Yahoo! Sports Writer Takes a Shot at the Tigers

Admittedly, the only reason I saw this was because I was browsing other Tigers blogs out there. But apparently, some guy named Jeff Passan over at Yahoo! sports has taken issue with the way the Tigers (affectionately referred to as the “Pussy Cats”) have handled the Cabrera issue.  You really should check it out.  Passan goes so far as to insinuate that Cabrera could “run a dog fighting ring or kill someone” before getting a reaction out of the organization.

Passan comes off as very Jim Rome’ish, (my guess is he’s been punked by guys like Jim Everett in the past), but he’s probably just writing to get a reaction.

As I wrote earlier, I wish the Tigers would have come forward sooner, but I don’t see it as their responsibility to punish Cabrera.  Get him help, yes.  But fine him or bench him?  The likes of Mickey Mantle & Jim Bouton would have never seen the grass if Passan had his way.

What are your thoughts?

32 thoughts on “Yahoo! Sports Writer Takes a Shot at the Tigers”

  1. I think getting him help is better than punishing him. What the Tigers are doing may seem self-serving–and maybe it is–but it’s still a better than moralistic grandstanding that seems more interested to bringing attention to its author than in solving a problem.

  2. Passan loves bashing him some Tigers, unfortunately for the reader, he’s rarely original about it. I’m sure the Cabrera incident was just the kind of low hanging fruit he loves to pick.

    I’ll admit I didn’t follow Josh Hamilton’s struggles closely and I don’t know what was publicly released by the Rangers after his incidents, so I would be interested to hear what people who did think are the differences/similarities in how the teams handled them. My initial impression though is that Passan seems to have a double standard going between Hamilton and Cabrera. I’m under the impression that Hamilton had a long and well documented history with repeatedly abusing many substances. Contrast this with two alcohol related incidents for Cabrera. So for Passan, Hamilton = rolemodel…and Cabrera = spoiled brat?

    I’m not going to be naive and assume that these are the only times Cabrera has excessively consumed, nor do I think that because they only involved alcohol they are somehow less serious than Hamilton’s. But, to my thoroughly un-medically trained mind, there’s a difference between knowing your limit and being an addict. Again, one isn’t necessarily “better” than the other, but if the goal is to get to the bottom of something, its important to actually know what the problem is.

    I’m fine with the Tigers and Cabrera not necessarily labeling him an alcoholic yet, at the very least until after he’s thoroughly evaluated. For Passan to point to Cabrera’s lack of acknowledgment of the term “alcoholic” (through an in-house translator) as some bigger problem is premature at this point. I think we can safely say that Cabrera has a drinking problem, but whether it falls under the clinical definition of “alcoholism” (which is something I’m in no position to assert) or something else…I’m happy to wait for the doctors to tell us that. In the mean time, I say ignore Passan. There’s no new info in the article, and not much in the way of insight.

    You hit the nail on the head Kevin, very Rome-ish.

  3. What planet are you guys living on?

    Cabrera got blasted three times the legal limit and had to have GM bail him out morning of 2009’s biggest game. He just was busted for resisting arrest and then drunkenly swigged Scotch in front of a cop! Seriously, you want to debate the semantics of alcohol addiction and how do define alcoholism be my guest. But c’mon people!

    Could a doctor or a lawyer lurch from malpractice–as Cabrera did in 2009 by being drunk before biggest game of year– to swigging bottle of Scotch in 2011 without getting suspended? How about a school teacher? And who in their right mind thinks this happened only these two times? I mean, my God what are we waiting for? A third offense where he runs someone off the road? I know the Tigers are everyone’s team, but all you guys are doing is rationalizing his behavior because he a D on his jersey.

    Sure, let him do no rehab or miss any games! Wait, what’s that’s noise? That’s the sound of Cabrera falling into the ditch.

    1. I think my favorite part about the internet is the unilateral judgments from the uninformed.

      “but all you guys are doing is rationalizing his behavior because he a D on his jersey.”

