Thursday, August 16, 2012

For Major League Baseball, good news comes with the bad

Luckily for Bud Selig and Major League Baseball, Felix Hernandez pitched a perfect game yesterday.

If King Felix hadn’t come through, not only for the Seattle Mariners but for his sport, all the baseball-related talk today would be completely focused on Melky Cabrera’s 50-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. Instead, the genius of Felix’s performance in his 1-0 perfecto and his charm in his post-game interview is the talk of baseball, as it should be.

Unlike his former New York Yankees teammates, I’m not at all surprised about Melky’s suspension. Cabrera was clutch for the Yankees, with numerous walk-off hits in 2009 and the first cycle hit for by a Yankee in 14 years. But Cabrera never became a superstar, which Yankee coach Kevin Long attributed to his bad habits and lack of work ethic. Supposedly, he had turned his life around. But in my mind that never explained why he all of a sudden became one of the best players in the league. Now we have the answer to that riddle.

I do give Melky some credit for accepting the punishment and expressing remorse for his actions, unlike Ryan Braun who dragged the sport through the mud on his way toward getting off on a technicality. But that’s where my praise ends as Cabrera’s name will forever be added to the list of baseball cheaters.

In contrast, Hernandez has now achieved baseball immortality. Unlike Philip Humber, who no one will remember through a perfecto too after this year, Hernandez’s perfect game cements his status as the best young pitcher in baseball, on his way to even greater things. We all knew how talented he is, which is why so many Yankee fans are desperate to see him in pinstripes. But his brilliance did more than just lift his teammates to victory yesterday. He also lifted up his sport.

Thanks to ChicagoMayne via en.wikipedia for the Felix Hernandez photo.  

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