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Melky Cabrera Phony Website
August 19, 2012 11:05 AM   Subscribe

"Facing a 50-game suspension for doping, San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera created a phony website and a fake product in an attempt to dodge the ban by proving he inadvertently ingested a banned substance, according to a report."
posted by mr_crash_davis (56 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Was Ron Mexico involved?
posted by Ironmouth at 11:09 AM on August 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


You've got to give him credit for boldness and creativity.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:10 AM on August 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


There seems no end to the disappointment and disillusionment this story evokes.
posted by bearwife at 11:16 AM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


So the Melk man delivered, is what you're saying?

help I'm in a John & Suzyn k-hole
posted by mintcake! at 11:21 AM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Haha.. the Yankees dumped his ass and he turned to doping.. what a pathetic loser. Glad we got rid of him. A-Roid, on the other hand?...
posted by ReeMonster at 11:22 AM on August 19, 2012


Is there a link to the phony website?
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:22 AM on August 19, 2012


I read both fine articles but maybe I missed it; where's the phony website?

I live in San Francisco. My home team has still not really come clean on the shame that is Barry Bonds. As one caller on a radio show put it a few days ago; is it any wonder other Giants players are doping too?

Somewhat related, Is Usain Bolt on Steroids?. The article doesn't have much hard evidence, just a lot of damning circumstantial info (like his coach being a former BALCO chemist). The part that really bummed me out was the part about how easy it is to be taking steroids and still pass the Olympic screenings.
posted by Nelson at 11:22 AM on August 19, 2012


While we're at it, can we just ban working out at the gym for baseball players entirely. Baseball is traditionally played by schlubby men in between benders rushing to the stadium either from a bar or their bookie. As a traditionalist I think all these steroid-enhanced he-men playing the sport are just unseemly. Grow a real baseball players belly, you gym-rat.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:24 AM on August 19, 2012 [25 favorites]


Getting rid of Melky has turned into one of the few good decisions my Kansas City Royals have made over the last three decades.
posted by reenum at 11:26 AM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


help I'm in a John & Suzyn k-hole

I AM HIGH! I AM FAR! I AM caught on the warning track
posted by RogerB at 11:27 AM on August 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


As a Dodger fan, I find this so fun to read, but I also know, in my heart, that it could have been one of my boys in blue, or anyone.

Pro athetes, at this level, are uniformly a bunch of entitled assholes. Millionaires employed by billionaires.
posted by Danf at 11:36 AM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Crazier and crazier. I am curious to see the phony website too. (Glad he isn't a Cub!)
posted by SisterHavana at 11:36 AM on August 19, 2012


This makes me think of times when I have a student who puts more effort into cheating than into doing the work in the first place. You sort of admire their commitment to the entirely wrong sort of hard work?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:39 AM on August 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Cheating is an end in itself. I spent more hours editing games with sector editors to cheat than actually playing video games.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:54 AM on August 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


You sort of admire their commitment to the entirely wrong sort of hard work?

Actually, I'm pretty shocked at the apparent half-assedness of this attempt, especially considering how many millions of dollars are in play. In terms of pure economics, it'd make a lot of sense for a cabal of, e.g., players' agents to prepare for this kind of thing much further in advance — invest a million or two in secret to put together a false-flag BALCO in anticipation of future need. You could actually run one or many small businesses selling boutique nutritional supplements, some small proportion of which you've deliberately contaminated with banned substances, in order to use it as cover if or when your athletes get hit by unexpected positive tests.
posted by RogerB at 12:04 PM on August 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


....and thanks to RogerB for my new startup idea. This is the Stanford vortex of unsupported optimism, after all!
posted by Existential Dread at 12:30 PM on August 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


A 50 game suspension?
Meh. What's that, ten weeks of baseball?
And people call cycling dirty, when it's handing out two-year suspensions to dopers.
posted by entropone at 12:32 PM on August 19, 2012


actually run one or many small businesses

I'd like to advertise my availability to be a front man for that operation, unconnected to major league athletics, but complete with plausible background, at reasonable rates.

On preview, Existential Dread can have one league, and I'd take the other. We'll be expanding into other sports shortly.
posted by tyllwin at 12:37 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


A 50 game suspension?
Meh. What's that, ten weeks of baseball?
And people call cycling dirty, when it's handing out two-year suspensions to dopers.


