I don't agree with the "hey, you've all been behind the wheel drunk" theory. And it's not like the guy, if he wanted to party on this way to spring training (which he shouldn't, because it does seem like he has drinking issues), he could have hired somebody to drive him there. There is no excuse, in my opinion, for getting behind the wheel if there is any question about being drunk. Now, should he treated any differently than others regarding the law? Absolutely not. And the precedent has been set on this issue, and doesn't include jail time or a long-term restriction on his employment.

1:53 PM 
Blogger rick snares said...

Don't misunderstand no way in the world should anyone get behind the wheel and point a few thousand pound weapon down the road, and you are right, how every week you see another athlete popped for DUI, God knows they can afford a driver that always make me wonder. As for EVERYBODY has got behind the wheel hammered, obviously not everybody has, but there are more than who will admit it. Does everybody who has ever got a DUI have a drinking, no but a large number probably do. Does Cabrera have a problem, maybe, it kind of looks that way, I've known a few drunk idiots in my time and none of them ever took a slug from a whiskey bottle while the cops were there. The last thing I can say on this is if Miguel does not think he has a problem then what?

2:13 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Rick Snares,
Taking a swig of Scotch nonetheless seems like hardcore drinking.

12:04 AM 

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