Kicking Rocks: Just Say No

Oh Melky.

Melky, Melky, Melky.

How you’ve screwed over so many now.

With word breaking of Melky Cabrera’s indiscretion and subsequent 50-game suspension, there’s been a rush of emotion and not one bit of it is good. Who cares if he came out, admitted the wrongdoing and apologized. You can stuff your sorry’s in a sack as George Costanza would say. Is an apology going to replace a .346 average with a decent mix of power and speed in the middle of the Giants’ lineup during a pennant race? No. Is it going to help fantasy owners who have grown to rely on his production at such a crucial time of the season? No. So really…who cares if he’s sorry?  He might as well have pulled a Sammy Sosa and pretended not to speak English because the end results are the same. Melky cheated, got caught and it’s the rest of the baseball community, both real and fantasy, that suffer.

As a fan of the game, it disgusts me. Haven’t baseball players learned their lesson yet? The reasoning behind their actions is completely irrelevant. Juicing, in any way, shape or form, is illegal and while 50 games is a long time, some team is still going to hand Melky a one year, $8M contract for next season. Is he losing money because of this? Absolutely. But eight million sure isn’t chump change, now is it?

The whole thing makes me sick as a fantasy player as well. Not that I own him at all — some of you might even remember a little piece I wrote up on him back in March. But what aggravates me as an owner, especially an owner in a league that awards prizes, is the guy who profits off of Melky’s cheating ways. Take the guy who’s sitting in first in my 15-team, mixed roto league, for example. Give him a non-juiced Melky or some other shlub and see what that level of production does for his team. Maybe he doesn’t take a hit in the counting stats too much, but he’s certainly going to drop in batting average. One point? Two points? Whatever it may be, the overall league standings are close enough that it could mean the difference between first and fourth place.

Perhaps Major League Baseball should step up their preventative measures a little more and then the fantasy community can follow suit. You could certainly get individual clubs to police themselves better if they were forced to forfeit all statistics of the guilty player. Take away Melky’s runs scored and his RBI, adjust game scores accordingly and see what the Giants’ record looks like then.

Fantasy owners would then have to do the same thing. Forfeit all of Melky’s stats and adjust the league standings or head to head records. Turn it into yet another risk/reward scenario for owners on draft day. Got a guy who, from virtually out of nowhere, puts up monster numbers? Draft him at your own risk. If he gets caught juicing at any point during the season or within a month of the final regular season game, then you have to forfeit his stats and accept the standings as they would be if you were one guy short.

The real problem here is that there isn’t enough outrage over PEDs infractions. I don’t know if MLB is dealing with the problem in the best possible way and the public has grown apathetic. We’re bored by the conversation. The discussion is already old and tired and doesn’t touch us on a personal level. Maybe if the millions who play fantasy baseball found themselves directly affected, you’d have more people fighting against it.

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Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site,, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at

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He might as well have pulled a *Sammy Sosa* and pretended not to speak English because the end results are the same.