Star outfielder Melky Cabrera was baseball's 2012 feel-good story throughout the season.
He had enjoyed a resurgent season with the pennant-contending San Francisco Giants after displaying flashes of excellence in his earlier incarnations with the New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals.
In 2012, Cabrera exploded on the field and was even named the Most Valuable Player of the annual All-Star Game. The man had clearly arrived and was finally ready to be counted among the best of the best of the national pastime. It seemed all baseball fans were happy for Cabrera, a happy-go-lucky fellow who visibly enjoyed his work and didn't take himself seriously.
But reality intruded with a thud last week.
Major League Baseball reported that Cabrera had been found to use a performance-enhancing substance. He was promptly suspended for 50 games, amid tremendous personal and professional repercussions. Mostly, Cabrera became the poster child for selfish athletes everywhere. He deserved the sharp criticism. Because he was suspended for 50 games, he is not going to play any more during the rest of this regular season.
The San Francisco Giants' pennant prospects are now in shambles. The team was regarded as offensively challenged, even with Cabrera's big bat in the lineup. Now, without his services, the Giants have less of a reason to feel that they can win the championship. The team's strength is its stellar starting pitching, but no team can expect to win by a shutout all the time.
The other Giants players will have to step up and pick up the slack for their fallen teammate Cabrera.
Meanwhile, Cabrera will no longer be a much-desired free agent. His Giants contract runs out after the end of this season. He figured to be a hot commodity. But now every general manager will view him as some sort of damaged goods, as a player who might or might not be capable of putting up big numbers — without those performance-enhancing substances.
Cabrera most likely cost himself millions of dollars in the future. He should be disgusted with his foolishness and selfishness.
He went from being a feel-good story to a poster child for selfishness.
Jon Friedman writes the Media Web column for MarketWatch.com. Click here to read his latest column. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)invention, Shunning the Naysayers and Creating a Personal Revolution," which is now available. Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
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