      First of all, its not so much rationalizing as it is withholding judgment until all the details are made public…which, since this is a medical issue, might be never. None of us know what steps the MLB, the Tigers, the doctors, or Cabrera are taking internally. I’m not going to assume that just because they seem one way publicly that they’re acting that way in private.

      “Could a doctor or a lawyer lurch from malpractice–as Cabrera did in 2009 by being drunk before biggest game of year– to swigging bottle of Scotch in 2011 without getting suspended?”

      Not to be a dick, but comparing doctors and lawyers to baseball players…not so great. We let baseball players get away with, and sometimes revere them for, similar things all the time because its a GAME (Dock Ellis, Mantle, Ruth, etc…). If Cabrera had somehow hit a homerun to win that game v. the Twins and send the Tigers to the playoffs, all the sudden its a different story. Drunk driving is obviously separate from the above, but again we don’t know the details on this incident regarding when and where the drinking was done.

      “And who in their right mind thinks this happened only these two times?”

      I dunno, who suggested its only happened twice?

      Please don’t misconstrue my taking an issue with Passan’s high-horse-ness with endorsing Cabrera’s actions. I’m just as worried as anyone about what this will do to his career. He’s got a problem, for sure, but it’s not terribly useful for fans or the media to presume they know what’s wrong and what the right course of action is.

  4. And the worst has yet to come out. Sources are hinting that soon it will be revealed that Cabrera drunk-texted Brett Favre…

  5. Here’s my email to Mr. Passan:

    “Jeff, you’re a good writer (much better than your dad), but that piece on the Tigers and Cabrera was classic concern-trolling. You want the Tigers to “punish” Cabrera, as if that would be any more effective in keeping him sober than the professional program you belittled.

    It is not the Tigers’ job to “punish” its employees for their off-the-field problems. A responsible employer will help its employees through such difficulties. Or if the offense is too flagrant or compromising of the organization’s mission, the employment will be terminated. Clearly and understandably, the Tigers want to support Cabrera. You spuriously posit that they are enabling alcoholism by allowing him to pursue his career within the context of his treatment program and legal consequences.

    I don’t think you have Cabrera’s best interests at heart, certainly not more than the Tigers do. If you did, why would you want him to be more open, more public, more confessional about his personal problems and disease. Would that improve his prospects for recovery, or would it intensify the psychological pressures he is under? I understand journalistic bias in favor of disclosure, but this piece overall is ill-founded, ill-mannered, ill-intentioned, snarky in the extreme, and (I would have thought) beneath you.”

    1. Fun fact, Passan’s “award” in “award-winning reporter” was to take home 5th place under the APSE’s “Game Stories” category. So, for stating the obvious, basically…and not all that well.

  6. While I don’t think the Tigers have “responsibility” to do much more than they have in our new, holier than thou sports environment, I do think they completely mishandled the 2009 situation by letting him play the next day.
    The timing and result of that event – still undisclosed for the most part (who was he with? how did he drive or get home? etc.) – was every bit as bad as Barret Robbins, Stanley Wilson or Eugene Robinson, yet most Tiger fans have rather forgiven him for it…at least until this latest incident.
    If he couldn’t be trusted with the season on the line back then…when can he be?

    1. I’m fairly certain that this stuff goes on way more than we know about. I have no problems with Cabrera cavorting with the enemy. I’d prefer that he wish nothing but professional ill-will on them, all the time. But so long as he hits .320/35/110 every year, I don’t care if he’s best friends with Scrooge McDuck, Mr. Grinch, and Hosni Mubarak.

  7. Passan is a dunce. I have already written him and told him that his condescending writing style gets old very quick. I remember many articles by him about Barry Bonds and steroids. He is always so accusing, and acts like these mistakes athletes make are the worst thing to happen to our society.

    Common people go through the same struggles and never receive the amount of ridicule that athletes do. My personal belief is that you don’t kick people when they are down. Miggy is a 27/28 year old young adult fighting a personal battle. No one is perfect.

    Get over it Passan. People could give two deuces about what you think.

  8. @Andre- ‘First of all, its not so much rationalizing as it is withholding judgment until all the details are made public.’

