Thursday, August 16, 2012

How are the mighty fallen in the midst of battle!

The Melky story was too good to be true, apparently. Not that I ascribe all of his recent baseball accomplishments to chemical help, this guy was a major-leaguer (a Yankee starter, no less) at the tender age of twenty, so he's obviously a talented athlete. When you work hard on your natural abilities, good things happen, and you could see that Cabrera had re-dedicated himself to his craft after some poor seasons. The drugs? Well, who can say what they do and what they don't? Color me skeptical. Sure, PEDs work, just like all drugs, otherwise no one would take them. But do they make mediocre guys All-Stars and MVP candidates? No. But I suspect they help a guy stay on top and keep an edge. Being great, in baseball, is mostly about being average. That is, if you are average most of the time and great occasionally, you will be the best in the league. Then again, we don't know if Melky was on some kind of regime with testosterone, or whether it was a short-term attempt at a "fix," or what. We know nothing about that and probably never will. It was a huge risk on his part, and it is likely he will lose out on some lucrative offers this fall. Then again, he will likely still be a major-league baseball starter somewhere, even in San Francisco, which will mean he'll still get paid a few million bucks for a year's work. We'll never find out if Melky made a rash decision or a calculating one. We can't get inside his head, or know all of the things that led to his choices.

We do know that his violation of the drug policy is a huge blow to the club, even if his performance on the field can be replaced. His unusual name, effusive style, and outstanding play won him a lot of fans. Fans don't win or lose pennants, of course, but they are part of the equation. Teams have to market themselves, and they need marketable guys. So much for that, Melky. Giants fans know all about steroid scandals, and no matter how you personally feel about PEDs, we are all sick of such things. No one is naive enough to believe that drug testing will get drugs out of baseball--there is too much money at stake for PEDs to ever be gone from any sport. But it would have been nice to have a break from it! When Manny Ramirez was a Dodger and got busted, I know I was happy about the fact that someone else besides Barry Bonds was tied to PEDs. Man, did I get tired of talking about Bonds! I didn't really care that the Dodgers were hurt by ManRam's violation. I was just glad to be vindicated. Sort of. I mean, no one listened when I told them that the MVP of the 2002 World Series (Troy Glaus) was named in the Mitchell Report. Gee, should the Angels get an asterisk on their trophy?

But I'm not here to write about drugs in sports. That's too long and too tired of a topic. In the case of Mr. Cabrera, "do the crime, do the time." He took the risk and he got burned. Am I angry? No. He's a grown man and can do what he wants. Am I disappointed? Absolutely. The Giants had a beautiful thing going with him in left and hitting third. I'm a grown man, too, and even though I devote a lot of time, energy, and emotion to the San Francisco Giants, I'm not going to lose sleep over Melky Cabrera. (I will lose sleep over the Dodgers being in first place!) After all, teams lose guys all the time for all sorts of reasons. Think Aubrey Huff. But, damn, this was looking like a pretty good team even with all the recent poor play. They are going to have a hard time making up for his lost production. Still, it is not a lost season. The race is wide open and the talent is there to win. I'm sad. Very sad. It's not as fun, now. But I'm still here, even if Melky isn't.



Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry.
--Lamentations 3:56

(The title is 2Samuel 1:25)


Shankbone said...

In the midst of battle is right! Pitching needs to tighten up their game, the defense needs to not go all Keystone Cop on us, and somebody needs to carry some more water. I think we have the offensive horses, its more the pen and if Timmy Jim wants to actually, you know, compete.

Angel Pagan, he of the frustratingly streaky hitting and bad route running/baserunning... needs to step up and be the guy.

We have an MVP in Posey, a couple of hackers in Pence and Pablo, another patient hitter in Belt... I don't think we will miss Melky tons. This team needs to step up, get hot and STAY hot. The starts and stops this season have been maddening.

I was looking forward to Sabean having to make a hard call on the Melky negotiation. Oh well, that just got easy.

Ron said...

I would like after-the-fact tag credit for my eloquent FUCK list yesterday. This all sucks a lot. Should we re-acquire Nate? Probably not impossible. I am worried about entrusting the rest of the season to Gregor Blanco and Brett Pill. There are still a few other useful guys out there who could be acquired.

Brother Bob said...

This business with Cabrera makes me sick. I was crazy about the guy, I thought we had another superstar to anchor the lineup. And now it turns out he got better because he was juiced.
It will be interesting to see who signs him next year and for how much. Maybe we should forgive him and give him another chance.

Ron said...

Alfonso Soriano is available & plays the right position. Here is my analysis:

- The Upside: has a lot of power (would be our new HR leader after Pence took that title, then Buster re-acquired it); probably better than anyone else that we can find right now; a better acquisition than Jose Guillen, & we made it to the post-season with him as a late-season addition (later, he had PED problems ... ).

- The Downside: poor OBP; iffy fielding; right-handed, when we need a lefty or switch-hitter; has a contract through 2014 (normally a plus, but not for a guy who we really don't want for a long time). Cubs would probably pay nearly all of his salary, but we may end up just cutting him loose after the end of this season. [Too bad MLB doesn't have player loan deals, like in professional soccer. We would just pay the Cubs a fee to borrow Soriano for a few months, then give him back.]

Black Vulmea said...

Cabrera's wound is self-inflicted.

And he's leaving the team to pick up the pieces.

nomisnala said...

Schierholtz broke a toe and could be out for a month. Soriano refuses to play for the giants. So both of those are out. Blanco could get hot again. Pagan and Melky had almost identical stats for August before yesterday's game. Maybe we can get A. Torres back from the mets. His OBP is 20-30 points higher than Pagans, and he could move Pagan to left or right. Lets hope the hated pirates and beat the more hated dodgers today.

Ron said...

Best reasonable rumor yet: David DeJesus. Good OBP, Good OF, Left-handed bat.

Predictable rumor: Jeff Francouer.

Best-case-scenario, albeit highly unlikely: Josh Willingham.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Yeah, I wonder if they are going to make a move. Seems like they have to. Sabes has pushed all the right buttons so far this season (and off-season), we'll see if he has any magic dust left.

Ultimately, the players have to step up. As I said, the talent is there. Losing Melky means more pressure on Panda and Pence in particular to produce. Blanco has to contribute (i.e. not suck), too. And then there is Timmy. They can't do it without him. He has to deliver quality starts down the stretch.