“Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life son.”
- Dean Wormer, Animal House
When Dean Wormer mutters those immortal words to our beloved hero Bluto, he’s in the process of taking the entire fraternity to task for their lack of discipline when it comes to performing the task of learning while at Faber College. Basically, you have a job to do and you should do it.
Perhaps Dean Wormer needs to be running the Detroit Tigers.
Instead the Tigers are run by Dave Dombrowski, a General Manager who has to admit that he was “shocked” by the news that star first baseman Miguel Cabrera was arrested on Wednesday night on suspicion of drunk driving. But should Dombrowski have been shocked at all? Cabrera, who had been thought to have recovered from his drinking problems after a 2009 arrest stemming from a domestic assault arrest, obviously has a problem and if I’m reading into his state of mind, it should be readily apparent to anyone that is close to the man, including Dombrowski. In his words, given at the time of arrest, “You don’t know anything about my problems.”
Well, if they didn’t know anything about his problems then, the whole world certain does now.
And that is exactly where someone needs to step in, and that someone needs to be the Player’s Union. It would seem to me that a group of peers and advisors, that are expressly set-up for the express purpose of protecting the players and offering them counsel, should have or create a program to offer help to a player like Cabrera. Alcoholism is a self-inflicted disease, but it more often than not requires more than a self-inflicted cure. Whatever Cabrera’s other problems are off the baseball field, he obviously is lacking any sort of support network in which to lean on other than his pal Johnny Walker, and his brothers black and red.
And if education and support aren’t enough, then perhaps tough love is the way to go. The NFL has a stringent suspension policy for players who are arrested on suspicion of DUI and maybe it is time for Major League Baseball to adopt a similar policy. From Tony Larussa in 2007, to the DUI related deaths of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock, and of course, the vehicular homicide charges faced by former Yankee Jim Leyritz, there is enough examples across Major League Baseball of people either taking part or being impacted by DUI. Somebody has to get the message that there is a problem here.
Look, I know alcoholism is a problem. My grandfather struggled with it for years and the only reason he walked away from it was because he was told his liver would shut down if he didn’t. That’s part of the reason I don’t personally drink. Not because I believe in prohibition of look down on those that do drink, but because I recognize that the problem runs in my family and that I may possibly have a genetic disposition to it. Also, I understand that I help support him by showing my own self-control.
That’s all I’m saying. Cabrera, or any other player that needs help, should have the people around him that can give him the support he needs. They can’t stand by and claim ignorance or shock. They need to step up and try to identify with a young man that obviously needs something more than a successful season and a ride home from the police station. He needs a friend who can see that he’s weak and provide that little bit of strength to get him through the tough times.
And if that doesn’t work, he may just need a few quick knees to the left thigh to knock some sense into him.