We think we know our favorite athletes. We think the pictures painted in the media combined with how we see the athletes interact and play on the field (court or ice) defines who they really are. But, really, we don't know them beyond the HD TVs and box scores.
As you're already fully aware of, Tigers star first baseman Miguel Cabrera was arrested late Wednesday night for being in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and resisting arrest, almost a year and a half after he was arrested the morning of a game for being involved in a drunken domestic dispute with his wife at their home.
The story and Cabrera's name was trending on the interwebs within hours, sparking an onslaught of semi knee-jerk columns throughout the media landscape, most of which gravitated toward one central theme: the 27-year-old slugger must have a serious drinking problem and he needs some serious help before he ruins his career.
The police report seems excoriating, but it's only an ephemeral glint into Cabrera's personal life. We're granted full access to Miguel Cabrera the baseball player and it's safe to assess that he's phenomenal. However, some feel because we've now seen Miguel Cabrera the drunk in two of the past 500 days, it means we can accurately diagnose all of his problems.
During the process of getting the handcuffed Cabrera into a squad car the other night, the reporting officer claimed Cabrera kept saying, "do you know who I am? you don't know anything about my problems."
The real answer to that question is no. We know he's one of the best baseball players in the game today (even if the officer didn't), he's human, and he's made two serious lapses in judgment in the last two years, consequences of his alcohol consumption. If the problem goes beyond that, and he needs further treatment for alcoholism, he's a grown ass man and can come to that conclusion on his own with the help of his closest family and friends; he doesn't need anyone not privy to all the facts making that decision for him.
If he doesn't need time away from baseball, he doesn't need time away from baseball. The system will take care of his legal matters and I'm aware that being on the diamond can be more therapeutic than anything else. There shouldn't be anyone imploring that he take time away from the game he clearly loves and create (more) suffering for himself, his teammates, and fans, if it's not absolutely necessary.
To suggest Cabrera needs to take a step back from baseball to address potential personal problems is something that can only be determined by possessing all of the facts. All of the facts are not what we have and without them we can't fairly hack away at our keyboards, typing that we know Miguel Cabrera has some kind of unrelenting drinking problem that is killing his career. Besides, you do know that Miguel Cabrera is averaging 30 HRs, 110 RBI and a .310 BA in each of the last seven years, right?
Whether or not he's done that as an unrelenting drunk whose personal well-being might benefit from some outside help is an unknown to us and, as a result, really shouldn't fall under our line of concern beyond we hope Miguel Cabrera is okay, and we hope he'll continue to help our favorite team hit this season. Whoever he is.