On January 5th 2012, the Detroit Tigers All-Star first baseman, Miguel Cabrera, received a year probation, a $500 fine, community service and six month suspended drivers’ license for a February 6th, 2011 DUI arrest in St. Lucie, Florida, ending a story that started out with a bang in 2011 and fizzled to a footnote late in the season thanks to an apparent turnaround by Cabrera.
Cabrera’s ugly arrest was a hot top on talk shows and on-line, and led many to conclude that the incident was indicative of a larger problem for the 28 year old Venezuelan slugger. In addition to video evidence and the arrest report, his highly publicized domestic dispute during the final weekend of the 2009 season were was fueled the speculation. However, with his career seemingly in doubt, Cabrera appeared to remain incident free and enjoyed perhaps his best season as a Tiger while leading his team to the AL Central Division title and a spot in the American League Championship Series.
Assuming Cabrera has actually turned his life around since his arrest, something we will likely never know is what caused the change? Was it simply forced maturity stemmed from a scary and embarrassing moment? Perhaps support from family, friends, teammates, the Tigers, fans, or a combination of all of the above? While Cabrera was immediately vilified for the incident and “pennies on the dollar” trades seemed to be a popular suggestion, he responded by leading the AL in batting with a .344 average. He was incident free (at least publicly), was humble with the media and was noticeably absent from the champagne celebration that ensued after the Tigers clinched the division in Oakland.
Cabrera’s story is far from over, but it really is no different than that of any other person. Last year, he made a terrible mistake that could have been devastating but thankfully didn’t lead to any real harm. Every single one of us has made mistakes, most of us were given chances to rectify those mistakes and most of us given those chances have made good on our promises to make the situation right. So far, Miguel Cabrera has done what we as fans have asked of him. Most importantly though, he’s done what he and his family needed him to do to put a scary episode in the past.
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