CSI: Buster Olney

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Miguel Cabrera has apologized to his teammates and the Tigers have been eliminated, so the whole issue of him getting his drink on and getting violent is now less a public matter than it is a matter between Cabrera, his wife, his team, his health and the law, but I’d be remiss in not pointing out Buster Olney’s piece on it all today.  He contacted an expert to determine whether or not Cabrera was still drunk at gametime last Saturday. The upshot:

Jim Fell, the Director for Traffic Safety and Enforcement Programs of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, in Calverton, Md., said in a phone interview that the typical person processes alcohol at the rate of about .015 per hour, which means that someone with a blood alcohol level of .26 would need about 17 hours for the alcohol to clear his or her system. An experienced drinker would metabolize alcohol at about .020 per hour . . . an experienced drinker would have required 13 hours to metabolize alcohol at that level.

Based on the time of the BAC test and first pitch, that means that if Cabrera metabolizes booze like an experienced drinker, he was at a .08 at the time he showed up at the ballpark and a .02 at first pitch.  If he’s more of a regular Joe, he would have been a .08 at game time. Of course, Olney’s expert did not factor in the healing power of Sausage McMuffins in all of this, so I’m a bit dubious of the results. 

That aside, I’m inclined to think Cabrera would be better off if he metabolized like a normal person. A BAC of 08 is probably buzzed. With a .02, you’re likely entering full-blown hangover mode.  Your mileage may vary, but while being sober is always preferable, drinkers I know — and Cabrera sounds like one — tend to function a tad better with a little grease in the gears than they do when the gears are grinding following a bender.

Anyone who wants to take their last shots at Cabrera had better do so in the comments, because I’m not writing about him again until the inevitable “Cabrera enters rehab” story comes out.

Rob Manfred blames Bryce Harper for going unsigned

Bryce Harper
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Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the media today. Naturally, he was asked various questions about the landscape of the sport, given that superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned as spring training begins. Per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, Manfred said that he thinks the free agent market will begin to move once spring training exhibition games begin. Manfred also said that Harper’s camp suggesting that he wants $400 million back in 2016 was “an impediment” to discussions throughout the offseason.

No word on why Machado is also as yet unsigned, as he did not have a reported $400 million ask.

Manfred’s job is to look out for ownership, so it’s not surprising to see him point the finger at Harper. Consider:

Manfred’s comment comes just months after the Red Sox won 108 regular season games and the World Series with baseball’s largest payroll. And ongoing evidence that there is indeed a positive correlation between dollars spent and team success. We often hear justification for tanking/rebuilding because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships because of it. When the Red Sox use financial muscle to win a championship, it’s crickets.

Manfred didn’t stop there, however.

An easy way to get baseball’s “glow” back would be for two of the game’s best and most popular players to be in uniform playing games. The first spring training exhibition game will be played on February 22, so it’s not looking like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

Baseball’s “glow” would also come back if more teams were actively trying to win. Instead, one-third of the league is “rebuilding” or otherwise coasting on revenue-sharing. For fans of the Rangers, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins — to name a few — the outcomes of their favorite teams’ seasons have already been decided, so what is there to get excited about?