Miguel Cabrera reported to the Tigers spring training facility in Lakeland today after meeting with the MLB as well as the Tigers and agreeing to a plan of action to deal with his alcohol problem. He has been cleared to begin full workouts immediately with the team, and will be penciled into the lineup just as soon as manager Jim Leyland decides he's ready. He will continue to receive professional treatment for an alcohol problem in the meantime. Privately and publicly, he asked for forgiveness, and he will continue to do so in a one-on-one basis with his teammates in the clubhouse in the coming days.
Those were the key takeaways from today's events a little more than a week after Cabrera was arrested for an alcohol-related incident on the side of a Florida highway. The press conference does not mark the end of the incident, but it does mark the start of a new chapter in the story.
"He is a quality person," Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said. "He has a good heart. He's very supportive of his teammates. He's great with kids. He loves his family. There's so many good things." Dombrowski understood the alcohol problems are serious but added he hoped "we can put these type of things behind him and all those other things will shine forward."
Cabrera, speaking mainly in Spanish translated to English by assistant GM Al Avila, told the media this afternoon he made a one bad decision and he'll work with doctors to get his life back on a positive track. "I've worked very hard for a period of time in overcoming this, and I just want to get back and play and ask for forgiveness," he said.
So what comes after words? Actions. Everyone wants to support Cabrera. He wants to get through this. It's time for the words to become actions. Some of which we'll see. Many that we won't. Contrary to the opinions of some in the press, actions that are not in the glaring eye of the public still exist. We do not need a play-by-play report from Dombrowski, Cabrera, his agent, the MLB or the MLB Players Association of what is going on in Cabrera's life. We should not second guess the opinions of doctors -- the professionals who have experience in dealing with alcohol-related problems -- trusted by all the key figures to help Cabrera through this problem.
As fans all we can hope is that Cabrera is willing to battle through this, and able to do so successfully. We hope that he remains the fun, playful figure who messes around with his teammates and happily poses for photos with fans. And, of course, we hope he's able to continue the career arc of a young superstar. Last year at the plate he had one of the most successful seasons in the franchise's 110 year history. Building on that would be tough, but if anyone can do it Cabrera can.
Flip the page. It's a new chapter for Cabrera. We all hope he makes the most of it.