Beyond Golf — 15 August 2012 by Jim Street
A new meaning for ‘Melky Way’

Just when you think Major League players have learned their lesson another moron shows up.

Take a bow, Melky Cabrera, and so much for your All-Star Most Valuable Player and potential National League MVP kind of season.

It turns out that there’s a good reason that the Giants’ outfielder is having such a terrific season. Make that was having a terrific season.

The MLB world was rocked yet again on Wednesday when Cabrera – batting .346 with 11 home runs and 60 RBIs – received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Testosterone, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

The suspension is effective immediately, leaving the Giants in a bit of bind in the NL West pennant race and Giants fans scratching their collective heads. Barry Bonds went through this enhancement issue for many years, leaving the game disgraced and without a place to play.

And now there is Cabrera.

“My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used. … I am deeply sorry for my mistake,” Cabrera said in a release from MLB.

Sorry? That doesn’t cut it anymore.

Every player in professional baseball is well aware of the rules. DON’T USE PEDs!!!

If you do and get caught, you pay a penalty and I agree with Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, who says 50 games is not enough punishment. He suggests a one-year ban for a first offense and lifetime ban for a second one.

That might not clean up the problem — there could be more morons out there — but it’s a step in the right direction. Let Cabrera go back to the Dominican and make a living, doing whatever that might be. He will lose roughly 25 percent of his $6 million salary.

I hope he misses the money he loses.

Cabrera has the second-best batting average in the NL, behind the Pirates’ Andrew McCutcheon, batting .359. The Giants (64-53), who are tied for the NL West lead with the Dodgers, have 45 games remaining in the regular season.

The suspension will carry over into the playoffs if the Giants advance to the postseason. If not, he will be suspended for the first five games of the 2013 season.

The just-turned 28-year-old (August 11) had been one of the feel-good stories of the 2012 season. As of Tuesday, he had the most hits (159) in the NL and scored the most runs (84).  He was well on his way to a second consecutive 200-hit season (he had 201 hits last season with the Royals) and a definite MVP candidate, possibly behind only McCutcheon.

And now, apparently, his season is finished, caput.

“We were extremely disappointed to learn of the suspension of Melky Cabrera for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention (and) Treatment Program,” the Giants said shortly before Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Nationals in San Francisco. “We fully support Major League Baseball’s policy and its efforts to eliminate performance enhancing drugs from our game. Per the protocol outline by Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, the Giants will not comment further on this matter.”

It is one thing to lose a player to injury – such as the season-ending shattered ankle catcher Buster Posey had last season. It was such a blow to the defending World Series champions that they never reached the playoffs. But to lose a player because of stupidity is something else.

I would like to be a fly on the wall inside the Giants’ clubhouse when Cabrera tries to explain to his teammates why on earth he did such a stupid thing in the first place. I wonder if he’s “sorry” he juiced his body with Testosterone, or is he more “sorry” that he got caught.

He should have stuck to milk.

Cabrera became a marketing hit this year with nicknames like “Got Melk?” “The Melk Man”, and “Melky Way.”

The Melky Way was huge in May, when he batted .429, had at least one hit in 25 of the Giants’ 29 games and tied Randy Winn for the most hits in a month since the Giants moved to San Francisco from New York in 1958.

But the “Melky Way” has a total different meaning now.

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Jim Street

Jim’s 40-year sportswriting career started with the San Jose Mercury-News in 1970 and ended on a full-time basis on October 31, 2010 following a 10-year stint with MLB.com. He grew up in Dorris, Calif., several long drives from the nearest golf course. His first tee shot was a week before being inducted into the Army in 1968. Upon his return from Vietnam, where he was a war correspondent for the 9th Infantry Division, Jim took up golf semi-seriously while working for the Mercury-News and covered numerous tournaments, including the U.S. Open in 1982, when Tom Watson made the shot of his life on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. Jim also covered several Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournaments, the women’s U.S. Open, and other golfing events in the San Francisco area. He has a 17-handicap, never had a hole-in-one, although once he came within two inches of an ace, and witnessed the first round Ken Griffey Jr. ever played – at Arizona State during Spring Training in 1990. Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Kapalua Plantation Course, Pinehurst No. 2, Spyglass Hill, Winged Foot, Torrey Pines, Medinah, Chambers Bay, North Berwick in Scotland, and Princeville are among the courses he has had the pleasure of playing. Hitting the ball down the middle of the fairway is not a strong part of Jim’s game, but he is known (in his own mind) as the best putter not on tour. Most of Jim’s writing career was spent covering Major League baseball, a tenure that started with the Oakland Athletics, who won 101 games in 1971, and ended with the Seattle Mariners, who lost 101 games in 2010. Symmetry is a wonderful thing. He currently lives in Seattle and vacations in Arizona (and other warm climates) as much as possible.

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