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Giants beat writer apologizes to Melky Cabrera about PED rumor

Jul 28, 2012, 1:01 PM EDT

Melky Cabrera Getty Getty Images

Here’s something you don’t see every day: a writer apologizing to a player for giving life to a rumor of PED usage.

You see, there was a nasty rumor flying around on Twitter that Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Andrew Baggarly of decided to ask Cabrera about it. Cabrera categorically denied the rumors, saying MLB hasn’t informed him or the players union about a positive test. He even contacted his agent to make sure. Baggarly then decided to pass along word of Cabrera’s denial. However, Baggarly later had regrets of acknowledging the rumor in the first place and issued a public apology to Cabrera.

Here’s part of the apology, which you can read in full on

We live in a different media universe and the rules are changing every day. Information is immediate. The level of interaction between fans and journalists is greater than ever. Anyone can self-publish any thought that rumbles through his or her head, true or untrue. It can be a confusing cacophony for any journalist, and it certainly is for me at times.

It’s my job to serve readers. But what if it’s just one tenth of one percent of my readership who are asking these questions? Is it my responsibility to respond to them in a public way?

Asking these questions from a different vantage point: If I were Melky Cabrera, would I appreciate a reporter who knocked down a rumor that was just a whisper in some corners of the Internet? Or would I be royally pissed to see my name mentioned alongside PEDs, no matter the context, by a credentialed, professional journalist?

It’s obvious, isn’t it? Well, it should have been obvious to me. It wasn’t.

In retrospect, I made the wrong decision to address these rumors on my Twitter account and disseminate it to my 30,000-plus followers.

So I feel it’s important that I issue a public apology to Melky Cabrera for giving greater voice to a rumor that, to the best of my knowledge and on his word, has absolutely no basis in fact.

It’s a good read on a sensitive topic and a cautionary tale for anyone who considers running with a rumor which could do some serious damage to someone’s reputation. Baggarly may have made a mistake to run with the rumor, but he deserves credit for holding himself accountable. If only we could say the same for those who continue to recklessly spread rumors of PED usage about the likes of Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza.

  1. sfchamps2010 - Jul 28, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Baggs is class act!

    • Old Gator - Jul 28, 2012 at 1:22 PM

      Yes he is. I give him less than a week to live.

    • ezthinking - Jul 29, 2012 at 2:17 AM

      You mean classless act. It’s his job. He choked. The trouble is an error on the field is forgotten in a day/week. An error on Twitter or now in an article, never goes away with the Internet.

      Based upon the criteria of the Mitchell Report work, in version 2.0, Melky in is it.

      Nice job Bagpipes.

  2. mybrunoblog - Jul 28, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Melky was so upset that he hired Ryan Brauns attorney.

  3. ccmf69 - Jul 28, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    NBC/HBT: “Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly apologizes to Melky Cabrera about PED rumor”…Now, on to the rumor that Baggs flunked his drug test, after he was on Jeopardy this week…

  4. townballblog - Jul 28, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Oh Gator…. I enjoy your sarcasm.

    • spellingcops - Aug 15, 2012 at 8:23 PM

      I think Gator is a condescending

  5. atteckus - Jul 28, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    I give Baggs huge credit for trying to set the record straight. My only reservation is where D.J. tries to extend this “rumor” principle to the career of Jeff Bagwell. There is extensive irrefutable circumstantial evidence concerning his sudden maturation from a scrawny, powerless weakling in the BoSox farm system into a mammoth powerful slugging machine and overly-aggressive gym rat in Houston. Those are not rumors without a basis in fact. What happened to Melky is unfair because its basis is unsupported by any evidence. The questions concerning Bagwell are not unsupported, even if they are not yet conclusively “proven.”

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 28, 2012 at 2:11 PM

      You know, guys can add muscle without PEDs. It can really happen. There are even approved substances that help in the process. From what I know, Bagwell has said that he started doing a bodybuilder’s workout, and he built his body.

      I don’t know if Bagwell used any sort of PED’s (and neither do you) but the idea that added muscle automatically means PED use is ridiculous.

    • hondoheaven47 - Jul 28, 2012 at 2:29 PM

      Did you just say that evidence of Bagwell’s alleged PED use was “irrefutable” and “circumstantial”? I’m not sure if you can use those two words together and have them make sense.

      • CJ - Jul 28, 2012 at 3:48 PM

        yes he did, and no you can’t. I’d usually either call that either oxymoronic or just plain old moronic, but in this case I think he’s managed to be both at the same time.

        …and they said it couldn’t be done!

