Miguel Cabrera arrested, everything is terrible.


photo by Samara Pearlstein

We haven’t even had the first full-team workout yet this spring, and things have already gotten depressing.

Miguel Cabrera was arrested Wednesday night for driving under the influence and resisting arrest without violence. There does not seem to be a whole lot of ambiguity about what happened.

Cabrera, 27, was spotted by a deputy in a car with a smoking engine alongside a road in Fort Pierce [FL]. Inside the vehicle, Cabrera smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and took a swig from a bottle of scotch in front of a deputy, according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office. He refused to cooperate and more deputies were called to the scene.

According to the police report, Cabrera was wandering into the road with his hands up before he was handcuffed. The report quoted him as saying, “Do you know who I am? You don’t know anything about my problems,” and cursed at deputies who tried to get him into a patrol car.

One deputy struck Cabrera in the left thigh several times with his knee after Cabrera pushed into him, causing the ballplayer to fall into the patrol car. Cabrera refused to take a breath test, deputies said.
ESPN/AP report

He was drinking scotch out of the bottle, while sitting in his car, in front of police officers. It’s pretty tough to argue with that. That is not the action of a person who is thinking clearly or, you know, soberly. That’s not even the action of someone who is slightly tipsy. You have to be pretty catdamn trashed– or INCREDIBLY stupid– to openly drink in front of a cop who has just approached you with the suspicion that you have been operating a vehicle while drunk.

The resisting arrest stuff– which apparently involved Miggy staggering around in the street, muttering obscenities and “do you know who I am” stuff, refusing to get into police cars, etc– seems pretty clearly to have happened because he was drunk as hell, not because he’s some kind of thug or whatever (note the verbally aggressive but otherwise more or less nonviolent resistance, the fact that he was unarmed [thank Paws], etc). So there’s your teeny tiny silver lining. This all appears to be part and parcel of one issue (the drinking), not an excitingly varied host of behavioral and attitudinal problems.

You want more? Fine.

When a deputy made contact with the five-time All-Star and former Florida Marlin before 11 p.m. in the 30000 block of Okeechobee Road, which is west of I-95 near the Okeechobee County line, the deputy asked Miguel Cabrera who was with him.

“I am going to (expletive) kill him,” Miguel Cabrera is quoted as saying.

The deputy saw no one else in the 2005 Land Rover or in the area. Cabrera, of Boca Raton, grabbed a bottle of James Buchanan’s scotch and started drinking.
Will Greenlee/TC Palm

Drunk to the point of belligerent incoherence. Splendid. Unless there was someone else with him who had left the scene before the police got there, in which case this story becomes more bizarre.

Miguel Cabrera, whose eyes were bloodshot and watery and speech “heavily slurred,” was handcuffed and walked toward a patrol vehicle before being told to get in the vehicle.

“Do you know who I am? You don’t know anything about my problems,” Miguel Cabrera is quoted as saying.

A deputy reported Cabrera was put in handcuffs after not following orders. Cabrera also “kept running out in the road with his hands up.”

A deputy asked Cabrera to get in a patrol vehicle, and he said, “(Expletive) you.”

Miguel Cabrera pushed off a vehicle into a deputy, who “delivered 3-4 knee spikes” into Cabrera’s left thigh.

A DUI case report lists Miguel Cabrera’s attitude as belligerent, cocky, combative and argumentative. His vehicle was towed.
Will Greenlee/TC Palm

Fort Piece is over 100 miles away from Lakeland (Fort Pierce is on the east coast, Lakeland is in the middle of the state), and somewhere between 75 and 90 miles north of Boca Raton (where Miggy apparently has a residence). It’s not clear why he was there. Rick Ankiel is from that area, for your random fact of the post.

The Tigers have not said anything about this as of yet (3pm-ish on Thursday). Tom Gage has reported that the media were all kicked out of the clubhouse this morning, and there’s a short line in the Mothership article saying that Leyland had a closed-door meeting with the team before workouts today. Somehow various media folks managed to talk to Carlos Guillen, who expressed shock and concern. You can find those quotes on your own if you want. They are pretty much what you would expect.

