melky cabrera getty

No, Melky Cabrera did not make out like a bandit from his Blue Jays deal

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Buster Olney cast aspersions on Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista took offense. Now Olney fires back in his column. After quoting Bautista’s comments about how Melky has done the crime and the time and should be allowed to get on with his life, and after quoting Richard Griffith’s argument that Cabrera is not a poster boy for cheating being worthwhile, Buster says  . . .

I’d respectfully disagree . . .Just because somebody doesn’t make as much as Ryan Braun doesn’t mean cheating isn’t worthwhile, and it’s hardly a stretch to suggest that Cabrera made extra cash through his past transgression . . . He signed with the Royals for $1.25 million in 2011 and became a star, at a time when he reportedly became a client of Biogenesis. He was suspended in 2012 while playing for the San Francisco Giants, and the Blue Jays then signed him to a two-year, $16 million deal before anybody knew about Tony Bosch and Biogenesis.

That last little bit is kinda clever: “before anybody knew about Tony Bosch and Biogenesis.” It implies that Melky made his $16 million from the Jays under false pretenses. Which is silly considering the guy was suspended for testing positive for drugs while still with the Giants. My memory is a bit fuzzy about it all, but I seem to recall that a few papers even wrote some stuff about it.

Did Melky get an unfair advantage from cheating? Absolutely. But every cent he’s made from the Blue Jays and every cent he’s making going forward was and will be made with full knowledge of his past transgressions and with the risk of him either cheating again or turning into a pumpkin priced into the deal. If he hadn’t been busted while in San Francisco he would have stood to make way, way more than that. Indeed, conservative estimates before his suspension were that he’d get $50 million over four years, maybe more. Rather than get a windfall as a result of his cheating, Melky took a pretty big hit, financially speaking.

I realize it drives some people crazy that baseball is cool with punishing guys for taking PEDs, letting them back in the game and allowing them to make a living as if they weren’t murderers or something, but that is how it works. Ask the Cardinals and Jhonny Peralta. Ask the Orioles and Nelson Cruz. Ask any number of other players who have taken drugs, gotten suspended and have come back. And it’s how it should work. Punish a guy sharply when he crosses the line. Test players constantly to deter them from cheating. But when a guy has done the time, let him be unless or until he cheats again.

If you don’t like that — and Buster here clearly does not — advocate for lifetime bans on the first offense or get the hell off your high horse.

“La Vida Baseball,” celebrating Latino baseball, launches

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A new website has launched. It’s called “La Vida Baseball,” and it’s all about celebrating the past, present and future of Latino baseball from a Latino perspective.

The site, produced in partnership with the Hall of Fame, has four general areas of focus:

  • Who’s Now: Focusing on current Latino players;
  • Who’s Next: Focusing on top prospects here, in the Caribbean and in Central and South America;
  • Our Life: Off-the-Field stuff, including player’s lives, lifestyles and hobbies; and
  • Our Legends: Focusing on Latino baseball history, Hall of Famers and overlooked players.

As the site has just launched there aren’t yet a ton of stories up there, but there is one about Roberto Clemente, another about Felix Hernandez and some other stuff.

The site is much-needed. Baseball reporters for American outlets are overwhelmingly white, non-Spanish speakers. Reporters, who, generally, gravitate to the players who are the most like they are. Which is understandable on some level. When you’re writing stories about people you need to be able to communicate with them and relate to them on more than a mere perfunctory level. As such, no matter how good the intentions of baseball media, we tend to see the clubhouse and the culture of baseball from a distinctly American perspective. And we tend to paint Latino players with a broad, broad brush.

La Vida Baseball will, hopefully, remedy all of that and will, hopefully, give us a fresh and insightful depiction Latino players and their culture.

 

David Ross to compete on “Dancing with the Stars”

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Do you miss David Ross? I miss David Ross. The season hasn’t even started yet and I miss David Ross. There’s something comforting about having a likable graybeard catcher in the game with bonus points for being bald. His loss will be felt.

But while we won’t have David Ross in baseball all this year — at least on the field; he’s a special assistant with the Cubs — we’ll still have David Ross someplace:

Johnny Damon did “Celebrity Apprentice” — Trump fired him, sadly — but we’ve never had a ballplayer on “Dancing With The Stars.” There have been several football players and some Olympians, but no baseball guys. Which makes some amount of sense as, outside of the middle infielders and first basemen, footwork isn’t necessarily the most important tool.

Catchers are particularly plodding for athletes, so good luck, David. Unless you have some moves you haven’t flashed in the past, you’ll probably need it.