By:  Kurt Snyder

“I am tired of hearing that they are going to kidnap my mother, and I don’t know whether it is a policeman or a bad guy, I don’t know who they are,” “All I know is if I don’t pay, those people disappear.”

                                                       – Miguel Cabrera  (via The Detroit Free Press)

Professional baseball player. 11-time All-Star. World Series Champion. Triple Crown winner. League MVP’s. League batting titles.

As one of the best right-handed hitters in the history of the game, Miguel Cabrera is a certain 1st ballot Hall of Famer, sure to have his #24 retired at Comerica Park and a statue erected to honor an epic baseball career.

The Tigers will pay him $30M+ annually for at least the next 8 years.  And he may need every penny.

Is he happy? No. Not at all. In fact, he is scared to death. But why? How could a man who has had all of this success playing America’s game, have a worry in the world?  Well, actually, worry dominates his life.

Miggy spends his money trying to keep his mother and family safe in Venezuela. He is a man totally consumed with what’s happening in his homeland, a place he cannot go without risking his own life, a place ravaged with nightmarish political unrest.

This is what Miggy is saddled with these days. We’ve wondered all season what’s wrong with him, and now we have the answer.

Statistically, he is having one of the worst years of his career, again saddled with injuries including back pain he has battled since hurting it during the WBC last spring. But his troubles go so much further than that.

Miguel Cabrera is having one of the worst years of his entire life, and you can take baseball completely out of the equation. It starts and ends with the safety of his family in Venezuela.

As fans, we need to take all of this into account the next time we see him play. We no longer need to wonder, “What’s wrong with Miggy?” This is a horrible burden he is carrying. I can’t imagine how he manages to focus on the game, at the plate or in the field, without his mind wandering and worrying about whether his mother will make it through another day.

I regret having written anything critical about him this season given what we now know. He doesn’t deserve any criticism about anything. None. Only support.

This is a man in another place. Miggy’s attention has been pulled in another direction, away from baseball, to the horrible events in Venezuela.

If he shows frustration, who are we to blame him? If he is lacking in energy or emotion or enthusiasm, who are we to question it?

Just imagine. He’s been told to send money. He’s been asked to send medicine. He’s even been asked to send weapons. When a man is totally immersed in such a horrible political nightmare taking place in the land where his family is no longer safe, who are we to place any importance on how he performs on the baseball diamond?

In comparison, baseball means nothing. And the best thing we can do as fans is to stand behind him.

As he saunters to the plate the day the Tigers return to Detroit, fans must stand and cheer. It’s really the only way we can show we care. It’s really the only way to show that we understand why this year has been such a struggle. I expect it to happen. I for one, may attend my first game this year for this reason alone.

Baseball in Detroit this season has been tough to handle. But in the grand scheme of things, it means very little.


  1. I can’t understand how a man with his resources can’t hire the best black ops mercenary team in the world to go in and get them out.


  2. This could possibly explain the “counseling” Al Avila was giving Miguel in the clubhouse a couple weeks back. Maybe it was more of “comfort” Al was offering. Let this be a lesson: (sic) When signing a foreign player from a country in turmoil, when given the chance, get their families out of harms way while they can.


  3. Socialism and all socialist are evil! Except for their elite they turn their people’s lives into a living hell. Venezuela is only the latest example. Be it Nazi Germany or Cambodia or China or NYC or Detroit. When criminals and parasite’s rule…Miguel has my sympathy and I wish him the best.


    • “Socialist” means a lot of different things. The relationship of corporations to the government in Nazi Germany and Venezuela, for example, have little if anything in common.


      • Miggy’s travail at the hands of a corrupt dictatorship has nothing to do with political disagreement in a functioning democracy over whether government should provide social security, public education, single-payer health insurance, national parks, or public transportation (including interstate highways).


  4. Thank you Kurt. And thank you for taking the high road by apologizing, that’s something we never read other Detroit writers do. And you are correct, we have all wondered what was wrong with Miggy and this certainly answers those questions. He has our prayers and support.


  5. Both Deke and Chuck have already more or less said what I was going to write, but I don’t think it would take much more than a good bribe to get the officials to look the other way while he hustled his family the heck out of that socialist nightmare of a country.


  6. So, the team is going nowhere this year …. give him a leave of absence and send him home for a few weeks ….


  7. Dace-Cabrera has a fine line to walk. His family is held hostage. My sympathy to Miguel’s family. Remember urguth urbinas family was slaughtered by Chavez. When he went home to protect them he was put in prison.


  8. He is the best hitter of our time, with the most horrible family situation of any. Let’s all pray for Miggy and his family, as well as others who are suffering from world wide tyranny.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks Kurt for bringing it to everyones attention. We need to support these men since there are probably others with the same worry. Now all we need is to see the Tigers step up and help Miggy any way they can. All of baseball should be involved as well as the United States. We reap the benefits from these guys, they need our help.


  10. It is terrible down there. I have a Venezuelan player on my team who has played in the minors. His father pays a lot of money to keep his family save and also said once he had to watch a man point a gun to his 5 year daughter. His father told him to never come back!


  11. I do feel for him, but he should take a leave of absence. Whatever has affected his game, he has been another nail in the teams coffin this year. I’d rather see him out of the lineup. I can’t solve his problems. I’m just a fan, and I’d like to see my team do well. I suppose I could tell him how hard it is for some of us to get up in the morning and go to work. I’m not trying to be mean, but I’m just saying….either solve your problem or leave the team…..


Comments are closed.