I thought we were past this; obviously the team thought we were past this, and if Carlos’ shocked statements (and Alex Avila’s, again from the Mothership article) are anything to go by, even Tigers who are fairly close to Miggy thought we were past this.

Alcoholism isn’t the kind of thing that goes away quickly or easily, but it seemed clear that the Tigers were willing to give Miggy as much of a support system as he needed, and it seemed like he had a better chance of managing this thing than people without so many readily available resources might have. I don’t know. Everything sucks. First ‘unmitigated disaster’ tag usage of the season.

ETA: Jason Beck twitter-termined that Miggy was working out in Miami yesterday afternoon. Fort Pierce/the Port St. Lucie area is between Miami and Lakeland, but according to the police report Miggy was west of 95, almost at the Okeechobee line, which is decidedly out of the way. Of course a drunk person is not necessarily going to be making the best directional decisions, especially once his engine starts overheating, but in any event, it’s still not really clear what Miggy was doing in that area, aside from drinking in his car.

ETA2: Dave Dombrowski spoke to the media.

Dombrowski did admit, however, that with Cabrera, the Tigers “have an issue here that needs to be addressed and helped — and we’re going to help him. We fully support him in trying to get help. But it also can be tough help sometimes.”

“I was completely shocked. I had no idea,” Dombrowski said. “He’s been working out hard, so I don’t really know what happened. But I know when you deal with issues of alcohol, it’s a constant battle for the rest of their lives.”
Tom Gage/Detroit News

Well, it’s not like the organization was going to throw him under the bus. Of course they’re going to do what they can to help him. I wonder about the “tough help” bit, though… does that mean “in these cases, it can be tough to help”, or “this may be a situation that requires some tough love”?

If you would like a reason to smile in the midst of all this codtrompery, click through to the article and check out the shirt that Mr. D was wearing.

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24 responses to “Miguel Cabrera arrested, everything is terrible.

  1. I KNOW! Full disaster and it’s not even March. I have literally been waiting all morning for you to update about this situation. I needed my RotT spin on Miggy.

  2. Well, I stood up for Miggy’s drinking in a comments forum here back after the first incident. I am here to say that I was wrong. This guy is without a doubt an alcoholic, and needs to get some help ASAP.

    This is not the way I wanted Spring Training to start. I almost vomited today when I saw the headline.

  3. Well, in fact, it could have been a lot worse–nobody got hurt. Someone struggling with alcohol and/or depression like Cabrera is bound to suffer a relapse or two–Josh Hamilton sure did. I doubt he’s in serious legal trouble–apart from the fact that the case has several red flags for a criminal defense attorney, people convicted of a first ouil have to pay a bunch of money and get their driving privileges restricted but don’t go to jail

    • OK, nobody got hurt. The section of Okeechobee Rd where he was found is basically the middle of nowhere– one lane in either direction, surrounded by nothing but vegetation– and I would assume is not highly trafficked, especially at 11pm.

      I agree that he probably won’t serve time for it, but it’s still disturbing. If they had found him wandering around outside the Lakeland complex drunk, that’s one thing. But he was driving*… possibly driving from Miami to Lakeland, which is like a 4.5 hour drive even without whatever wacky detour he was on, and involves some major highways. That’s not something you shrug off as a simple relapse. That’s deeply worrying. What if it happens again, and this time things don’t work out so luckily?

      (*Unless the bit about him saying, “I’ll kill him,” when asked who he was with, means there was someone else in the car who somehow left before the cops got there. It seems unlikely, though… like I said, that road is nothing but plants for miles. It doesn’t even appear to have freakin streetlights.)

      • Not to get all criminal defense attorney on you, but he was found drinking in a broke-down vehicle. Not sure how they prove he was drinking and driving.

        • It’s not like he was sitting at the curb in a bustling downtown area… he was found pulled over in the middle of nowhere, in a car belonging to him…. he sure didn’t walk there, you know? He either drove, or there was someone else who drove him there and then abandoned him in the middle of nowhere. Which is, I suppose, a possibility, albeit a weird one.

          In any event, I’m pretty sure you can get a DUI for being drunk and in the driver’s seat of a vehicle with the keys in the ignition.

          • In any event, I’m pretty sure you can get a DUI for being drunk and in the driver’s seat of a vehicle with the keys in the ignition.

