Baseball can be such a wacky game.
On the very same day right-hander Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners tossed a perfect game, Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone.
Cabrera, the MVP of the most recent All-Star Game, acknowledged wrongdoing and accepted responsibility.
“My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used. I accept my suspension under the Joint Drug Program and 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 Giant organization, and to the fans for letting them down,” Cabrera said in a statement he released that was carried by cbssports.com.
In hurling his perfect game, King Felix joined Matt Cain and Philip Humber as pitchers who have thrown perfect games this season. There were also two perfect games pitched in 2010. Before this recent rash of perfect games, there had never been a season in which more than one perfect game was pitched, according to cbssports.com. There were no perfect games pitched during the entire decades of the 1930s, 1940s and 1970s.
The recent pitching dominance almost makes one wish that Major League Baseball would go ahead and permit the hitters to use steroids and HGH. Allowing them to juice up seems the only way to give these overmatched hitters a fighting chance. The Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A’s are among several playoff contending teams that have a woeful bottom half of their batting order. Looking at the box scores of these teams, you rarely see a hitter in the lower half of their lineups hitting above .230. And these are possible playoff teams!
At the time of his suspension, Cabrera was second in the National League in batting average, and first in hits and runs scored. The 28-year-old had always been a journeyman and a utility outfielder. His recent surge raised some eyebrows and now these suspicions have been confirmed. It is likely his fraud was perpetrated in early July at the All-Star Game, and that represents another setback for the already struggling Midsummer Classic.
Reigning NL MVP Ryan Braun was also suspended for 50 games for elevated levels of testosterone. Braun appealed and had his sentence overturned through legal channels. This does not, however, completely clear his name in the eyes of many.
Every time a positive drug test is announced, especially when it involves big names like Braun and Cabrera, baseball’s integrity is called into question. What are we watching? Are we watching players who are relying upon their own genetic endowment and hard work and training to succeed? Or are we watching players resorting to artificial means to gain an edge by using things other players aren’t allowed to use?
Baseball is striving to move beyond the taint of the steroid era. The announcement of the Cabrera suspension tarnished what should have been a glorious day in baseball. The day one of its best pitchers delivered a gem.