To put this in perspective, this is essentially a death sentence for Cabrera's career. He went from being absolutely terrible with the Braves, to "okay" with the Royals, to one of the game's star players with the Giants. He's "auditioning" at this time for a big contract, and it looked like he deserved one -- this was his first all-star season, he's batting a ridiculous .346, and he's slugging over .500. Now, he'll sit the rest of the season and will be lucky to get league minimum because he'll be seen as a public relations risk (and was already a pretty well disliked player).
posted by sonic meat machine at 12:50 PM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


A 50 game suspension?
Meh. What's that, ten weeks of baseball?


It's 31% of the season -- and more importantly, that's 31% of the pay. Assuming he had the same contract as last year with KC, he's losing about $400K.

Since there are only 45 games left, he also cannot play in the NLDS, should SF make it that far, and since he cannot practice with the team or start a minor league rehab assignment until the suspension lifts, he won't be ready for the NLCS or World Series (again, if they make it that far.) That could cost him a lot more -- one, if there are any contract bonuss, and two, the payout from the league for winning the World Series is around $300K per rostered player on the winning side.

Since he can't play, he won't be rostered. If SF does well, that's that much more money he won't get. S

Finally, of course, he's now got the Doping Mark. He was going to be a free agent with two hot seasons, now, he's a free agent doper. He was in a huge position, hitting .346/.390/.516, +4.5 WAR, 28 years old. He was set for a prime long term contract -- - No cushy 5 year contract to make sure you can have a few bad games. Supposedly, he and the Giants were on the verge of a 3 year, $27M deal, and that's gone.

So, that positive test has just cost him, oh, about $27 million.

Endorsements? Gone. Between the loss of that and the loss of the big contract he was on the verge of signing, he's lost close to $30 million up -- possibly, if he kept playing like he was, scored a big long term contract and a juicy endorsement deal, $50M or more.

He would love to only be suspended for two years. No cyclist yet has lost what Melky Cabrera has just lost.
posted by eriko at 12:51 PM on August 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


We'll be expanding into other sports shortly.

Dibs on the NFL. Those guys have a joke of a testing policy. Hell, that might be the best market to open in.
posted by Existential Dread at 12:53 PM on August 19, 2012


Assuming he had the same contract as last year with KC

This is completely wrong. The Giants signed him for $6M this year, not the $1.25 he made with the Royals. And there's really no way that he would've taken a mere 3 years and $27 million (pre-PED test) after the season he's having now, either — that was a lowball negotiation-starting offer from the Giants. He's surely cost himself tens of millions more than that.
posted by RogerB at 1:16 PM on August 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


And people call cycling dirty, when it's handing out two-year suspensions to dopers.

Oh come ON. I'm not even a sports fan and I even know that professional bicycling is basically a series of contests between who has the best doctor/dealer. I've got a few friends who ride a lot and they've all expressed variations of "I'd try to go pro, but I don't want to do drugs to keep up."

That being said, that really is a genius startup idea.
posted by nevercalm at 1:25 PM on August 19, 2012


Sighaaa. "a series of contests to find who has the best doctor/dealer."
posted by nevercalm at 1:26 PM on August 19, 2012


www.icantbelieveitsnotsteroids.com
posted by dirigibleman at 1:28 PM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Howz about them Orioles?
posted by bardic at 1:29 PM on August 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Getting rid of Melky has turned into one of the few good decisions my Kansas City Royals have made over the last three decades.

Understand that I am not implying malfeasance on the part of KC here, but their willingness to trade the new-and-improved 2011 Cabrera for Jonathan "The Human Meltdown" Sanchez made very little sense until the PED news broke. I have to think Kansas City suspected there was more to that breakout season than just a more diligent workout regimen.

Also, what bearwife said. What a sad, sad piece of work this guy turned out to be.
posted by Lazlo at 1:30 PM on August 19, 2012


Here's an interesting tidbit. Cabrera may well win the NL batting title this year.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:36 PM on August 19, 2012


To put this in perspective, this is essentially a death sentence for Cabrera's career.

Seems hard to believe. Lots of players suddenly get better as they enter their prime. On the other hand, bad hitters who start using PEDs usually stay bad. (Hi, Manny Alexander!) Cabrera may not be as good as he's been this year, but he's very likely a lot better over the next few years than the guy who played in Atlanta and New York. If a team has the chance to get the next two years of Melky Cabrera on the cheap thanks to this suspension, they'd be wise to do so.