            Well, heaven only knows what the rule is in Florida. In Michigan, however, you have to be “operating” the vehicle, not just sitting in it. What qualifies as “operating” can be complicated. By coincidence, somebody (not Cabrera) just hired me to brief this issue today, so we shall see . . .

            • In MA it’s just key in the ignition; you don’t have to be driving the car for it count as operation. I think in Florida it’s the same, or even stricter– like, if the key is within sneezing distance, you’re potentially in control of the car, so DUIs for everyone! I guess if you’re drunk and want to sleep it off in your car, you should bury your keys 6 feet below and exhume them in the morning or something.

        • Actually, thinking about it… the best best BEST case scenario would be, Miggy was driving along, totally sober, and the car broke down. He called for a tow or for someone to pick him up, and was sitting there waiting and decided to crack open the scotch when the cops came along.

          Of course the problems with this scenario are… well, where’s the hypothetical tow, or the friend coming to pick him up? Why has no one heard from them? And it still doesn’t explain why he was on that road, which is definitely not the most direct route from Miami to Lakeland (certainly not as far down as he was).

          But, short of the hypothetical sober buddy who runs off into the Florida swamp when the car breaks down, that is the only way I can spin this that does not involve Miggy driving drunk.

  4. Comments he made in ’10, during the winter caravan, and comments he made during the arrest make me wonder.

    I’m worried about Cabrera as a person, first and foremost, and I have to wonder whether or not his apparent alcoholism is a symptom for a larger underlying problem in his life that isn’t being or hasn’t yet been addressed.

    Okay I’ll stop playing armchair psychologist now.

    • Re: his comments, what do you mean?

      As rea pointed out, alcoholism and depression often do go hand-in-hand… ‘course alcoholism is a disease all on its own. I suppose the specific problems will inform the type of treatment he gets, but at this point it almost doesn’t even matter, right? Cause I think it’s pretty clear that whatever’s going on with him, it’s the sort of thing that requires treatment. It’s just so dispiriting because he seemed to be doing so well. Even people who were with him as recently as the afternoon of his arrest (his trainer and Magglio) were shocked because he seemed fine. :/

      • //Re: his comments, what do you mean?//

        Blah, the article is no longer available. But he claimed he wasn’t an alcoholic, and his comments made me think his alcohol abuse was more of a symptom of a problem than the actual problem. And the comment he made to the police in report regarding the latest incident, “you don’t know what my problems are,” or something of that nature, kind of reinforced that in my own mind.

        Didn’t see rea’s comment, but it seems possible. It’s clear he has problems that need addressing. Sounds like whatever recommendation MLB hands down, DD will probably go with it, so if MLB recommends in-patient treatment that’ll be interesting.

        Also, I saw a reference to Cabrera drinking in a broken-down vehicle elsewhere. Is this actually true or just a rumor floating out there? I haven’t read the police report.

        • When they found him, the car was on the side of the road with the engine compartment smoking. The people at the lot where it got towed thought the engine just overheated, and Miggy picked up the car the next morning in person (after proving that it was his) and paid the fee. It doesn’t say whether or not he drove it out of there but it doesn’t seem to be at the lot anymore, which would seem to indicate that it was drivable at least the next day. Don’t know that bit for sure though.

          But as I said above, the place where he was discovered is a stretch of road in the middle of nowhere. He (or some mystery person who then disappeared) would have had to drive out there; it’s not like he was just walking along and found some broken-down car and sat in it. Plus the car was his.

          • DUI laws have been very broadly interpreted and enforced to the point that you don’t have to actually be caught driving over the legal limit (or even be near an operating vehicle) to be convicted of DUI.

            Then again, he is a rich sports star and it is America, so the charges may just go away anyhow.

            • ivantopumpyouup

              //Then again, he is a rich sports star and it is America, so the charges may just go away anyhow.//

              Or they might decide to make an example of him.

  5. Between Miggy’s bad behavior and Gov. Synder’s budget, this has been a pretty sucky day for Michiganders.

  6. It gets crazier and crazier: Brandon actually sounds like a mature, responsible, adultin this article.

  7. I finally posted some thoughts on Cabrera’s DUI, if you’re interested. :P

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