The San Francisco Giants defied the odds, and came back from an 0-2 deficit against the Cincinnati Reds in the division series, came back again against the always seemingly carried-by-fate St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS, and then pulled off an unlikely World Series sweep of the mighty Detroit Tigers.
The question is, should they have even been there?
Amidst the dog-pile of black and orange humanity in the middle of Comerica park tonight, a lot of people seemed to have memory lapses. Remember Melky Cabrera? You know…the San Francisco Giants outfielder who admittedly took PEDs and was handed down a 50-game suspension from MLB. The guy who pretty much single-handedly got the National League an All-Star game victory, securing home field advantage for…you guessed it, the Giants.
So many things can be extrapolated from Cabrera’s contributions prior to his suspension. How many game winning hits, difference making RBIs, and other various items might not have happened had he not been juiced, or if he had been caught ad suspended sooner. Would the Giants have even made the playoffs? Very difficult to say.
But let’s just say for a moment that Cabrera doesn’t play in the All-Star game, and then the American League wins the game. Or possibly even that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig does the right thing and vacates the NL win based on Cabrera’s misconduct.
Game one of the World Series, even if the Giants are in it, isn’t played at AT&T park but rather at Comerica park. Does Tigers ace Justin Verlander pitch a better game one at home than he did on the road? Does it possibly change the complexion of the series if the first two games are in Detroit? My guess would be a resounding…yes.
Melky Cabrera admittedly cheated, and he was justly punished. And, to a degree, his team was punished (or in the eyes of some, rewarded) by not having use of his services for the latter part of the season. If this were a college team that were being investigated by the NCAA, all the wins and championships that occurred during the time Cabrera was with the team would be vacated.
There is no denying that the Giants had an edge based on Cabrera’s performance in the first two-thirds of the season. Why then should that edge not be taken into consideration when punishments are handed down?
The San Francisco Giants are World Series champions, and there are a lot of great stories on their team to remember from this post-season. It’s a shame that for pure baseball fans, all those stories will be tainted by what Melky did.