The San Francisco Giants today announced that they will not be adding Melky Cabrera to their postseason roster if he becomes eligible. Cabrera’s suspension is up after five games of the Giants postseason, should they get that far, and he is eligible to start a ‘rehab’ assignment after tomorrow’s game. But the Giants have decided against doing that and rightly so.
There should be no mistake made: Melky Cabrera is a cheat. It was exactly right that he chose to become ineligible for the batting title as he would not have earned it and the same applies for any potential postseason games. He achieved his success this year because he did not play by the rules. The Giants were already potentially skating on thin ice by even being in the postseason, though fortunately for them the way they have played since Cabrera’s suspension has alleviated worries that they were going to get there only due to a cheat. However if they had added him to the postseason roster then they would not have been able to say that they deserved any spoils that they might win. They would not have won them fairly. The Giants have rightly said that they would rather play the game properly and potentially lose than use a cheat to gain an unfair advantage on their opponents. They should be applauded for this.
But the group who should not be applauded is MLB. They have a horrible track record with respect to drug cheats having turned a blind eye to them for years and they lost a lot of credibility. But even now as they try to make up lost ground they are still ridiculously lenient. Cabrera cheated for most of a season and won an ill-got award at the All-Star Game. And yet he is eligible to return in the NLCS if the Giants get that far. That is not a fair punishment and MLB risks becoming a laughing-stock again if they do not toughen their stance on drug cheats. In no other sport would the guilty party be allowed to return before an entire season had elapsed and in many it would be a lifetime ban.
The failure of the MLB drug policy is personified in Alex Rodgriguez. This is a man who has admitted to being a drug cheat and not only was never punished, but has not even been stigmatised. Everyone seems to have forgot that every record he sets, every mark he makes is tainted. Rodriguez did not play fair, but he is still celebrated. Roger Clemens is another. People talk about how many Cy Young awards he won and seem to forget that he cheated to win them. Major League Baseball needs to fix this problem. They must not only make sharp punishments for cheats but strip them of records. Otherwise they will never be fully respected.