Miguel Cabrera says no to booze.

photo by Samara Pearlstein

Oh, Miguel. Sigh.

Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera this morning revealed that he has spent three months undergoing alcohol abuse treatment with a doctor in Miami.

“When you’ve got problems,” said Cabrera, “you can’t hide.”

Cabrera said he has not had a drink since beginning counseling, which will continue with the same doctor during spring training and the regular season.
Steve Kornacki, MLive.com

I suppose this goes some way towards explaining his little, ahem, incident at the end of last season. Everyone knows that ballplayers go out and party and drink and whatnot; all we usually ask is

a) if they are underage, they at least do it where nobody has a chance of seeing it later (including photos that may later end up on Facebook/Twitter; young players take note),
b) if they are already injured or on medication, they don’t do anything to mess that up (that includes your injured-arm-keg-stands, Joel Zumaya),
c) they don’t get so trashed, or trashed at such times, that it will affect them on the field the next day (exception: David Wells),
d) they don’t do anything, while partying/drunk, to get themselves or others injured,
e) and they don’t do anything, while partying/drunk, to land them on the wrong side of the law.

Since this is the same stuff you’d ask of basically EVERY PERSON ON THE PLANET, one would not expect it to be too strenuous for even a ballplayer. Cabrera’s Incident, however, violated C, D, and E, which took it out of the realm of Ballplayers Will Be Stupid Immature Manchildren Ballplayers, and into the realm of Srs Bzns Problems.

Obviously it’s a good thing that he (or the team) recognized that he had a problem, and that he’s getting help for it. Obviously it’s not going to be easy for him to stick with a Zero Drinks Policy if he’s going to keep hanging around with baseball players, which he presumably will. Here’s hoping the rest of the team will be supportive of him throughout the season, and I don’t just mean the front office (since it’s not like the issue will be casual peer pressure drinking when he heads out to the bar with Dave Dombrowski and Mr. Ilitch and Avila Sr) (or would it).

Remember, kids and kittens: one or two drinks with friends = fun! Any drinks at all with Wrong Sox players = trouble.

18 responses to “Miguel Cabrera says no to booze.

  1. I’m glad Miguel is getting help for his alcoholism, and is staying away from liquor. Athletes should watch their backs, because you never know who might post that incriminating picture on the internet (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc)

  2. I hope they’re supportive too.

  3. Lauren, well, in Cabrera’s case the problem is not that he was indiscreet around cameras, it’s that he had no control of himself w/r/t alcohol and as a result got into a domestic dispute, got pulled in by the cops, and still had an elevated BAC the next morning, on a day when he had to play. Sort of a different level of problem from the kid who lets a stupid photo of himself get posted on Facebook. :/

    ivan, seriously. ‘Cause if they just keep going out to bars with him and getting sloppy all around him, it’s going to be INCREDIBLY hard for him to deal with this.

  4. When I quit drinking (almost 18 years now), my drinking buddies were very supportive. They knew better than anyone that I had a drinking problem. I imagine that the other Tigers will be the same. Especially after the way it affected last year.

  5. While I’m glad he’s getting some attention for his issues, I’m a little reluctant to label him as an “alcoholic” just yet. As you stated, Sam, he thrives in an environment that likely promotes drinking and such, and he’s still fairly young.

    Of course, the incident that got him in trouble involved his wife, and there has been no mention of whether HER drinking was also involved. Perhaps he spouse is an enabler? There are, of course, three sides to every story.

    I hope this wake-up call shakes some sense into him, and he carries on his fantastic (thus far) career for many more years to come. Is he at the Josh Hamilton stage yet? Not yet. But if he carries on like he has, I suspect thing may get uglier.

    So now with Laird’s drunken escapades, Zumaya’s keg stands and this, have we become the AL alkies? I hope not.

    I guess it’s better than the coke-fiend Yankees of the 80’s.

    The post was written with a beer in my left hand.

  6. Funny you should mention David Wells, because he violated C, D, and E with some regularity (ameliorating that is the fact that he was only expected to perform every 5th day).

    Still, if Miguel’s 2009 was done under the influence for most of the year, I’m thinking we might want to be careful what we wish for. Recall Lloyd Waner, who had batted over .300 (often *well* over .300) for 6 consecutive years, all while being a raging alcoholic. He then proceeded to get himself clean, and batted .276 and .283 in 1933-34. Somewhere along the way, he hit the bottle again, and he hit over .300 for another 4 consecutive seasons before plain old age caught up to him. So ya never know.

  7. ivantopumpyouup

    h2opolopunk, it seems like Cabrera and Dombrowski both labeled it alcoholism.

  8. Alcoholism? Well, anybody who get get themselves to .26 except as a result of a scientific experiment is almost certainly an alcoholic. That’s just an incredible amount of alcohol, just a little bit short of a potentially fatal quantity.

  9. “e) and they don’t do anything, while partying/drunk, to land them on the wrong side of the law.”


    Anyway, reading the Freep article about Cabrera this morning really made me feel that all’s right in the world… I mean, a sober, happy Miguel Cabrera has some potential for a great season, you know? But then I turned inside and read about Verlander’s contract, Laird’s legal problems, and Inge’s bionic knees missing the first half of spring training, and some of my optimism faded.

  10. Not to start wank or anything, but I do wonder how they determine alcoholism with young athletes, many of whom seem to be habitual heavy drinkers? Not doubting it with Miguel, it clearly was a problem in his life, but I wonder how many other ballplayers could easily be diagnosed as alcoholics too. :/

  11. I hear you, ivan, but the term “alcoholic” is pretty subjective considering there is no true clinical benchmark to measure it with. Plus, we know how the media loves to blow personality flaws out of proportion.

  12. ivantopumpyouup

    If Cabrera says he’s an alcoholic, I don’t really see how it’s just the media blowing a “flaw” of his out of proportion?

  13. I’m sure that the rehab program he’s in requires that he “admit” to his alcoholism. I believe it’s Step 1 of the 12 Steps. Nonetheless, it’s not really for us to discuss IMO. He obviously has some issues and I hope he resolves them quickly and goes on to have a happy and successful career/life.

  14. It’s probably with him a matter of how and why he used alcohol. If he found himself drinking to forget his problems and hide from the stress he felt, and once he started drinking he was incapable of stopping with just a few but could not help drinking until he was wasted, then it’s a good enough definition. Some people who normally keep their drinking under control sometimes overindulge, but if it happens all the time that is different.

    Regardless, it will be a continual effort for him to continue saying no to booze, and I wish him luck.

  15. Alcoholism is when a person doesn’t control their drinking, but the drinking controls them. It is very subjective. In my case, it was when I found myself getting drunk almost every time I drank. Someone who would have two beers every night and stops probably isn’t, but another person who gets wasted at every wedding but never touches a drop between probably is.

  16. David O. (13194013)

    I just hope Miguel can get himself under control and has a great 2010.

  17. When I did training for working on a crisis line in college, the definition we were told to use in speaking with callers was “If alcohol (or anything else) is causing you personal problems and you continue to use, you have a problem.” I’d say Miggy’s situation fit that definition both as a baseball player and (more importantly) a father/husband.

  18. Miggy denies being an alcoholic (well, we have to take ESPN’s word for it):


    Good that he’s not drinking anymore.

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