Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hurting the team, hurting himself

Ballplayers, as a group, aren't saints. (Neither are journalists, for that matter.)

So it's not necessarily surprising that Miguel Cabrera had a few drinks after Friday's game.

But that he stayed out until 5 a.m.; that he got into a fight with his wife when he returned home; that he blew a .26 on an alcohol breath test — more than three times the legal limit — all these things are bad news.

And that he did this in the middle of a crucial series ... well, if his teammates aren't displeased with him, something's wrong in that clubhouse.

Cabrera is a talented hitter. With Vladimir Guerrero on the downslope of his career, Cabrera may be — check that, IS — the best right-handed hitter in the American League.

I'm in no position to make a judgment on the domestic violence part of the story. The police deemed both Cabrera and his wife to be aggressors, and while one suspects that there would have been no fight had the husband come home earlier and sober, it is also possible that theirs is the sort of marriage that is combative even without alcohol.

It's the drinking — the amount of drinking as well as the timing — that sets off alarm bells. With the divisional title slipping away, this 240-pound man (so he is listed) spent the night getting massively sloshed.

That sounds like a problem drinker to me.

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