As the public corruption trial of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick continued to unfold in Detroit and yet another police chief was embroiled in charges of a sex scandal, diehard Detroit baseball fans at least got some relief as Miguel Cabrera, third baseman, became just the 15th player to win baseball’s Triple Crown and the first since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. It happened as the Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals 1-0 this week. http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/03/can-cabrera-sew-up-a-triple-crown/
Since I returned to the Detroit area this summer, I have warmed to my hometown team again and started to appreciate the way it has energized a city struggling to rebound along with the auto industry. I admit to reluctantly giving up my love of the Yankees, who have clinched the American League East title, while the Tigers just won the Central Division.
The real story for me is the low key nature of the Venezuelan native, despite his dazzling American League-leading credentials: .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBI (runs batted in). Cabrera, who is idolized by his South American countrymen as well, has been called one of baseball’s reluctant superstars and he’s been described as never one to crave attention. Tigers catcher Alex Avila told a reporter that he’s not a talkative guy and “he lets his ability carry through.”
Cabrera has also had to overcome a drinking problem that flared out of control during spring training last year when he was arrested in a drunken driving incident in Florida. As testimony to his determination to be a model player since then, Cabrera is the team’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, awarded to the player “who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.” As the city of Detroit struggles to turn around years of decline, Cabrera is one of the shining lights. The Tigers last won a World Series in 1984 and last advanced to the World Series in 2006. Now Cabrera faces the challenge of following in Yastrzemski’s footsteps even further – the Boston Red Sox advanced all the way to the World Series when their left field player won the Triple Crown 45 years ago. The Red Sox team that year was named the Impossible Dream.