    These are the details that have already been made public: he got drunk three times the legal limit, got in an altercation with his wife, and the cops were called the night before 09’s biggest game. In ’11, he was spotted in his car, refused to get out for a cop, swigged from a bottle, and had to be forced into a squad car.

    Look, I’m not say he shouldn’t play again, that’s idiotic. But these two incident aren’t two cases of a dude have one too many beers with the buddies, these are ultra serious situation where the police had to be called twice. No, I’m not an expert, but man, the idea he’s going to be playing in spring training games and will start Opening Day is just crazy. It’s just enabling like putting a rock star on a concert tour struck out on drugs just so the promoter can make money. If you have two serious, potentially dangerous incidents and you don’t miss one game, one day of meaningful work, the message you get is my actions doesn’t really have consequences.
    You want Cabrera to keep hitting for the Tigers for the next five years? Well, giving him the mildest rebuke and ‘in work’ treatment doesn’t work toward that goal.

    1. Like I said before, we the public don’t know what’s being said to him behind closed doors by the MLB, the Tigers, his family, or his doctors. There will be legal consequences, there will be financial consequences (endorsements, future contracts…), along with media, and teammate/family trust consequences. I don’t think this will end up being the slap on the wrist you think it is. I’m not trying to turn him into a victim here, what he did was wrong, but I think you were a little short-sighted on that point.

      The public details surround two incidents, spaced over a year apart. A period which, by all accounts he was sober. I would think that there’s a difference between a guy who goes overboard when he drinks, and a guy who needs to drink all the time. I don’t know which of these (or both, or other) Cabrera is, or what the right approach is for these respective issues, but I’m very happy to wait for doctors to tell us that. Also, how strong a message would something like suspending Cabrera have on him? I mean, this is a guy who you remind us got wasted before “the most important game of the season” (hilarious over-statement by the way, winning anyone of the games they lost that season would have put them in the playoffs). Clearly the team doesn’t mean that much to him…or maybe his problems are that much bigger? Find out what’s wrong with him, help him fix it, be there for him when he stumbles.

      1. Hilarious over-statement?? Your best player blows .26 bac before a series that could clinch a playoff spot? Surely you’re joking. Pro athletes are not heroes or saints, but that action was one of the great ‘f-ck you’ to a fan base in a long time. Seriously, there’s pretty much no way that can be over-stated. In most cities, that alone would be an unforgivable act.

        1. I’m not joking, and don’t call me Shirley 🙂

          Its an overstatement because any one of the 77 games the Tigers lost that year could have clinched a playoff spot, had they won. In 2009, Cabrera lead the Tigers in basically every conceivable offensive metric. It would make more sense to blame just about anyone else on the team for them not making the playoffs that year than to blame Cabrera’s performance in that series (one might point to the leadoff batter getting on base twice in three games, for example).

          I think its pretty clear that we’re not gonna agree on this though. For me its much easier to wait and see what real experts have to say about his condition and then make comments about what should or shouldn’t be his punishment. But hey, don’t let that stop you.

          1. They’re are errors of omission, Inge sucking the last half of 09, but they don’t compare to someone willfully going out and getting beyond plastered the night before the season’s most crucial series. You’re right if you’re going to rationalize away that act, we’re not going to agree on this.

            And oh yeah, we have already waited to see after the first arrest.

            And the experts? Everyone one I know in the area of alcohol abuse–professionals, reovering alcoholics–would say if you get arrested twice in 18 months after being beyond drunk you probably shouldn’t drink again. Ever.

            Do you really think some expert is going to weigh in and say, ‘Hey, two isolated incidents. He just needs to get a designated driver and moderate things.’ No one with a medical degree or anyone who has spent any time with alcohol abusers is going to say that.

            1. “someone willfully going out and getting beyond plastered”

              Do you know that was his intent? I know that sounds a little silly, but I can think of plenty of times where “lets go out for A beer” turned into many more than planned. Doesn’t excuse the initial decision to drink at all, but I think you’ll find it difficult to show that Cabrera’s intent that night was to sabotage the ’09 season.

