Should Cabrera play?

The Detroit News has obtained a copy of the 911 call from the wife of Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera, who allegedly beat up his wife after Saturday’s game against the Chicago White Sox.

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The newspaper says Cabrera was out partying Friday with his on-field opponents.

The Tigers, of course, will play the Twins on Tuesday in Minneapolis for the right to go to the playoffs. Should Cabrera play?

This blogger, a Tigers fan, thinks so:

“I don’t know what benching him accomplishes. It sends a message to the multimillion-dollar man that this sort of behavior is intolerable. But it penalizes every other person in the organization, and it penalizes every fan who ever plunked down a dollar to watch this team play. If you’re a Tigers fan, I ask you this: How does benching Miguel Cabrera for a must-win game make your life any better? I know that’s not necessarily what it’s about. And I know that personal and family responsibility is far more important than a baseball game. But at the same time, there is the whole innocent-until-proved-guilty thing here. And at this moment, we don’t know exactly what went on in the Cabrera home. And we might never.”

That point is echoed by Sports Illustrated columnist Ted Keith, who says benching him would be unfair to the other players:

Despite all the justifiable outrage that is coming Cabrera’s way, there isn’t much anyone can do at this point. The Tigers can’t suspend him because his bat is too important to their chances of winning on Tuesday night and finally securing the AL Central title, and as unfair as Cabrera’s actions may have been to his teammates, it would be almost as unfair to deprive the rest of the club from having their most dangerous offensive player in the middle of their lineup for such a critical game.

If Cabrera plays — and he probably will — it should be an “interesting” reception waiting for him at the Metrodome.

  • kennedy

    This is the same as the “too-big-to-fail” argument that justified bailing out banks.

    Just because an individual or institution’s fate affects others is no reason to give a pass on accountability. It is especially irrelevant in this case as it regards entertainment, except in Las Vegas where money may be at stake.

    As far as the legal matters go, “innocent until proven guilty” does give the league and the team a plausible reason to wait before penalizing. However, there is also a “behavior detrimental to the league” clause that would justify suspension.

    Other professional sports leagues have been trying to clean up their public image. Here is a chance for baseball to show how serious they are or aren’t.

  • Minn Whaler

    Back in school it was the habit of some teachers to punish the whole class if one member of the class did something wrong. But the Tigers get to play, just the guy who did something wrong is in question. And if he was suspected of murdering is wife, would he be playing? Sorry Tigers, I understand the argument, but it doesn’t hold much water with me.

  • Elizabeth T

    regardless of how/why … if he plays, nothing says anyone needs to be nice to him. (In no way am I suggesting he be treated differently as far as actually playing in the game)

    Give him the cold shoulder.

    Refuse to shake his hand at the end of the game.

    Refuse to speak to him.

    Don’t ask for his autograph.

    Catch his home run ball? Throw it back to the field.

    There are plenty of ways to express one’s disapproval.

    “innocent until proven guilty” as an excuse? I would buy it if we, as a society, applied this consistently.

  • Sam

    Just for the record, Cabrera has been atrocious at the plate during this entire last week of games (.192/.300/.308, according to ESPN.) This is the bat the Tigers can’t afford to do without?

    I grew up a Phillies fan, and was completely disgusted when the team took no action against pitcher Brett Myers after he punched his wife outside a Boston nightclub. I’ve never stopped rooting for my favorite team to lose whenever Myers is on the mound (even during last year’s World Series,) and I’ll bet a lot of Tigers fans now feel the same about Cabrera.

  • Frank C.

    I like sports as an entertainment, and obviously participating in sports provides myriad rewards in terms of fitness, life lessons, etc. That has been written about elsewhere ad infinitum. But…

    The Detroit Free Press blogger asks the question:

    “How does benching Miguel Cabrera for a must-win game make your life any better?”

    I’m afraid this assertion is untenable. Why? Because ask a different question: If the Tigers win the World Series, will that make your life better? Sorry to say, but if you’re a fan, whether your team win, lose or draw, you’ll still have to go back to the office, factory, classroom, coal mine, etc, next day, none the better for it.

    If your team end up winning it all, you’ll just be exposed to that many more advertising messages and then go and fork out for championship memorabilia: hats, t-shirts, posters, banners, etc.

    Wait a minute … your team not winning the championship will actually save you money. That might indeed make your life better.

    I hereby retract my original argument. And if you’re a fan, I hope your team lose, thereby enabling you to enjoy your savings!

  • P Whittie

    Those arguments for having him play are silly. Maybe because I don’t like sports terribly much, but when a player acts reprehensibly it shouldn’t matter if it’s the beginning, middle, or end of the season. If they did something wrong, they need to take responsibility. If that means they lose a really important game and fans are sad then that’s the way it is.

  • Joanna

    “How does benching Miguel Cabrera for a must-win game make your life any better? I”

    It would make my life better to see, for once, that violence against women was considered more important that a game.