Recently Melky Cabrera, a San Francisco Giants All-Star and former Atlanta Braves dud, was suspended for 50 games after he tested positive for testosterone, a banned substance in Major League Baseball.
We all thought the steroid era of baseball was over once Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire stopped hitting moonshots, but clearly performance-enhancing drugs are still a major part of baseball. Cabrera’s recent suspension will have a domino effect on baseball.
Cabrera was having a career year for the San Francisco Giants. The outfielder was second in the National League with a .346 batting average, first in hits with 159, first in runs with 84 and second in triples with 10 at the time of his suspension.
The first domino that falls is Cabrera’s bank account. Cabrera clearly knew if he had a big year, he was going to cash in millions and cheating was worth the money. Nice try ‘Melk Man,’ but you got caught and lost $70 to $85 million in a multi-year contract.
Thanks to Cabrera’s offensive outburst, the Giants were tied for first time in the NL West. If you are a Giants fan, this is where the next domino falls.
The Giants are in serious trouble of winning the division and even making the playoffs. Yes, one man does not make a team, but when that player’s current replacement is hitting .236, the team is in bad shape.
The MLB has cracked down on the use of PEDs, but Victor Conte, BALCO founder and former steroid supplier, thinks there is a bigger problem than people think.
According to New York’s Daily News, Conte said, “I’ve been saying that synthetic testosterone is the biggest loophole in drug testing for several years now.”
Conte is not trusted by the MLB and could be trying to get back into the spotlight, but shouldn’t we believe someone who supplied athletes with PEDs for over a decade? Yes, we should, and this is where the third domino falls.
Stricter bans on users of PEDs will definitely be looked into. With a high profile player of Cabrera’s caliber being caught, the MLB needs more severe punishments to these offenders. Arizona Diamondbacks manager, Kirk Gibson, agrees.
Gibson told Fox Sports Arizona, “Part of me says that alright, enough already, we’ve made a commitment to stopping that type of activity, and we still have people trying to fool the system. Maybe we should consider a much stricter penalty. I think it should be a minimum of a year, and after that, he should be banned.”
Cabrera hitting .462 in nine games against the Diamondbacks may have played a little role in Gibson’s anger.
With next year’s MLB Hall of Fame class full of controversial steroid era players, such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa up for election, another domino falls.
Hall of Fame voters have already been harsh on players with ties to the steroid era and with Cabrera’s suspension, they will have to look hard at players’ stats before the steroid era and after. These players up for election shouldn’t blame Cabrera if voters are harsh, but he certainly isn’t helping them.
The last domino to fall is the massive one of the MLB. The league has worked for years to clean up the game and fix its image. Baseball will have to fight hard to fix its image once again, and the MLB must have harsher penalties for PED users.
Shame on you, Melky Cabrera, for hurting the game of baseball, its fans and changing the whole dynamic of the playoff race.