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Melky Cabrera, Your Steroids Are Everyone's Problem

As the Giants' All-Star outfielder was suspended for testosterone use, the disappointment is sinking in across the Bay Area.

Melky Cabrera, San Francisco Giant and All-Star Game MVP, . To put it plainly, I'm angry.

I used to be a steroid apologist. As a Giants fan, it was hard not to be. Despite a stockpile of evidence taller than AT&T Park's Coke bottle to the contrary, I maintained that it was entirely possible that Barry Bonds never used performance enhancing drugs. 

Even now, it's hard to admit that he maybe...probably...definitely did it. 

Every time another name came out associated with steroids, especially big-timers (Clemens, A-Rod, Sosa, etc.), I felt vindicated. Watching well over 100 Giants games year after year, and hearing the boos for Bonds in all opposing stadiums grew tiresome. It became en vogue to boo Barry away from San Francisco, as he was the sole contemporary face of cheating in baseball. 

Little did most bandwagoning, ignorant, some would argue racist fans of other teams know that an estimated majority of their players were also on the juice. 

I never held steroid use against a baseball player. Formal, clear-cut drug policies were not laid out by the MLB until 2006. I don't believe use before that year to be grounds for rejection from the Hall of Fame, or public ridicule in general. But my stance is not a popular one.

The bottom line is that steroid use was the culture of competition in baseball from the late 1980s until 2005. If you weren't doing steroids, you weren't competing. The trend said more about players' collective priority balance of money (steroids=production=contract) over health (steroids=addiction, liver tumors, high blood pressure, aggression, etc.) than it did about willingness to cheat. 

Players of the Steroid Era shouldn't be blacklisted or asterisked. Let's not forget multiple generations of baseball players that actively banned Black players from joining their ranks. None of them are barred from the Hall of Fame for that veritable decision to pad their stats.

But this is no longer the Steroid Era. Offensive numbers are down across all of baseball as a direct result of stringent drug testing that has all but eradicated steroid use from the game. There is no grey area anymore. If you are using performance enhancing drugs, you are cheating. 

Melky knew better and did it anyway. Two years ago, with the Atlanta Braves, he hit an unimpressive .255 with four home runs and 42 RBI. Through 113 games this season (on testosterone), he swung a near league-leading .346 with 11 home runs and 60 RBI. Maybe it should have been obvious.

Now Cabrera leaves the Giants tied for first in the NL West with an upward-trending Dodgers team. He won't be eligible to hit the diamond again until the National League Championship Series, if the Giants manage to get that far. 

He'll suffer in that he'll repel serious contract offers in free agency come October. He was said to be demanding close to $15 million per season before Wednesday's announcement. But the collateral damage goes further than his bank account. The Giants are left scrambling to fill the gap left by a legitimate NL MVP candidate, and fans are stuck trying to come up with justifiable talking points to support the argument that San Francisco isn't a steroids mecca. 

A modest prediction: Years from now, legend will have it that a clandestine BALCO lab was camouflaged in left field at AT&T Park. 

You still see Barry Bonds jerseys at every Giants home game, and he hasn't played in five years. That's because he was a Hall of Fame caliber, shining example of perfection of the culture of his era. Rest assured you wont be seeing Melky's 53 scattered around McCovey Cove now or ever. 

What do you think of Cabrera's suspension? Are you upset? Did you see it coming? Tell us in the comments!

 

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lillian hinchcliff August 16, 2012 at 04:19 PM
If everyone has the option to use performance enhancing hormones then no one is cheating. If Cabrera were a better cheater, he wouldn't have been caught.We demand to see superhuman athletes then we deny them the technology to achieve this. Let's be honest about what we want, what it takes to satisfy fans, the technology to achieve it and the risks and consequences involved. Imagine who would be taking brain enhancing drugs when they can enhance your IQ by 20 points.
Jeffrey Bottaro August 16, 2012 at 05:35 PM
I am required to TURN YOU IN TO HOMELAND SECURITY for inciting a revolution, which would be the INESCAPABLE RESULT of a collective enhancement of IQ.
Jeffrey Bottaro August 16, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Over the fence, day after day. Things getting tense on the BALCO BELT-WAY !
randy albin August 16, 2012 at 07:58 PM
you're saying that the hulk hogans and WWF wrestlers aren't filled to capacity on these steroids. what an industry that is filled with hoaxes, deceptive practices and immorality, to say the least. factor in the "fitness models" and what you have is a bunch of creeps and lackluster who-knows-what. what is this?-who knows
Claudia Cruz (Editor) August 16, 2012 at 09:36 PM
I think Lillian raises a great point. I think fans have to take some of the blame too. We want this type action night after night after night. For Pete's sake, fans even started to dress up as "Melk Men!" I'm not justifying "cheating" but we want entertainment, why else do we go to ball games? There's no way we are going to be able to go back to the way things were before BALCO, but baseball has to compete for attention. With Lincecum playing subpar, Wilson out for the season, Sandoval on the DL, Cabrera kept people excited about the Giants.

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