Last week I did a playoff preview where I went through each team individually and tried to pick a favorite (and it looks like I'll be an honorary Coors Field Drunk for the rest of this month). I went through each of the playoff teams and decided that the Tigers were going to win the division. The Twins had something like a 5% chance of coming back and I didn't think they would do it. Here's what I said.
(Skipping the Twins. They aren't coming back.)
That's it. I didn't even feel the need to justify it and now they are in a one-game playoff for the AL Central title to be played tomorrow.
(Quick tangent on this: Each year the MLB holds a series of coinflips in the event of tiebreakers to decide the home team. The Twins won this coinflip. (As lar pointed out in the comments this has been changed, but the overall point still stands.) Now, why wouldn't the MLB look at the schedule and say "You know, we want these tiebreakers to take place on Monday. We don't want either team gaining an advantage and we want the playoffs to start on Tuesday. Even though you won the toss, if you can't have that game on Monday, we're going to have that game on Monday in Detroit. Sorry." How hard would that be? The playoffs take forever as it is, why add a day because Brett Favre unretired?)
So, the Tigers play the Twins in a four game series and they split it when everyone says the Twins need to win 3 of 4 to have a chance. Then they sweep the Royals while the Twins fall apart against the White Sox. WHY? Why does this happen? I don't really care about either team at all, but I don't like to be wrong. Who likes to be wrong? Who is responsible for me to possibly be wrong? Miguel Cabrera, that's who.
Miguel Cabrera is one of the best hitters in baseball. He's also a completly irresponsible a-hole. On Friday Miguel.....
- Went out drinking with members of the White Sox (My guess: Freddy Garcia and Scott Podsednik.)
- Got home early in the morning (Did he drive?) and got into a fight with his wife
- Had bruises on his face and so did his wife
- Blew .26 on the breathalyzer (suck it LaRussa)
- Got picked up by Dave Dombrowski at the police station
- Went 0 for 11 in the series.
Now, it's hard to say that the performance of one player can have that big of an effect on the team's on field performance. It's hard to say that one player playing better would equal a win, but what we do know is that it doesn't help. What we also know, from personal experience, is that when you show up for work with little to no sleep and a ton of alcohol still in your system you don't do a good job. Just ask my buddy the airplane pilot.
But whatever. That's in the past. What matters is this next game and this one game, despite being exciting, is now surrounded by more talk about Cabrera than the actual game itself. Big League Stew is calling for his suspension and considering you can now listen to a 911 call where his wife clearly says he hit her, you might agree with them. Beyond that if Cabrera plays you might go out of your way to want the Tigers to lose. Millionaire douchebags are one thing. Millionaire douchebags who drink til 5AM when they have a game to play that day and then come home and beat their wives are another.
At the same time whether you hate him or not, as long as he doesn't go out drinking tonight, Cabrera gives the Tigers the best chance to win tomorrow. If he wants to ruin his life that's his business, but the rest of the team and their fans want to see the Tigers win the World Series. Ideally, they could do it without him but I have my doubts that they can. Using Miguel Cabrera gives them the best chance to win, but using Miguel Cabrera also sends a bad message so what do you do?
I don't know what to tell you. I know that what Miguel Cabrera did is something that I think is wrong, but I also know that if Ryan Braun ever missed a big game because of something he did off the field and the Brewers went on to lose I'd be mad about it. In the end we are all only fans of our teams and we want those teams to win. Sometimes to do that we need to let go of players as people and only think of them as cogs in the team. Morally, that sucks and it's not why we watch sports which is exactly what makes Miguel Cabrera an asshole. Whether he plays tomorrow or not, he's getting paid and by not being able to wait a couple more weeks to slap his wife he has made Tigers fans make an unwanted moral stand against his actions when all they want is to see their team win a few games. They know that Cabrera gives them the best chance and they hate him for it. Congratulations Miguel, you're an a-hole.