by | Oct 6, 2009 | Detroit Free Press, Sports | 0 comments

Miguel Cabrera, according to police, had an awful lot of alcohol in his system when he came home before sunrise Saturday and got in an altercation with his wife. When the police came – responding to her call – they saw marks on his face and her face. Their response, in the end, was to get Cabrera out of the house.

They didn’t arrest him. They more or less gave him a lift to the station. About an hour later, he was picked up by the president of the Tigers, Dave Dombrowski, who isn’t used to doing baseball business so early in the morning, but when it’s your star player, you make exceptions.

And that’s what this is about. Exceptions. Most reactions to these types of stories begin with: “If it were me and that happened …”

All around Michigan on Monday, people finished that sentence with “I would have been arrested” or “they’d have cuffed me, no question.” And I believe they are right. You come to a house, find a guy as big as Cabrera with that much booze in him, and a woman with marks on her face, and you do more than give him a lift to the station and wait for his boss to pick him up. I bet there are men all over this state who WISH that was what happened to them.

“It escalated into a physical argument – not a serious physical argument,” Birmingham Police Chief Richard Patterson told me Monday. “We could not determine who the aggressor was in this case.”

Maybe not. But it was Rosangel Cabrera who called 911, not her husband, Rosangel who was worried, not her husband, and like it or not, when you discover what the cops discovered – intoxicated husband, injured wife – you generally don’t call it a tie. More issues about the night

So there’s that. Meanwhile, fans have a right to feel disappointed in their hero, a father of a 4-year-old daughter. And the Tigers have the right to ask why their best hitter is out partying with Chicago White Sox players and isn’t coming home until 6 a.m. on the day of one of the most important games of the year. What did he plan on doing, sleeping all day, then coming to the park? Does anyone think that’s a promising pregame regimen?

By the way, I’ve been to the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham. Its bar doesn’t stay open that late – nor does anyone else’s.

So where was Cabrera between closing time and his arrival home in such a state that his wife made a 911 call? And how did he get home? If he drove – and that is unclear – he was breaking the law. He registered a .26 blood-alcohol level when tested by police. That’s more than three times the legal limit to drive in Michigan. You can bet if he had been stopped behind the wheel, this would be a whole different story.

These are fair questions – maybe not for you or me to demand the answers, but certainly for his employers. And perhaps Major League Baseball. All the bad behavior in sports

Having said all that, there is no law against drinking. There is no baseball rule that demands his suspension. There is nothing written anywhere that requires action other than what the Tigers did – which was to keep it quiet and let him play.

But there is common sense.

There is leading by example.

And there are lines not to be crossed.

One of those lines is touching women in anger – hitting, pushing or even scratching them. There is a sad litany of such behavior in sports, enough that teams like the Tigers should rail against it and guys like Cabrera should know to avoid it. In downplaying the incident – which is not the first time Cabrera’s drinking at the Townsend has led to a police call – the Tigers are setting sad priorities.

“I apologize to the Tigers, my teammates and all of the fans,” Cabrera, 26, said in a statement. “I would appreciate it if you would respect my family’s privacy as I prepare for our next game.”

Fine. Just two last things.

First, it wasn’t us who disrespected your family’s privacy, Miguel – your wife called the cops.

And second, let’s hope you prepare for the next game better than you did Saturday’s.

Contact MITCH ALBOM: 313-223-4581 or Catch “The Mitch Albom Show” 5-7 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM (760).


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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