The Baseball Buzz: Quick Hits Around MLB

Aug 17, 2012 2 Comments

Melky Had Us All Fooled
About three weeks ago, a rumor surfaced that San Francisco Giants All-Star leftfielder Melky Cabrera, had tested positive for performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). I remember thinking to myself – there is no way he could be that foolish. Wasn’t the fallout from a decade worth of rampant drug use among MLB players and much more stringent drug testing policies in place not a big enough deterrent? Did the Melkman really think he was going to get away with it? Well, I guess we got our answer. He was that foolish.

Cabrera not only let down himself, but he let down his teammates, the organization, and fans that have supported him immensely. Giants fans like myself are left pondering who exactly is Melky Cabrera and questioning the authenticity of every hit, homerun, and stolen base he has racked up this season.

Kansas City Royals center fielder Melky Cabrera (53)

Was Melky Cabrera’s 2011 season in Kansas City also a lie? Photo By: Keith Allison

As if that wasn’t enough embarrassment, MLB has been handed yet another public relations nightmare, as Cabrera was this year’s All-Star MVP and played an integral role in the National League’s win over the American League, which means that the National League will have home field advantage in this year’s World Series. I wonder how title-contending teams in the American League, such as the Rangers, Yankees, and Angels feel about that?

While drug testing has greatly improved, penalties associated with a positive test needs to be more severe. As Buster Olney from ESPN tweeted yesterday, “until MLB and the Players Union toughen the drug policy, [in relation to penalties], risk/reward scales will always encourage cheating.” Olney goes on to suggest that MLB should tighten their penalties so that a first offense would result in a one-year ban and a second offense would result in a lifetime ban (currently, players who test positive a first time receive a 50 game suspension; 100 game suspension for second offense; and lifetime ban for a third offense).

Logic would tell you that if MLB stiffens/tightens up the penalties for using PEDs, players should be less likely to dope. On the other hand, the temptation of PEDs’ advantages will continue to exist and baseball players haven’t had the best rack record turning their backs to the “Dark Side.” So the question is how severe must the penalties be to seriously deter players from using? Olney’s suggestion is at the very least a start in the right direction.

I suppose the silver lining in all of this from the Giants standpoint is Cabrera’s positive drug test probably just saved the club $50 million. Cabrera is in a contract year, and it had been reported that San Francisco was very interested in locking him up long-term with a sizeable contract. If the Giants or any other team decide to sign him now, it will be at a significant discount.

That’s little comfort to Giants fans though. The greater concern is what kind of impact Cabrera’s suspension will have on the team and what was once a promising season.

Phil Mickelson Part of New Padres Ownership Group
Yesterday, the San Diego Padres were sold for $800 million to a group of investors, including Ron Fowler who owns a large beer distributorship in Del Mar, the family of former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley, and most notably professional golfer Phil Mickelson.

Former owner John Moores purchased the Padres for $94 million and sold it for roughly 8.5 times for what he paid for it in 1994. Apparently, the steep price tag is partly attributable to the recent television contract the Padres struck with Fox for $1.2 billion.

San Diego Padres LogoStill, such a large deal is somewhat of a surprise for a team that has never won a World Series title and has endured 28 losing seasons in 43 years of existence. In fact the price tag seems somewhat ridiculous when you consider that the deal is the 3rd highest sale of a MLB franchise ever, with only the recent $2.1 billion sale of the Dodgers earlier this year to Magic Johnson’s group and the $845 million sale of the Cubs three years ago being of greater value.

For those curious about what sort of role Mickelson might play as a minority owner, he is already on record saying that he will remain in the background.

Still the Phil, who also owns a stake in Five Guys Burgers, should be a great spokesperson for the organization’s new management because no matter how poorly Mickelson plays he still seems to have a charismatic pull with consumers.  The burn questioning for me however, is whether or not Phil will be able to add Five Guys Burgers as a concession stand at Petco Park? That in itself would be a greater accomplishment than anything Lefty has achieved on the golf course lately…at least according to the Sports Glutton himself (aka Jed Gray).

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2 Responses to “The Baseball Buzz: Quick Hits Around MLB”

  1. Tim Solis says:

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, shame on….

    In all this terrible mess, the San Francisco Giants public image continues to look awful. Giants GM Brian Sabean can come out publicly and say how disappointed he is in Cabrera (and rightfully so), however at some point he (as well as the franchise) need to take responsibilty for their actions as well. This makes the third time that a player has received a suspension while on the Giants payroll (Guillen, Mota, and now Cabrera). Compound that with all the negative sentiment during the post Bonds era, and you would think the organization would take steps to make sure that this sort of thing never happened again.

    • William Hodges says:

      Fair point Tim. I agree the Giants did blow an opportunity to issue a more strongly-worded statement adamantly opposing PED use and condemning Cabrera, but at the end of the day, I just don’t know how a team goes about policing this more than they already do. These players are grown men and they are well aware of the risks and consequences. As I said in the article, until MLB stiffens up the penalties, the risk-reward will always encourage cheating.

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