Well, Braves fans, we now know what got into Melky Cabrera

Melky homers against the Braves. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Melky homers against the Braves. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Melky Cabrera spent a season of no special distinction with the Atlanta Braves, whereupon they non-tendered him, which is to say they dumped him. He wound up in Kansas City, which as we know is the Last Chance Saloon for all undistinguished Braves, and finished the 2011 season with 201 improbable hits.

This raised a few eyebrows — the prototype fourth outfielder getting more hits in a season than Ted Williams ever did? — but only a few. Because playing for the Royals doesn’t quite count. Then Cabrera was traded to San Francisco, where he turned into a fair approximation of Barry Bonds. Through 113 games he was hitting .346 with 11 homers and 6o RBIs. And those are, it must be noted, the numbers with which the Melkman will end this regular season.

Because he just got suspended 50 games after testing positive for elevated testosterone. This could well doom the Giants, who have fallen behind the Dodgers in the National League West, and it doesn’t exactly leave the sport itself with a shiny halo. Months after reigning NL MVP Ryan Braun tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug (his 50-game ban was overturned on a procedural issue), the man just crowned MVP of the All-Star Game has gotten himself docked.

A cynic would say that Cabrera is proof that PEDs actually do enhance performance. Two years ago he wasn’t good enough to play everyday for a Braves’ team starved for everyday players. This year he was one of the best players in the league.

Cabrera’s enforced absence will surely be noted when the Braves play in San Fran next week. Last month Melky spent a series at Turner Field nettling his old mates with his exaggerated celebratory routines, and Chipper Jones and Tim Hudson voiced their displeasure. The rematch figured to be intriguing. Moot point now, alas.

Not moot, however, is this: According to Deadspin, Cabrera can still win the batting title.

By Mark Bradley

149 comments Add your comment

evan

August 16th, 2012
8:10 am

I was just thinking the same thing. Proof PED’s really do enhance performance. Shame, I was looking forward to Kimbrel running a 99 MPH Fastball up under his chin!

evan

August 16th, 2012
8:11 am

Oh, and FIRST!

TheOnlyBravesFan

August 16th, 2012
8:11 am

Kudos?

Awesome suspension, love it for Melky.

Bbrave

August 16th, 2012
8:12 am

Surprise? Something didn’t seem right!

Mark Bradley

August 16th, 2012
8:12 am

Evan. Kudo’ed.

Old devil

August 16th, 2012
8:16 am

True that. After his last memorable performance at the Ted, I was hoping he would come up against Kimbrel for some high cheese about chin high. But, as they say, maybe next year!

abby normal

August 16th, 2012
8:17 am

This just re-enforces my argument that juicers like Bonds, Sosa, McGwire etc. should never be in the HOF.

Fairmount Felon

August 16th, 2012
8:22 am

Bye Bye Melky………………………….and good riddance. Was a joke when he played here and was cocky because he was having one good season this year. Only problem is, he could still technically win the batting title.

Karl Hungus

August 16th, 2012
8:23 am

This isn’t proof that PEDs enhance performance on the baseball field. There still has never been any proof of that. It’s proof that PEDs enhance performance in the weight room, which was never under dispute. Being in much better shape is what has contributed to Melky’s improved performance, and now we know that he took shortcuts to achieve this physical condition instead of working really hard for it. That, and his BABIP is 70 points above his career average.

Old School

August 16th, 2012
8:23 am

And what the heck has happened to Lincecum? He can barely make it through the first inning, geez. Man I hope we spank the Dodgers.

Nativebird

August 16th, 2012
8:25 am

and we’ve continued to hear the fawning sports press (nationwide) talk about players “back” in the “steriod – era”? Admit it ESPN…we are still IN THE STERIOD ERA. Any athlete that goes from a historical pattern of plateued performance…suddenly to a material jump in continued performance MUST be identified and suspected. to heck with the innocents….NONE are innocent should be the view, at least until the innocents start TURNING in the guilty. Until then, all (repeat: ALL) these stats in the last 15 years should be astericked!

DeepDiver

August 16th, 2012
8:32 am

Sometimes, life is awesome.

Lookaymyaverage

August 16th, 2012
8:32 am

Man I tell you, you dont wish bad on anyone but sometimes you get what you deserve!

Keith

August 16th, 2012
8:34 am

Loved what Chipper said after Melky was taunting Heyward to tag up as well as taunting fans:
“That’s why he no longer plays here.” (paraphrase)

I guess his arrogance both in the field and with his body suffered an EGO SLAM.