Howz about them Orioles?

I KNOW, RIGHT???!?!?!?!
posted by escabeche at 1:47 PM on August 19, 2012


So the lesson learned from Bonds, etc. was not "don't dope," it was was "steroids and HGH work, but if you get caught create an alibi."

The lesson from Cabrera will therefore be "steroids really work, but create an alibi in advance to have greater credibility if you get caught." Next time the doper will have a site up that can actually ship product or at least show an "out of stock" message before they start their first cycle.

Progress!
posted by Blue Meanie at 1:55 PM on August 19, 2012


Juicd Narcotics
posted by Rhaomi at 2:01 PM on August 19, 2012


Man oh man, I'd love to get Melky in Baltimore next year.
posted by josher71 at 2:02 PM on August 19, 2012


It'll cut into his paycheck, but someone will still pay him far more than league minimum.
posted by drezdn at 2:11 PM on August 19, 2012


Man oh man, I'd love to get Melky in Baltimore next year.

Cabrera, Jones, Markakis would be a heck of an outfield. (I love you, Nolan, but I'm not sure I believe you'll ever stay healthy.)
posted by escabeche at 2:26 PM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


He would have gotten away with it, too, if only he hadn't hired Ian Restil at Jukt Micronics...
posted by Ian A.T. at 2:33 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait a minute, wait a minute. From the article
Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone during the postseason last October. He appealed, and when the matter went before an arbitration panel, the decision was overturned in February by independent arbitrator Shyam Das, who has since been fired by MLB. Braun had based his case on accusations waged against the collection agency responsible for the handling of players’ samples.

Baseball’s new arbitrator is Fred Horowitz.
That doesn't sound like an independent arbitrator to me...
posted by muddgirl at 2:47 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because if you've been busted and have decided to lie about it, you may as well double down and tell the biggest lie you possibly can.
posted by valkyryn at 3:25 PM on August 19, 2012


I think we should just force all the players to dope so that the games are more entertaining.
posted by WhitenoisE at 3:27 PM on August 19, 2012


I'm with RogerB, for the money these people make, why not buy some mom 'n' pop "alternative medicine" shop as a front and have select bottles/supplements doped. I.e., box #1376 of "Dr. Fünke's 100% Natural Good-Time Family Band Solution" modified secretly by one guy (the rest of the business wouldn't know it was a front) and ensure that shipment was sent to the right people. Or just hire me as a private "Silkroad Consultant". :)

It's not clear from the article if this has any legal consequences, or simply is embarrassing and potentially may extend his suspension by MLB.

And this could be the death knell for his career: by comparison, the unfairly maligned Barry Bonds had a league-leading 1.000+ OPS in his final season... yet baseball still illegally colluded to blacklist him, to the point that when he offered to play for any team, at league minimum, and then donate his entire salary to charity... still no one called. Because who could possibly need the greatest offensive threat in baseball on your roster while in contention for a playoff spot? Others have come back from a 50-game suspension to keep on playing, but the fact that Melky tried this stunt (and potentially embarrassed MLB, the Player's Union, and his agents) may be too much for them to not also (illegally) blackball him from the sport.

As history has borne out, and the tattered remains of that joke of a federal case confirm, Bonds was purely a scapegoat that sportswriters loved to hate, who didn't even use a banned substance, and as a result the best hitter since Ted Williams was banned from baseball- as if that magically solved the PED "problem" from either an enforcement or PR perspective.

Me, my stance on PED is clear: let them do it, and encourage players' union reviews of safe/allowed substances, to be administered with proper medical supervision. Because so long as baseball continues to enshrine in their Hall of Fame long-time steroid users like Sandy Koufax (a man whose career doesn't even exist if he's not a steroid junkie), or PED users like Mickey Mantle, it's hard not to see the current PED policy as hypocritical and possibly racist.
posted by hincandenza at 3:27 PM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Man has testosterone, film at 11.
posted by chavenet at 3:27 PM on August 19, 2012


independent arbitrator Shyam Das, who has since been fired by MLB.

That doesn't sound like an independent arbitrator to me...


The arbitrator may be fired by either MLB or the Players' Association at any time. They then pick a new one by asking some arbitrators' association for a list of five names, then taking turns eliminating one name at a time until the last one, who then becomes the arbitrator. And can be fired at any time by either side. They are independent, but they're not intended to be permanent.
posted by Etrigan at 3:39 PM on August 19, 2012


Then give them one-case term limits.
posted by muddgirl at 3:45 PM on August 19, 2012


"...yet baseball still illegally colluded..."

