Bench Cabrera

CabreraHead.jpgIt took three days for the truth to emerge about Miguel Cabrera’s utter lack of…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, I’ve come to a conclusion:

The Tigers must bench Miguel Cabrera for Tuesday’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 Twins’ 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 “statement” 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.

7 Comments

  1. As much as it would put a hole in the lineup I think it is the best thing for the future. I totally agree with this article. JL needs to get a handle on this team. It is just painful that this is all happening before the biggest game of the season.

  2. Intervention. Choice of rehab or out the door. No excuses. I have to wonder how many times this has happened and no one knew. Sad but it’s a life lesson. Otherwise someone is gonna get hurt much worse or even get killed. I hope for the best all around.

  3. Why the hell was he in the lineup Saturday night when he was, at best, hung over, and possibly still drunk? THAT’S when he should have been benched. But yeah, I agree, he shouldn’t be in there. I’ve mulled it over and thought about it. As much as I hate to see that lineup without him, he shouldn’t play.

  4. I think the window for benching has closed. Dombrowski knew what happened as of Saturday morning; nothing new has come out to management since then. Suspending him now just makes up for the mistake of not benching him Saturday… which I do think was a mistake.

    Even if the players call for Miguel’s head for a game, they should have done it on Sunday.

    To send a message to the players, you need to be swift. This makes it feel like it was only a reaction to fan outrage, or maybe a decision from the owner. If you wait three days when you’ve had the information all along, I’m not sure its really a ‘message’; it feels more like a response to criticism.

  5. I agree with John. Just like in parenting, punishment has to be swift to be meaningful.

    And what the hell were they thinking to play him Saturday anyway? In addition to his transgressions, he was hungover and hadn’t had any sleep. What good was he going to do, except by some lucky chance that Freddy Garcia would hang a curve ball?

    Then trade his ass at the end of the season. No question. To show who’s in charge of the team, and to show him some consequences for his actions.

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