Following their remarkable comeback victory against the Cardinals, the San Francisco Giants are prepared to take on the Detroit Tigers for their first World Series since 2010 (those poor fans). In the so called “post-steroids” era of baseball, where PEDs are generally frowned upon by the commish, one of the Giants best players will not be in play come Tuesday evening. That man is of course Melky Cabrera, and that reason is complete garbage.
Here’s the story for you Charlies out there who wouldn’t know a triple crown from a triple play. Melky came over to San Francisco last November from the Kansas City Royals in a deal for some minor league pitching and a bag of peanuts. His presence in the Giants lineup brought the teams offense together and helped make them a force in the NL West. In May of 2012, Cabrera had 50 hits, breaking the franchise record held by some guy named Willie Mays. His league-leading batting average and igniting play pushed him into the All-Star Game, where clutch batting netted the Dominican the All Star MVP and a National League victory. Indeed, the world loved all that was Melky, unlike that jerk (and reigning NL MVP) Ryan Braun. Too bad in August he tested positive for testosterone, and the world changed their collective mind once again (sunrise, sunset).
Now, after a 50-game suspension, back in the “post-steroids” world again, the Giants have the option to activate Cabrera to their playoff roster (in the World Series mind you) in hopes of replacing that band-aid they’ve stretched over left field the past few months. Yet, out of some misplaced guilt or obedience to what the experts will call an “unwritten rule,” the club will not bring him out of the closet. This is a franchise that’s been through the ringer before on banned substance use, so I get their apprehension. Barry Bonds ended up swatting away more integrity than moon shots into McCovey Cove, which is something the MLB would love for you to conveniently fail to recollect. That being said, Melky should be allowed back into the stadium.
Guillermo Mota served a 100-game suspension this season and is pitching for the Giants this postseason, yet no one seems to mind. What about the integrity of the game here? This was the second violation for Mota, but we’re all on board here? Do home runs trump relief pitching in the public eye? Why it’s as though the people enjoy the slam dunks in basketball, or long touchdown passes of the NFL. Silver Sluggers candidates tend to attract a bit more attention, I suppose.
Melky’s contributions this season have been immeasurable. Earlier in the year, it was a consensus that not only was he the Giants MVP, he had a shot to be the league’s as well. His performance in the All Star Game alone helped cement the home field advantage San Francisco will be enjoying this series, but no no Melky, no soup for you. We don’t play that kind of ball anymore, didn’t you hear? We’re above that today.
As for the silent respect we’re pretending to be holding for America’s game, it’s time to turn the clocks back. When Mark McGwire was crushing fastballs with Sammy Sosa nipping at his heels in ’98, the MLB enjoyed its greatest renaissance in popularity since the 1994 strike that had killed attendance and interest in the sport. Only in the aftermath of the Mitchell Report have we condemned these actions, only now do we forget how steroids helped rejuvenate a sport that was on life support.
Let me tell you something else about baseball — it’s a game full of cheaters. From corked bats to sticky fingers, it’s a sport where more “secret” weapons are employed than any other. Yet we abide by pedanticism, where ancient etiquette and forgotten reasoning are slothfully attempting to adjust to the modern games cut corners. Fine, steroids are bad, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
The Giants rode Cabrera to the postseason, and now they’d like to pretend it didn’t happen, the “Oh, we don’t need him” routine. Sorry, but you took the benefits, so whatever tainting of the game you’re trying to save us from is damage done. This “integrity” your preserving is an illusion, and it’s time to let it go. Let the man play.