Blog Entry

For Cabrera, it's another day at the park

Posted on: March 11, 2011 3:04 pm
 
JUPITER, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera showed up for work again on Friday, and he played as if nothing was wrong.

Tigers fans cheered Cabrera, treating him as if nothing was wrong.

"He's a ballplayer, and we look at him as a ballplayer," said Ellie Sevigny of Woodhaven, Mich. "We support him as a ballplayer wholeheartedly."

I'm not sure what I expected when I came here to watch Cabrera's first spring game since the latest ugly revelations about his Feb. 17 arrest on suspicion of drunk driving. I'm not sure what the reaction should have been.

And I'm not sure we should take a spring training crowd as representative of all fans.

That said, it was interesting that no one seemed to be booing or jeering the Tigers first baseman, in this game played just a few miles south of the road where he was arrested, and the bar where he reportedly threatened to "kill all of you and blow this place up."

It was also interesting that in his first game since those words became public knowledge, Cabrera hit his first home run of the spring. He went 2-for-3 with a walk for the day, his best game at the plate in a spring where he was hitting just .174 through his first eight games.

Cabrera spoke to a group of reporters Friday morning, but only under condition that the questions were all baseball-related. His comments weren't terribly enlightening, only stuff about how "I'm here to win games and play baseball."

Tiger manager Jim Leyland was more interesting. He admitted that Cabrera is heavier than he should be, but also expressed complete confidence that Cabrera will be at his optimal weight when the season opens in three weeks.

"Miguel can either be too light or too heavy, and we're going to find that medium," Leyland said. "He's a big man that needs weight, but not excess weight. You want weight that maintains his strength, not weight that makes him sluggish. He will be ready. It's not a problem.

"I don't want him looking like Twiggy."

Cabrera doesn't seem distracted by his off-field problems, and Tigers people seem to think he won't be. If anything, they think the baseball-mandated alcohol program will leave him better prepared to play, because he will be under supervision and theoretically won't be able to hit the bars at night.

"So far, nothing seems to affect him when he gets to the ballpark," teammate Magglio Ordonez told reporters. "He's doing everything normal. I don't see anything different."

As Sevigny and her husband Dave pointed out, it's not like Cabrera is the first athlete -- or even the first Tigers player -- to have problems away from the field.

"Look at Denny McLain," Ellie Sevigny said. "[Norm] Cash had a drinking problem, too. As long as [Cabrera] is giving his all at the ballpark, we'll support him. Nobody knows what is going on in someone's life."
Category: MLB
Comments

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