Wow. While there's a case to be made that Bonds was unfairly left to bear the full burden of a generation of player's sins, is there any evidence whatsoever for collusion?

Independently understanding that he would be a PR nightmare and not worth any amount of production is not collusion. Unfairly or not, he was perceived as an entitled ass who arrogantly and defiantly stood as the living, breathing symbol of the increasingly unpopular Juiced Era.

That made him so toxic to the business side of baseball that it didn't matter that he was one of the three or four best players of all time.

And let's not pretend that he's a total victim. Even if he didn't make extensive use of PEDs (it's shocking to see anyone who believes that he didn't), he went out of his way to not endear himself to fans and the media. That's part of the job of an entertainer.
posted by graphnerd at 4:44 PM on August 19, 2012


I am so glad he's not a Mariner!
I guess.
god.... nevermind
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 5:12 PM on August 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh come ON. I'm not even a sports fan and I even know that professional bicycling is basically a series of contests between who has the best doctor/dealer. I've got a few friends who ride a lot and they've all expressed variations of "I'd try to go pro, but I don't want to do drugs to keep up."

So, I don't entirely mean for this to sound argumentative, but what you said translates (to me) as:

"I don't know what I'm talking about, but, [stuff that I don't know what I"m talking about]."

Which is to say, you're describing pro cycling a decade ago. And what you don't know about is the gradual, difficult, but affirmatively effective antidoping work - from fans, journalists, riders (yes, ones at the top level), team managers, anti-doping agencies (not all of them) - that has resulted in less doping, slower races (yes! slower races!), and more (shall we say) human biological profiles of top-tier riders.

Anyway, my initial point - as a cycling fan - was bemoaning dope in sport, and bemoaning the halfsteps that some sports take to weed out doping. Has cycling been perfect? Ha! Far from it. But at least their suspensions are for real.
posted by entropone at 5:36 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bonds was purely a scapegoat that sportswriters loved to hate, who didn't even use a banned substance...

Well, other than the amphetamines.
posted by Lazlo at 5:47 PM on August 19, 2012


And what you don't know about is the gradual, difficult, but affirmatively effective antidoping work - from fans, journalists, riders (yes, ones at the top level), team managers, anti-doping agencies (not all of them) - that has resulted in less doping, slower races (yes! slower races!), and more (shall we say) human biological profiles of top-tier riders.

You mean the antidoping work that has resulted in zero out of the last fifteen Tours de France -- the flagship race of the sport -- having a top-three that didn't feature at least one known doper? Well, not counting the most recent one, but it's only been a month. Four of the last seven winners have had their titles stripped; if the charges against Armstrong stick, Carlos Sastre will have been the only Tour de France winner who kept his title from the first decade of the 21st Century.
posted by Etrigan at 6:08 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait...fake supplements?

*spits out Contadorios*
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:21 PM on August 19, 2012


Bonds was purely a scapegoat that sportswriters loved to hate, who didn't even use a banned substance...
Lazlo: Well, other than the amphetamines.
Admittedly, but they weren't actually banned until 2006, when he failed the test, and it was his first and only failure; kind of close to the wire all things considered. But that doesn't change the reality that Bonds was a "scapegoat": baseball didn't ban most of the substances involved until after he was alleged to have used them, and there was a widespread culture of acceptance (as we now know) making the imbalanced persecution of Bonds suspect in terms of choice of targets.

And anyway, if you want to talk about amphetamines and Hall of Famers, you might want to google the term "greenies". When we kick Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle and Hank Aaron and Joe Morgan out of the Hall of Fame, then maybe there's a case to be made for why a guy like Bonds will likely be excluded, at least for a few years.
graphnerd: And let's not pretend that he's a total victim. Even if he didn't make extensive use of PEDs (it's shocking to see anyone who believes that he didn't), he went out of his way to not endear himself to fans and the media. That's part of the job of an entertainer.
When did you meet Barry Bonds? Because... the "fans" part is pretty questionable. Surely you aren't suggesting he should lose his livelihood because a rat like Rick Reilly had an axe to grind? I mean, no one says rock stars can't be rock stars when they act hedonistically, because hey they're entertainers too and are paid to endear themselves to fans- right? Because to me, it looks like athletes are paid to be top athletes, and the product of a competitive team is what is being sold to entertain the fans.

