So How Much Was Miguel Cabrera Drinking, Anyway?
A .26 blood alcohol level? Was Miguel Cabrera pouring booze down his throat with a funnel?
That level was what the Detroit Tiger had when Birmingham, Michigan police tested his blood alcohol level Saturday morning. The police report describes the slugger as “very uncooperative and highly intoxicated.” Gee, ya think?
Cabrera was brought down to police headquarters after authorities responded to a 6 a.m. 911 call from his wife. The two had reportedly had a physical confrontation after he came home late, drunk, and loud.
Birmingham Police declined to press charges against Cabrera for the fight. “We determined that they both contributed to the domestic assault,” Police Chief Richard Patterson told reporters. “It was minor in nature. They did have some marks on their faces. We could not determine who the aggressor was.”
So while it looks like Cabrera is in the clear legally for his boys’ night out, the whole incident raises questions about what’s going on with Cabrera and the Tigers, just as they’re trying to prepare for their most important game of the season, a one-game playoff against the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome at 5 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.
For one thing, there’s the question about exactly how much Cabrera had to drink. A .26 BAC level – at six a.m., no less – is off the charts, literally. It’s over three times the .08 legal limit in Michigan for operating a motor vehicle. So I tried to calculate exactly how many drinks Cabrera would have needed to reach that incredible number. Given that Cabrera is listed as weighing 240 pounds, which means that it would take even more than the average person to get soused, he must have had some night of debauchery.
So how much hooch did the ballplayer pour down his throat that night to get a .26 level? Bill Ferrer of the Detroit Tigers Weblog did the math, and estimated that Cabrera would need to have swallowed “something like 22 drinks in a 7 hour period” to pull that number. Yikes!
I’m trying to picture how he chugged all that – its’ three drinks an hour. Did he have one of those beer tubes or something? And what about bathroom stops? That’s a lot of liquid going down!
The fan site also figured that it would have taken 17 hours or so for the player to metabolize all the alcohol in his system. Which means that Cabrera could have still been half in the bag for that evening’s game – or at the very least suffering one heck of a hangover.
So is it any surprise that the slugger went 0-for-4 in Saturday’s game, and didn’t even hit one ball out of the infield that night? Or that he followed that bad evening with an 0-for-3 performance in Sunday’s game? Of course not.
But what is surprising is why the Tigers let him play at all. After all, Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski picked him up at the police station at 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning. He would have known first-hand from seeing Cabrera in person exactly how drunk he was. Yet Dombrowski apparently thought it was fine to have him start in a critical game 12 hours later.
And it’s not like nobody would have been the wiser – in addition to the police report, there was also the curious matter of Cabrera’s face being all scratched up, something he blamed on his dog. Where would he have gotten such a pugnacious pooch, anyway? Michael Vick’s kennel?
The GM has some explaining to do, as does Cabrera. But they haven’t done that so far. Cabrera issued a mealy-mouthed apology on Monday. Dombrowski declined comment, saying, ”It is a personal situation, and I am not at liberty to discuss it further.” Um, no.
Look, I’m not going to play the whole role model card here; I don’t expect these ballplayers to be saints. But I do expect them to show up ready to play. And Cabrera really didn’t. I also expect players to use a little bit of common sense. And if they don’t, I expect the team management to use some common sense, and look out for the club’s best interest. And that means Dombrowski, as well as Cabrera, have a lot to answer for:
* Why did Cabrera go out drinking with the opposition – Chicago White Sox players – during such a crucial series? Remember, no team has ever held a lead from May 10 on, and then blown the title. But Detroit could very well do so. After the third game of a fierce Twins series, the Tigers had a three-game lead with four games to play. Yet they managed to blow that lead, thanks in no small part because of Cabrera, their top hitter, not getting a single hit that weekend against the Sox.
* Why did Cabrera go back to the Townsend Hotel to booze it up, even though club officials had reportedly warned him to stay away from that hotel after he got into a dispute at the place five weeks earlier? In that previous incident, he was partying with Tampa Bay players when he taunted an overweight teenage boy, saying “What’s up, big boy? You need to work out.” (It takes one to know one, I guess; Cabrera once made a list of the 10 most out-of-shape athletes.) Then, Cabrera threatened to go out and get his “click-clack” (which seemed to mean his gun) and use it on the teen and his companion. Dude’s got issues; a witness said the player “acted as if he was on some drug.”
* Why didn’t Dombrowski punish Cabrera Saturday? Your star player gets drunk with opposing players, at a hotel you warned him not to go back to, and then is out partying somewhere unknown (Michigan’s closing time is 2 a.m, but Cabrera didn’t stagger home until 5 a.m. ) It’s also unclear as to exactly how Cabrera got home, and whether he got behind the wheel. He gets into a physical battle with his wife so fierce that he’s noticably scratched up that day. Oh, and there’s the matter of that .26 BAC level again. On what planet is it a good idea to put your team’s postseason hopes in the hands of Cabrera, and expect him to be ready to play that night?
All that being said, I don’t think the Tigers should bench Cabrera for the playoff game. Detroit knew what was what on Saturday – that’s the day they should have thrown down the hammer. Benching him today would not make him see the light. It would just send this message: “We didn’t have a problem with what you did until it made the papers.”
Photo by conlawprof
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