Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera was arrested Wednesday evening in St. Lucie County, Fla when officers spotted a vehicle on the side of the road with smoke coming from the engine compartment. Cabrera, who pulled out a bottle of scotch and began drinking from it while officers were speaking to him, is reported to have had bloodshot eyes and his speech was heavily slurred.
To make matters worse, Cabrera resisted the officers when they asked him to enter the patrol car at one point pushing an officer off of him. He faces two additional misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest without violence.
Cabrera was released just after 7 am today on $1,350 bond.
Cabrera, it’s no secret, has had run-ins with alcohol before. Late in the 2009 season, with the Tigers locked in a very close division race, Cabrera was arrested on domestic violence charges after an altercation with his wife. Cabrera, the night before, had been out with several members of the Chicago White Sox, who were in town to play the Tigers. Detroit wound up losing a one-game playoff to Minnesota and missing the playoffs despite holding a three game lead with three to play. Many fans and media types blamed Cabrera for the Tigers inability to win even one of those games from Chicago.
In the offseason that followed, Cabrera sought counselling for his alcohol problems and by all accounts came into camp in 2010 a changed man. There were no reports of Cabrera straying from his new path throughout last season and his numbers moved from very impressive to among the absolute elite of offensive performers.
I think we were all hoping that the issues and demons that had plagued him in the past had been defeated, but alcoholism rarely goes away so easily.
There seems to be some of this story that we don’t know. Cabrera is quoted in the above story as saying “I’m going to (effing) kill him” when officers approached, but no one else was in the vehicle, a 2005 Land Rover. Apparently, there might have been someone else in the vehicle who fled before the police arrived. Again, I don’t know that, but from the quotes given it can be inferred. But whether or not Cabrera was actually driving is almost immaterial to this story. Cabrera has obviously relapsed into his alcoholism and how he handles the coming days, weeks, and months will be paramount to his personal recovery and also to the Tigers chances in 2011.
I think it’s important to not overreact to this situation. Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton, famous as much for his substance abuse filled past as his 2010 AL MVP award, also “fell off the wagon” after turning his life around. It’s not unreasonable to think that with a solid support system, Cabrera can regain his sobriety. A lesson can surely be learned today for Cabrera personally. Even if you think you’ve beaten it, you cannot slip, even for a second.
That might be giving Cabrera too much credit, I suppose. I am assuming that this is the first time Cabrera turned back to the bottle, but in reality I have no idea. Perhaps this is simply the first time that we’ve heard about. It’s possible that he’s been drinking the whole time, though I doubt it given Cabrera’s other-worldy performances of 2010 on the baseball field.
Regardless of whether this is his first time off the wagon or not, the point remains that obviously Cabrera is a young man who needs to find help in order to remain sober. Given the value of his contract, I’m certain the Tigers will be happy to help him find that support system.
Stay tuned for updates as we learn more about this situation. This is obviously a piece I had no desire to ever have to write. Here’s hoping for the best possible outcome for Cabrera and his family.
UPDATE: Here’s a copy of the arrest report. It’s not fun reading.