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CSI: Buster Olney

Oct 8, 2009, 11:16 AM EDT

Miguel Cabrera has apologized to his teammates and the Tigers have been eliminated, so the whole issue of him getting his drink on and getting violent is now less a public matter than it is a matter between Cabrera, his wife, his team, his health and the law, but I’d be remiss in not pointing out Buster Olney’s piece on it all today.  He contacted an expert to determine whether or not Cabrera was still drunk at gametime last Saturday. The upshot:

Jim Fell, the Director for Traffic Safety and Enforcement Programs of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, in Calverton, Md., said in a phone interview that the typical person processes alcohol at the rate of about .015 per hour, which means that someone with a blood alcohol level of .26 would need about 17 hours for the alcohol to clear his or her system. An experienced drinker would metabolize alcohol at about .020 per hour . . . an experienced drinker would have required 13 hours to metabolize alcohol at that level.

Based on the time of the BAC test and first pitch, that means that if Cabrera metabolizes booze like an experienced drinker, he was at a .08 at the time he showed up at the ballpark and a .02 at first pitch.  If he’s more of a regular Joe, he would have been a .08 at game time. Of course, Olney’s expert did not factor in the healing power of Sausage McMuffins in all of this, so I’m a bit dubious of the results. 

That aside, I’m inclined to think Cabrera would be better off if he metabolized like a normal person. A BAC of 08 is probably buzzed. With a .02, you’re likely entering full-blown hangover mode.  Your mileage may vary, but while being sober is always preferable, drinkers I know — and Cabrera sounds like one — tend to function a tad better with a little grease in the gears than they do when the gears are grinding following a bender.

Anyone who wants to take their last shots at Cabrera had better do so in the comments, because I’m not writing about him again until the inevitable “Cabrera enters rehab” story comes out.

  1. David Wells - Oct 8, 2009 at 11:19 AM

    Your mileage may vary, but drinkers I know — and Cabrera sounds like one — tend to function a tad better with a little grease in the gears than without if you know what I mean.

    I think this is a ridiculous thing to say! I would never show up drunk to work!

  2. Craig Calcaterra - Oct 8, 2009 at 11:23 AM

    I actually didn’t say that the way I meant it. I need to edit. The point isn’t that drunk > sober for drinkers; it’s that buzzed > hungover. At least for the hardcore drinker.

  3. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Oct 8, 2009 at 11:28 AM

    I know what you meant, but it was too easy to get a joke in about Wells using the quote in hand. :)

  4. Grant - Oct 8, 2009 at 12:48 PM

    Of course you’re joking, but I suspect that either situation is less than ideal for a ballplayer. This is a sport that places a premium on hand-eye coordination and reflexes, after all. I can tell you that my own reflexes and coordination, bad at the best of times, become downright abysmal when under the influence in some form or another.

  5. Mode: Theif and Lair - Oct 8, 2009 at 1:35 PM

    I’m a much better dancer when I’m drunk. Well, I think I am, please don’t ask my wife.

  6. Alex Poterack - Oct 8, 2009 at 2:28 PM

    It’s important to note that if Cabrera was able to have a BAC of 0.26 without passing out, odds are he’s an experienced drinker.

  7. Fish - Oct 8, 2009 at 3:43 PM

    the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, in Calverton, Md.
    The what?!??!?! Someone has their oceans mixed up.

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