They call it a language “barrier” for a reason. It seems very easy for words and thoughts to be twisted, misconstrued or even misrepresented when passed through the many channels and filters required to turn one set of words into another.
Last night in Toronto, Melky Cabrera faced his former team for the first time since he was suspended 50 games for failing a drug test. Melky’s departure from San Francisco was an odd one, as he simply vanished from the clubhouse, failing to wish his teammates good luck or bid them fair well. Nothing, Melky was gone, told by someone that he was to leave immediately after his suspension was announced.
The Giants did quite well without Melky’s contributions, winning the 2012 World Series with Melky watching from home. He was not added to their post-season roster when he became available after the Division series, the Giants preferring to stick with the postseason group they had.
Last night was Melky’s chance to receive his World Series ring from the Giants, a thank you for his contributions during the first 110 games of the season. After some discussion between PR camps, it was decided — at Melky’s behest — to perform the ceremony quietly and away from the public eye.
Thus began an odd night of he said, she said.
Melky Cabrera received his ring from manager Bruce Bochy under the Rogers Centre seats, in a room between the home and visiting club. It was short but sweet, as Melky happily received the box and retreated to his home clubhouse. Though he didn’t open the box in the room with his former manager, his teammates were tweeting pictures of the ring were moments later.
Bochy spoke post-game about what a good teammate Melky was, how he played the game right and made a mistake. The standard stuff. Melky met with reporters a few minutes later, assisted by Blue Jays third base coach and translator Luis Rivera.
Rivera and Cabrera field questions about his health and his ring ceremony, where Melky and Rivera flipped the script a little, claiming it was Bochy who requested the ceremony take place behind closed doors. Which caused much consternation in Giants beat writer Hank Schulman.
How dare Melky throw Bruce Bochy in front of the bus like this? How could he lie?! To us! Was the general tone of his column update last night.
For me, isolating Cabrera from Rivera is impossible in this situation. The translator is Melky’s current coach and teammate, a man acting in Cabrera’s best interests, who could well seek protection for his embattled player. Cabrera was clearly uncomfortable with the situation, as well he should be. He screwed up, screwed his teammates and then claimed he was told to leave the team immediately.
After Schulman questioned Cabrera’s insistence that “someone” asked him to leave, it became more of a conversation between Rivera and Schulman than Cabrera and a guy working a beat. Rivera re-stated someone told Melky to leave as Melky silently watched on. Just as his bogus claims of a fake medical company, any scrubbing of history by Melky Cabrera in an attempt to right a wrong, rather than just owning what he did.
The sordid affair got too much play last night and continues to get too much attention right here and right now. The real story was Melky’s play on the field, banging out four hits against his former team. As an added bonus, he received a small clutch of his old bats left behind in SF after he left the team.
Melky limped around on his strained hamstrings, killing his former team. This is the story, not the broken telephone game of who decided what and who passed what ring to whom in what room. The Giants phase of Melky’s career is now over. The Giants players don’t seem to have any ill feelings, they won the World Series last year. Onwards and upwards, ya know?
And the rest
Speaking of drug cheats, interesting stuff on the growing (vocal) resementment among current players towards drug users. [San Diego Union Transfer]
When a man becomes a walking, talking pay check. [Sports on Earth]
This was Mariano Rivera’s reaction:
I spent the first 30-or so years of my life as a 13-year old boy. I know what stifling a laugh looks like. It looks like the above.
The latest on the MLB’s International Bonus Pool [Baseball America]