Until Wednesday, the trade that brought Cabrera to the Giants looked like a good one. He was hitting .356, 11 home runs, 60 RBI's. The Giants finally looked like they were reaching their potential.
The feeling at AT&T Park Wednesday afternoon as fans arrived for a game was a strange mix of expectation meeting reality. Fans filed in, many still expecting to see their hero Cabrera. Instead, Cabrera packed his bags and went home after Major League Baseball suspended him for 50 games following a positive test for testosterone.
"I think it's about life, it's about athletes, it happens in the Olympics," KNBR baseball analyst Marty Lurie said. "I think Victor Conte said it best. There's going to be new drugs and new masking agents and new drugs and new masking agents. Baseball is a microcosm of the world and we're seeing it right there."
For Gregor Blanco, who played left field Wednesday, maybe it's the break of a lifetime. But for fans, parents and kids who made a hero of Cabrera, it was a hard reality to face.
It's been said that those who want to blindly idolize professional athletes should never venture below the second deck. Whether true or not, it certainly fit the mood at AT&T Park Wednesday. There was disappointment and despair, but already, forgiveness.
"It means that he's made a bad decision, bad news for us," one fan said.
"It wasn't responsible, but steroids is in everything now," Giants fan Roland Ford said. "You never know what happened, so I'm not going to criticize because you never know."
The timing is terrible because the Giants are fighting to make the playoffs and now, Cabrera will miss the rest of the regular season and five games of the playoffs. The suspension also comes after weeks of rumors about Cabrera testing positive. Cabrera appealed the initial test and now the delay will impact the post-season, if the Giants get there.
Testosterone is a naturally-occurring hormone, but taking excessive amounts increases strength and endurance.
The incident occurred around the All Star break, where Cabrera was named MVP. As a first time offender, Cabrera was notified but the ball club was not. After Cabrera appealed and the results were upheld, the club was notified.
"I found out this morning," Giants General Manager Bruce Bochy said. "You know, the club is not notified until the decision is made, so I found out this morning and the...we're disappointed, you know, Melky was having a real nice year for us but, you know, our thoughts right now are we move on.