Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bittersweet Day In The Latino Baseball Community

I know it has seemed a bit of long time since my last post but today was a day in Baseball History that was both disappointing and invigorating...all within a number of hours. First the disappointment.

It was announced earlier that Dominican outfielder Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants had been suspended for 50 games for the failing of a PED drug test. Melky seemed to find his full stride after a decent season in Kansas City and underachiving seasons in Atlanta and New York. At the time of the announcement, Melky was leading the Majors in hits (159), second in Batting average (.346), was a pivotal player in the San Francisco Giants lineup and field and not even a month ago was named Most Valuable Player of the All-Star Game. Now he is just another name added to those who were caught with performance enhancing drugs in their urine.

What a way to piss away a potentially lucrative contract in a free agent year. What a way to piss away an opportunity to move into the next level of players. Regardless what his reasons were, he just pissed them away. Now for the rest of his career he will have the scrutiny that is levied on all those who have failed a PED test. Sure he'll sign another contract and may even have a long career, but he'll forever have the stigma above him of a cheater. If he has a good season, people will suspect something foul. If he struggles, then he will be seen as someone who can't succeed without the help of a foreign substance. It really is sad and disappointing. I really thought that Melky shed that "lazy" title that he seemed to have here in with the Yankees with his performance with the Giants.

I'm really tired of my fellow Latinos continually getting caught taking this junk. I understand the pressure that they have to succeed. The pressure to often be the main provider. The pressure to be the proverbial "way off the island" for their family. I get it. Trust me, I grew up seeing how my Dad was the pivotal one here in NYC providing for those "back home" and he wasn't a professional Baseball player. Its much worse for them. But there is a system in place that catches those that cheat. Just work doubly hard to get to where you need to. Its just frustrating to me as a fan of both the game and of my fellow Latino brothers. It gets harder and harder to back them up with they go and screw things up. I guess I'll quote Alfalfa and the rest of the little rascals when I say "Don't Drink the Milk...It's spoiled". Not only was it spoiled but also tainted. Just sad.

Enough of the disappointment. After a few hours of the Cabrera announcement, another Latino ballplayer was making news for a much better reason. Seattle Mariners starter, former American League Cy Young Award winner and Venezuelan Felix Hernandez was making history. In a dominant performance against the Tampa Bay Rays, Hernandez became the 23rd pitcher to throw a Perfect Game in the history of Major League Baseball. I was lucky enough to turn the game on in the 9th inning and Hernandez was just nasty in his breaking balls and velocity. He hit 95 on the gun in the 9th inning. In total Hernandez Hernandez struck out 12 batters. Of those 12, eight were in the last four innings. And he is only 24 years old. The scary thing is that he can only get better with time!!! To bad the Mariners don't have a quality team built around arguably the best pitcher in the game. For years now I've avoided calling him by the nickname that has become synonymous with Hernandez. Now I can indeed call him King Felix. Felicidades hermano y muchas gracias for taking the sting of the day away for us for just a little bit.

On a side note to the perfect game, what is the deal with the Tampa Bay Rays and no-hitters and perfect games. Since their inaugural season of 1998, the Rays have been no-hit five times, all of them from 2002 and on. Four have come since 2009 with three of them being perfect games (Mark Buerhle 2009, Dallas Braden 2010, Felix Hernandez 2012). Talk about snake-bit. Maybe they need to throw a perfect game to break the curse.

On another side note. I have to apologize for being a bit neglecting in my blogging duties. Sometimes real life, primarily work takes a front seat other things. Yes, even Baseball. I've been trying to improve my bartending skills and have been focusing on a new endevour called Sisco Vanilla Serves and Drinks. Feel free to check it out. Let me know what you think.

FH
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