- Neal Boortz defends Hillary Clinton for representing child rapist
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Top federal judge uses pizza to explain complex Obamacare situation
- Obama, Biden overhaul job training programs
- Drought-plagued Californians turn to paint to keep lawns green
- ISIL now forcing Iraqi shopkeepers to veil mannequins in Mosul
- 11 parents of Nigeria’s abducted girls die
- Genetic mapping triggers new hope on schizophrenia
- Turkish P.M. Erdogan won’t speak to Obama, but he’ll take calls from Biden
- Israel’s ambassador praises Obama, slams Human Rights Watch report
SNYDER: Melky Cabrera’s PED case illustrates how rewards outweigh risks
Question of the Day
Melky Cabrera, in the midst of an MVP-like season for the San Francisco Giants, tested positive for testosterone around the All-Star break. Major League Baseball announced Wednesday that the Giants outfielder is suspended for 50 games.
Ryan Braun, who won the MVP award with the Milwaukee Brewers last year, tested positive for testosterone after the 2011 regular season ended. After he won his appeal in February, MLB vehemently disagreed with the arbitrator’s decision, which was based on a technicality and not the test’s veracity.
Those cases — not to mention the three other major leaguers suspended this season — bring us to the sad conclusion that performance-enhancing drugs in baseball are alive and well. Especially in the minor leagues, where there have been 70 suspensions this year (although 19 were for a “drug of abuse,” meaning some players still are interested in getting high more than making highlights).
I have no idea if testosterone provides a buzz, but it definitely delivers a boost. Cabrera, who averaged .267 with eight homers and 54 RBI during his first five seasons, was a different player last year. He hit .305 with 18 homers and 54 RBI for Kansas City, crediting it to working harder, eating better and drinking less.
The uptick is even greater this year, as Cabrera leads the NL in hits (159) and runs (84). He’s also second in batting average (.346), and has increased his on-base plus slugging percentage from .809 last season to .906 this season.
But Wednesday, he had some explaining to do.
“My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used,” Cabrera said in a statement released by the players’ union. “I accept my suspension under the Joint Drug Program and I will try to move on with my life. I am deeply sorry for my mistake and I apologize to my teammates, to the San Francisco Giants‘ organization and to the fans for letting them down.”
We shouldn’t be shocked or surprised that baseball’s history of drug-aided performance has continued past the Steroid Era. The freak show is over, so we no longer see the gigantic craniums, bulging biceps and puffed-up physiques of yesteryear.
But with fast-acting creams and patches designed to avoid detection, players nowadays can achieve the desired results without the glaring visuals.
They certainly have the incentive. Before his breakout season with Kansas City, Cabrera hit a career-low .255 with just four homers and 42 RBI, leading to his release by the Atlanta Braves. He signed with the Royals for less than half of the $3.1 million he made in 2011. But he’s making $6 million from the Giants this year and was poised for a big contract next winter as a 28-year-old free agent.
If the failed drug test occurred after Cabrera signed, say, a five-year deal for $75 million, his 50-game suspension would have cost him about $4.6 million. More than a few players (and nonplayers) will determine that the risk doesn’t outweigh the reward. It’s not like they’re robbing a bank and could face years in prison.
Cheaters don’t even face much condemnation from their teammates or peers.
Giants catcher Buster Posey told reporters that “ultimately, it was just a bad decision.” Robinson Cano, Cabrera’s former teammate on the New York Yankees, said, “I’m always going to be there for him.” As per usual, players around baseball lamented the consequences instead of lambasting the act.
Cabrera can serve his suspension and be activated after the Giants‘ fifth postseason game, should San Francisco make the playoffs. He still can win the batting title. He still can sign a free agent deal that’s worth more than he ever made.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Deron Snyder is an award-winning journalist and Washington Times sports columnist with more than 25 years of experience. He has worked at USA Today and his column was syndicated in Gannett’s 80-plus newspapers from 2000-2009, appearing in The Arizona Republic, The Indianapolis Star, The Detroit News and many others. Follow Deron on Twitter @DeronSnyder or email him at email@example.com.
- SNYDER: Robert Griffin III, Jay Gruden perfect together — for now
- SNYDER: Nationals flush with possibilities as second half kicks in
- SNYDER: Emmanuel Mudiay's decision to skip college another step toward sea change
- SNYDER: Like it or not, Derek Jeter is reason to watch All-Star game
- SNYDER: Robert Griffin III worth his weight in bronze to Baylor
Latest Blog Entries
U.S. appetite for drugs begets violence migrants are fleeing
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- Hamas terrorists wear Israeli army uniforms to ambush soldiers in Gaza
- Rep. Jared Polis' anti-fracking crusade riles Colorado
- Jewish woman booted from JetBlue flight over fight with Palestinian
- Brooklyn Bridge surrenders: White flags replace Old Glory atop icon
- LYONS: Small-arms treaty, big Second Amendment threat
- MERRY: Handicaps in Hillary's way
- Obama family set to buy $4.25M desert home in California: report
- YOUNG: A sinking presidency, deeper after November?
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq