Thursday, August 16, 2012

The C and C Boys

He was a 21 year old switch hitting outfielder batting .385 in the minors when he was called up. I remember thinking that this might be the next one in the line of succession at the most storied position in baseball: center field for the New York Yankees. There was even a name that surfaced regarding the possibilities for this young man and the other phenom who arrived at virtually the same moment. The "C and C boys" were meant to conjure up images of Mantle and Maris. Cano and Cabrera were the future of the franchise.

But it never happened. They were too relaxed, too much into the night life, too much potential and not enough production. And after a few disappointing seasons, a still young Melky Cabrera was banished from the scene, so that his more talented best friend, Robinson Cano, could concentrate and flourish on the big stage.

When the greatness started to appear, first in Kansas City, and then in San Francisco, I thought that it was just another example of  the Yankees giving up too soon on a player. All those Jay Buhner like trades came to mind. I was happy that both of the C and C boys were making their mark on the game.

Now, Cabrera is making a very different mark. Now we look at his accomplishments and question whether he realized that he was just not good enough without a little help from "friends". A positive test for banned substances and an indictment for everything he has accomplished in 2011 and now. Cabrera received a $6 million payday for 2012 and is scheduled for free agency at the end of this season. Untold millions awaited.

There must be a tremendous pull towards doing whatever it takes to enhance your average, your reputation and your pocketbook when you feel that stardom is just out of your reach. Today, for Cabrera, that promise of 2006, when the future lay before him and Robby Cano, when the most vaunted position in all of baseball was firmly in his grasp, is but a distant dream. Today, he wakes up in the middle of a nightmare of his own doing.

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