              “You’re right if you’re going to rationalize away that act”

              Again, not rationalizing away his acts, just trying to show that the media response seems premature and harsh (I’ll be all for soap-boxing once the docs come out and say something). You characterized the Chicago series as the most important games of 2009. My argument was that the only reason that series mattered in the first place was games lost earlier in the year…and that given the year Cabrera had, losses weren’t generally something you could pin on him. They lost the first game of that series 8-0, posting 3 hits and 2 walks. 8 other guys in that lineup and a starting pitcher who gave up 8 runs in 5in, never heard any mention of them costing the Tigers a trip to the post.

              “Do you really think some expert is going to weigh in and say…”

              That’s the $64k question isn’t it: What are the experts going to say about him. You’ll forgive me if I take your word for what the people you know would say with an internet-grain-of-salt.

              For all I know, Cabrera’s an alcoholic who needs to take time off baseball and enroll in rehab. Or he could be a “problem drinker”, a great guy that doesn’t drink ofter, but when he does tends to get out of hand. He’s got a problem, but until you know exactly what it is, it’s not useful to speculate on what he needs. Words like “alcoholic” have a meaning to them, and until doctors are labeling Cabrera with it, I’m uncomfortable with the media and fans doing so.

        2. Why, obsess? Setting yourself up for the heartbreak, I guess. Like we know The Skipper will lead the team down the drain by the start of Sept.

  9. And boy to I miss the ‘edit’ comments feature on the blog to fix my multiple typos. Sorry about that.

  10. Cabrera is a true talent and a superstar, but he does have a problem which needs to be dealt with. His actions have been unacceptable and if it keeps up then it may result in a waste of talent.

  11. For the record, Passan is a fairly even handed writer when it comes to reporting on the Tigers. i recall a fairly glowing piece he wrote on Verlander a few years back… but with that said, his piece on Cabrera seemed to cross over into the ‘Dear Abby’ realm… either that or he copped the typical authority-on-everything position that most sports ‘commentators’ do. Opinionated sensationalism and vulture reporting is the norm – so i guess Passan was just doing his job.

    I’m fairly confident the Tigers are taking this matter MORE than serious; they’ve made a significant investment in Mr. Cabrera – and expect a significant ROI.

  12. What I find interesting is that the Freep’s Michael Rosenberg clearly has found his new boogeyman now that Rich Rodriguez is gone. The difference being, I don’t think Cabrera is going to faceplant on the field the way Rodriguez did (I’m speaking figuratively of course).

    1. Not on the field he hasn’t.

      And that’s why the Tigers face a dilemma. They could try to force him to dry out for an extended period. Or they could cut him loose, and watch as he goes somewhere else and the Tigers lose the core of their franchise. Or they can play it by ear, take it one step at a time, and see what happens — and that’s what they’re doing. People like Rosenberg can get all pious, but the reality is that this is a business and you don’t set aside assets just so you can pat yourself on the back.

      Bill James had a great essay in the mid-80’s when the Padres decided they were only going to get character players, how some angel appeared and allowed them to bring back any player in baseball history. Name after name was brought up, each one rejected for moral reasons (Ty Cobb for obvious reasons, Babe Ruth, same thing, Grover Cleveland Alexander – drunk, Willie Mays – once skipped church). The fictional Pads finally settled on Danny Thompson.

    2. Off the booze, a teddy bear. On the booze, turns into a pitbull. He needs a babysitter/nanny 24/7. Hamilton has one and that person is totally dedicated to his well-being. At this point, he just can’t be trusted and needs the supervision, imo.

  13. Well I think it is kinda crazy what pro athletes can get away with but I am fine with the way its been handled. Mcab is one of the top 5 hitters in the game and with the improvement of the rest of the team around him and the pitching its no wonder they want a full season from him. I would love to see him beat this and continue a fine career.

  14. “busted for resisting arrest”……….. If I was busted for resisting arrest I’d probably resist too. That’s a chicken before the egg type thing.

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