Go BRAVES :)

yellow britches

August 16th, 2012
8:36 am

Hank Aaron has said repeatedly he believes steroids could not help a player make contact with a ball or shape their swing in a positive way. For this reason, and I guess others, he doesn’t think steroid use should keep a player out of Cooperstown. Stats are stats. OK Hank.

dean

August 16th, 2012
8:44 am

“What goes around comes around.”

DP

August 16th, 2012
8:48 am

Hey Mark, nice hit and run on Saban in your column about Saint Curry. About par for the course for you. You never bother to defend any of the nonsense you write in your columns in the comments section, but you’re always there to congratulate whoever writes “first!”

Gene

August 16th, 2012
8:53 am

Sometimes Karma is a beach.

SimpleDawg

August 16th, 2012
8:55 am

Melky was gettin’ a boost? Really?

Shocking !

Yep. They’re still around, and average players like Smelky Melky who suddenly become MVPs should be a beacon to league officials.

Jay

August 16th, 2012
8:55 am

PEDs definitely work, that’s why players keep taking them. They wouldn’t bother with the risk if there wasn’t a reward with it.

That said, Melky is a cheater and it serves him right after his hot-dogging last time he was in Atlanta.

Karl Hungus

August 16th, 2012
9:01 am

Player X had the following career numbers. The majority believe this player did not use PEDs during the seasons in which these numbers were accumulated. Does Player X belong in the HOF?

14 Seasons
.288/.409/.559 (.968 OPS)
2010 Hits, 445 HR, 460 SB, 1430 BB, 1112 K
3 MVPs, 8 All Stars, 7 Silver Sluggers, 8 Gold Gloves
163, OPS+, 104.5 fWAR

[...] Cabrera's Ban Will Cost him Tens of Millions, Dolich SaysSan Francisco ChronicleWell, Braves fans, we now know what got into Melky CabreraAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)USA TODAY -Fox News -SB Nation Bay Areaall 1,311 news [...]

Joey

August 16th, 2012
9:03 am

“A cynic would say that Cabrera is proof that PEDs actually do enhance performance.”
*********************************************
That “cynic” would be correct, MB.

All one has to do is read the SI article from a few years back on Balco Labs and its founder Victor Conte. The drugs he manufactured for Bonds and hundred’s more athletes, improved eyesight, reflexes, as well as strength, SEVERAL TIMES OVER.

So, yellow britches, Hank is clueless about PEDs. A baseball player could see the ball quicker and better, plus swing the bat quicker and faster. Numbers don’t lie.

You can look at hitters’ and power pitchers’ career numbers and from that era and tell who used PEDs. You can tell almost to the day when Clemens and Bonds started using PEDs. You can also see numbers plummet, and ERAs skyrocket, when MLB started testing for steriods

And just think, there still is no HGH testing in any of US pro sports – the only way to catch athletes is when they purchase it.

Truth

August 16th, 2012
9:04 am

Melky was really arrogant during this meteoric rise over the past year. He fits Luke 14:11 perfectly. Just like Tiger, those who think they have the World in their hand are soon crushed by it and their own pride. This also kills his huge contract next year that he was expecting. Never be so proud of yourself folks!

Sammy

August 16th, 2012
9:11 am

No Hall of Fame for Bonds, Sosa, etc… PLEASE!!

BarryBondsJr

August 16th, 2012
9:12 am

I have played softball for 10 years and 2 years ago my Doc said I had “Low T” or low levels of testoserone due to age (45 now). Most guys lose the ability to make Testoserone at the youthful levels as they age and mine was down under an acceptable low level. Doc put me on Testim (synthetic Testoserone) and within 6 months I went from a singles/doubles hitter to pumping the ball 290 feet over the CF fence. I have ZERO doubt it’s all about the T. You develop muscles without even working out. Flipside is you get canned like Melky if caught in the pros or us amateurs get cranky (ask the wife), bulk up all weird like (you get thick but TOO thick) and your hair starts falling out. See Barry Bonds for a perfect example. I’d rather not mention what happens to the “boys” as most of you know. Since you no longer need them to try and produce T, they nearly disappear. I’m bringing my levels way down to minimum to try and fight some of the bad side effects. It’s fun to hit the ball a mile but I’d like to keep some hair and be good to the boys…

Joey

August 16th, 2012
9:12 am

MB, has Melky’s agent given the obligatory, statement of: “Melky is innocent of these charges . . . apparently took some over the counter cold medicine which somehow skewed the test . . . Melky will appeal these charges . . .” ?

You know it’s coming.

Sammy

August 16th, 2012
9:12 am

…it just isn’t right for them to share the spotlight with Aaron, Mays, Mantle, and eventually Chipper.

