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El Burro Giante

July 21, 2012

Hugh Atkins

What is the deal with Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants? The switch-hitting left fielder  had a huge three-game series against the Atlanta Braves earlier this week, going 6-13 (.462) with a double, a triple, a home run, five runs scored, and three runs batted in.

But Cabrera also spent the whole series acting like a Giant jackass. When he hit the home run Wednesday night, he stood in the batter’s box watching the flight of the baseball and then walked about five or six steps toward first base before finally beginning his trot around the bases.

After catching a flyball in left field, he taunted Jason Heyward, daring him to try to advance to third base. On a couple of occasions, he caught flyballs for the third out of the inning and acted as if he were going to toss the ball to a fan in the stands only to hang onto it and carry it to the dugout.

After teammate Gregor Blanco hit a three-run homer in the 11th inning of Wednesday’s game, Cabrera came out of the dugout and skipped along the warning track. He mocked the tomahawk chop with a particularly rude gesture after hitting a triple Thursday afternoon.

While Cabrera is not in the same league with the biggest Giant jackass of them all, Barry Bonds, his behavior in the series with the Braves was confounding. Perhaps Cabrera holds a grudge against the Braves for releasing him after the 2010 season.

The Braves obtained Cabrera, along with pitchers Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaíno, in a trade that sent pitchers Javier Vázquez and Boone Logan to the New York Yankees in December 2009. Cabrera was coming off his best season with the Yankees; he hit .274 with 13 home runs and 68 RBIs in 2009.

But Cabrera hit just .255 with only four home runs and a measly 42 RBIs for the Braves in 2010, apparently stopping at every all-you-can-eat buffet, pizza parlor, hamburger joint, hotdog stand, tavern, ratskeller, and hog trough along the way. The Braves paid him $3.1 million and released him after one season.

The Kansas City Royals picked up Cabrera for the 2011 season and he decided to play ball; he hit .305 with 201 hits, 18 homers, and 87 RBIs. Despite such a big offensive year, the Royals traded him to the San Francisco Giants this past off-season. Cabrera is having an even better season this year. After Friday night’s game in Philadelphia, he was second in the National League in hitting at .354, leading the league in hits with 129, and had nine home runs and 48 RBIs. He was the most valuable player in this year’s All-Star Game. Cabrera certainly has developed into quite a player.

But after watching Cabrera’s performance during the three-game series against the Braves, I can understand why there are teams that don’t want him around. One has to wonder why the Royals would trade a 27-year-old outfielder who banged out 200 hits in his first season with the team. One thing is for sure: no team will put up with such nonsense if his hitting falls off.

 Melky Cabrera

Cabrera is sadly mistaken if he thinks the Braves mistreated him when they handed him his walking papers after one season. If he is looking for someone to blame for getting his release from the Braves, he should look no further than the nearest mirror.

Baseball’s unwritten rules seem to dictate that pitcher Tim Hudson of the Braves should have drilled Cabrera in the ribs with a fastball during Thursday afternoon’s series finale. But I was glad the Braves did not sink to Cabrera’s level by throwing one under his chin, no matter how tempting it may have been to do so. Had they retaliated and the action resulted in the suspension of a Braves’ pitcher, then Cabrera would have had the last laugh. And he would have been braying like the jackass he is.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. R. Dale McCarver permalink
    July 21, 2012 6:08 am

    It used to be, the bigger the talent, the greater the need to be humble. Somehow, about the time Reggie Jackson came along (?) things went nutty and acting up became the expected thing–sometimes overshadowing the player’s talent. Makes me appreciate class acts like Dale Murphy even more.


    • July 21, 2012 8:18 am

      Excellent point. I probably should have wrapped up this screed with something about guys like Murphy, Musial, and Aaron.


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