Barry Bonds' treatment in the media is like a case study of yellow journalism; too often either the perception of an athlete being colored by racism, or by interpersonal relationships with specific writers, is seen to create and then validate the larger viewpoint of that player. It's pretty simple: writers make a case a particular player is a bad guy, average fans parrot this wisdom, then average fans and writers both retreat to the safety of manufactured consensus. "Well, everyone knows Barry Bonds is a bad guy that everyone hates...".

If you don't believe me, just go ask an average person who created the internet. But I'm sure you've got the real measure of Barry Bonds yourself.
posted by hincandenza at 12:02 AM on August 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Four of the last seven winners have had their titles stripped

Thanks for helping to reinforce my point! Cycling gets a bad rap, but it is doing real things to combat doping.

If you're interested in cherrypicking points to parry, well, I suppose we could do that, but I'd rather communicate on a more intelligent level on this website. If you don't mind.

The best bottom line - better than the growing wave of avowed & dedicated riders, team managers, and others who speak against doping - is that race times are slower. Not just race times, but, the times it takes TDF stages to go up major, iconic climbs. You can track them over the years - and now, they're slower. Data on riders' performance shows that top riders are putting out less power. Intense nerds who study power and performance data are concluding that these athletic performances can be done without doping.

And even if you're cynical and say "well they're still on something," then it's still positive to think that EPO, CERA, and blood boosting aren't being used, because those are dangerous to one's health and they change the sport. Contador was busted for Clenbuterol, and Frank Schleck was busted for some banned diuretic, and while it is bad to break the rules, it's worthwhile to draw the line between banned supplements with grey-area effects, and stuff that raises your hematocrit to 60%.
posted by entropone at 6:42 AM on August 20, 2012


If you're interested in cherrypicking points to parry, well, I suppose we could do that, but I'd rather communicate on a more intelligent level on this website. If you don't mind.

Wow. I am totally awed by your mad debating skillz.

You cited, and I quote, "affirmatively effective antidoping work... that has resulted in less doping". Please clarify what you mean by that, considering that nearly half of the top ten finishers in the Tour de France in this century have been sanctioned for, tested positive for or admitted doping (yes, not necessarily at the Tour itself, but all within the context of cycling). Forty percent isn't "cherrypicking" -- it's indicative that there is still a problem.

while it is bad to break the rules, it's worthwhile to draw the line between banned supplements with grey-area effects, and stuff that raises your hematocrit to 60%.

Oh, I see. It's not really doping, because it's not as bad as, say, mounting a rocket to your bicycle.

We're only two years past a Tour de France winner being stripped of his title. Come back to us in a few more years and we can maybe talk about how effective cycling's anti-doping work has been.
posted by Etrigan at 7:31 AM on August 20, 2012


Anti-doping efforts in sports = Futile
posted by incandissonance at 8:07 AM on August 20, 2012


Sure, it's futile to pretend that we can eliminate doping 100% (we can't do anything 100% - we're only human). But that's not the goal of anti-doping efforts. The goal is to catch dopers (which we are getting pretty good at) and disincentivize doping.
posted by muddgirl at 8:09 AM on August 20, 2012


Etrigan:

a: less doping. evidenced by slower race speeds, slower climbing speeds, and realistic physiology of athletes. see my earlier comment.
b: effectiveness: catching cheaters.
c: "not really doping" - i didn't say anything of the sort that you implied.
d: re: "mad debating skillz" - there's no need to be nasty.
posted by entropone at 3:21 PM on August 20, 2012


You said there is less doping. When I pointed out that there are still a lot of people getting caught, you moved the finish line from "less doping" to "less major doping." And you persist in the idea that lots of people getting caught means an effective anti-doping regimen. I guess we will simply have to disagree about that -- when I hear that the police in City A make twice the arrests as the police in City B, I don't feel like City A is a safer place.

And don't even try to say that I started the nastiness, Mr. or Ms. I'd Rather Communicate On A More Intelligent Level. You shot at me and now you're complaining that I punched you back.
posted by Etrigan at 4:08 PM on August 20, 2012


Apparently the story I linked upthread about Usain Bolt and steroids is at least partly false.
posted by Nelson at 5:45 PM on August 21, 2012


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