Truth

August 16th, 2012
9:14 am

Good info Barry. I just started googling on testoserone and see similar stories to yours. Glad I don’t have to get on that stuff! Being 26 helps I guess! :-)

Mark Bradley

August 16th, 2012
9:15 am

Actually, Melky Cabrera has ‘fessed up.

Truth

August 16th, 2012
9:15 am

Dead on Sammy. Chipper provides ample evidence he’s never doped. Lots of injuries over his career, no odd spikes in performance over time and he’s got a bit of a belly on him like I do! Chipper a working man’s working man. Same for Hammering Hank. All time HR King!

Truth

August 16th, 2012
9:17 am

Mark’s right. That surprised me that Melky fessed up but it shows he realizes how dumb he was. Fessed up and messed up his career with the doping. SF is getting a bad rap with all this. Maybe Lincecum needs to try it….Just kidding.

Nick Purdy

August 16th, 2012
9:19 am

Mark, I don’t understand your tossed off assertion that “playing for the Royals doesn’t quite count.” I understand the organization doesn’t have a big payroll, but their on-field performances are legit inasmuch as they play a real major league schedule. It’s not like they’ve been relegated. This has nothing to do with Melky, just saying that was a cheap, and when you think about it, nonsensical, shot.

RobINstonemtn

August 16th, 2012
9:21 am

How will we ever respect someone with great numbers anymore? I mean Braun, Melky, Sosa, McGuire, Bonds, etc. MLB should almost make a policy that says if you are in the top 5 in the majors in homers, hits, etc and weren’t the previous 5 years, you will be TRIPLE tested! I am losing respect for the game because of these players.

Paul in NH

August 16th, 2012
9:21 am

Just another in a long line
Bonds, Clemens, Sosa….
Ben Johnson, Marion Jones, practically every top woman sprinter from 1980 to 1992
Floyd Landis, Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador…
The entire E. German women’s swim team from 1972 to reunification
etc.

PED’s work – that is why athletes take them.

Todd

August 16th, 2012
9:31 am

Hey Melky – Got PED’S?

RobINstonemtn

August 16th, 2012
9:32 am

Yeah, if you’re in the top 5 in numbers they should test and re-test you. Especially if you weren’t in the years before…

Good Grief

August 16th, 2012
9:32 am

What’s the deal with this “FIRST!” nonsense? Why are people being rewarded by being the first to comment on someone else’s work?

BravesFan1972

August 16th, 2012
9:33 am

Makes me appreciate the superb playing yet oft injured Chipper. He’s doing it old school. Go Chip!

BravesFan1972

August 16th, 2012
9:34 am

GoodGrief. You are number 38. Congrats!

Mako

August 16th, 2012
9:36 am

MilkDud is juiced….who woulda thunk it…crunk it up MilkDud

FirstMania

August 16th, 2012
9:37 am

What amazes me more than folks wanting to be FIRST is folks who complain about it. It’s a tradition bra! Get over it!

TacoMax

August 16th, 2012
9:39 am

Good grief – I reward my kid for pooping in the toilet and not his pull up diaper so we should at least shout out a Kudos to the FIRST guy/gal.

don

August 16th, 2012
9:40 am

Maybe there is some poetic justice in this world afterall.

MelkyOsterone

August 16th, 2012
9:41 am

Hey, y’all back off. I worked out in Miami in the offseason. That’s how come I’m all ripped up and hitting 75 points over my average and I’m not the ol’ fatty you saw as a Brave… Oh, the test came back positive? Crap. Nevermind. See y’all in 50.

Boston Braves

August 16th, 2012
9:42 am

I’d like to see all Melky’s stats for the year be wiped out. I bet if MLB made it so that all “wins” for the team for the season that the player got caught got wiped away, some more “Peer pressure” may be applied by those players who are clean- Pretty Naive thinking huh?

Joey

August 16th, 2012
9:44 am

Good for Melky, MB.

When has any athlete fessed up about PEDs before?

Rowsdower

August 16th, 2012
9:44 am

Melky appealed his suspension and it was upheld. He wasn’t going to “fess up” until MLB confirmed he was being suspended. He is not a pioneer for admitting his cheating. He still went through the process knowing full well that he was guilty. He’s a scumbag and he got what he deserved. I’m just glad he didn’t get off like Braun…

Joey

August 16th, 2012
9:49 am

Pettitte and McGwire? Only partial confessions . . .

TedBurner

August 16th, 2012
9:52 am

This 1 game wild card thing doesn’t look helpful. I mean, the Braves could end up 7 games up on second Wildcard Pittsburgh but still have to play them in a “sudden death” game? It ought to at least be 2 out of 3.