Posted on October 5, 2009
It took three days for the truth to emerge about Miguel Cabreraâ€™s utter lack ofâ€¦self-control, discipline, judgment, spousal respect — you name it — as Friday night became Saturday morning, so I needed at least a few hours to mull it over before posting something.
As it gets close to midnight in the East, Iâ€™ve come to a conclusion:
The Tigers must bench Miguel Cabrera for Tuesdayâ€™s game. And I mean bench, as in do not play him.
Suspend him if you have to, call it whatever.
He should be forced to watch his team either collapse at the Metrodome (thanks in large part to his behavior) or, better yet (at least for Tigers fans), watch his club celebrate a division title on the Twinsâ€™ field, knowing he had nothing to do with it.
Are you punishing his teammates by leaving their best hitter on the bench? Perhaps. Is that fair? Perhaps not. But it’s the correct move.
Jim Leyland, who some think is at fault for not having control of his team — please — has a track record of dealing with similar issues. Barry Bonds for mouthing off in the early 1990s, for one.
Don’t forget his 2006 in-game demand that the Tigers flat-out release Dmitri Young when he made a scene after being lifted for a pinch hitter. Neither of these offenses compare to Cabrera’s, of course, though Young was creating a stir in the clubhouse for a good while before being released.
And now that we find out that five weeks ago Cabrera was told to stay away from the Townsend Hotel altogether after an incident, you’ve got to figure he’s looking at strike three, at least in Leyland’s mind.
Another reason to sit him down? Leyland has two more years on his contract. How could he arrive in Lakeland next season and not have the message burned into his club’s psyche that he’s in charge and if you have doubts ask number 24.
Yep, they have to bench him. Cabrera did this and he needs to pay the price: embarrassment — and not be allowed to skate by with a template â€œstatementâ€ written by the public relations department and issued by the team.
Sorry. Not nearly enough.
I absolutely feel bad for the other Tigers player. After coughing up the division in the past 10 days, they were going to arrive in Minneapolis as pressure-free underdogs. The baseball world has rekindled its love affair with the Twins and, what do you know?, the Tigers were suddenly flying under the radar, at least to a degree. Not a bad situation, really.
You can forget about that now. The Tigers cleanup hitter got himself and, by extension, his team into this jam. But he shouldn’t be allowed to play himself out of it.