    • zzalapski - Jul 28, 2012 at 4:20 PM

      “The questions concerning Bagwell are not unsupported, according to people who do not know as much about PEDs as they think they do.”


    • ezthinking - Jul 29, 2012 at 3:03 AM

      “extensive irrefutable circumstantial evidence”

      atteckus must have gotten a “Word-of-the Day” calendar for Christmas and tried to put them all into one sentence – damn the context, truth or facts.

      At least he/she is committed; or maybe should be.

  6. townballblog - Jul 28, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    Atteckus – I think what D.J is saying is that no matter how much circumstantial “evidence” there is it is still just that, circumstantial. As a result, there’s no actual prove and therefore it is nothing but a rumor.

    I think that’s what he’s saying, anyway.

  7. townballblog - Jul 28, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    Indeed, tons of credit to Baggarly for retracting and apologizing.

    He made a mistake (which most if not all of us do constantly), he owned up to it (which the majority don’t), and he apologized (which almost NO ONE ever does).

  8. daweadilx - Jul 28, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    test melky anyway just to be sure.

    • daweadilx - Jul 28, 2012 at 2:41 PM

      10$ says he fails

    • samu0034 - Jul 28, 2012 at 2:46 PM

      Yours is not a world I want to live in.

    • raysfan1 - Jul 28, 2012 at 5:38 PM

      Everyone already is subject to testing, “just to make sure.”

  9. jolt12 - Jul 28, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    An “apology” that consists of all sorts of “look how difficult it is to make the right choices in these confusing days of modern times….please consider my situation” falls well short of owning up. It is more of a “somewhat guilty with a whole lot of explanation.” I’m not impressed. A simple “listen, guys—I was wrong and I never should have published this. And in the future I won’t.” would win me over far more.

    • temporarilyexiled - Jul 28, 2012 at 4:56 PM

      I read his whole piece. While I agree with him that he should’ve been more careful, I also think that I should be so careful. And I don’t know anyone who doesn’t sometimes screw up, if not on a regular basis. I don’t have any problem with the nature of his apology. It’s just my opinion, but I think he did fine.

      • jolt12 - Jul 28, 2012 at 5:55 PM

        I have absolutely no issue with your disagreement. But I do stand by my opinion. Not a big deal.

    • temporarilyexiled - Jul 29, 2012 at 12:35 PM

      I agree more with how he put it simply because I believe it’s more alligned with reality. There’s a delicate balance between being a good enough reporter to get the story, and going too far. Sometimes, it’s really hard to know where you stand, until you realize you screwed up in hindsight.

  10. kwf1224 - Jul 28, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    I think Melky Cabrera just really good.

  11. jlinatl - Jul 28, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    It is a difficult situation. At what point does it go from gossip to legitimate rumor? I know some will have issue with the idea that any rumor should be considered legitimate. Rumors are, often times unfortuantely, what drives the sports business be it PEDs, trades, drafts, etc.

    Not sure there is an easy answer but I would imagine if you ignore every rumor you probably won’t be employed long.

    • jolt12 - Jul 28, 2012 at 6:02 PM

      I agree that there are some difficult issues. And I agree that economic pressure does drive some of these decisions (for the writer). My error might be in applying generally accepted standards of journalism to this other thing…sports blogging. Reporting documented, verified facts vs. writing whatever you feel like, knowing that if you mis-report, you can just apologize and move on to the next rumor.

    • ezthinking - Jul 29, 2012 at 2:33 AM

      It’s not difficult, ask him; but not in front of a bunch of other reporters who ‘report’ on the question, not the answer. Journalism 101.

  12. hcf95688 - Jul 28, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    Something is fishy. If Melky hasn’t been messing around with PEDs, why did he contact his agent to see if he failed/passed a test? If he’s clean what does he have to worry about?

    • ezthinking - Jul 29, 2012 at 2:31 AM

      hcf95688 plagiarizes posts and violates copy write laws.

      Prove me wrong.

      Oh wait, I forgot it won’t affect your livelihood and it won’t matter if you do or don’t anything one way or the other.

      My bad; bad example.

      Instead – I say penetrate yourself. Unlikely anyone else will, even if you pay for it.

    • Kevin S. - Jul 29, 2012 at 12:53 PM

      Because it’s entirely possible that there could have been a false postive, or he wasn’t careful enough checking labels at GNC. It’s eminently reasonable to be concern about a possible failed test if your name becomes linked with PEDs, even if you haven’t been messing around with them.

  13. 49ersgiants4life - Jul 28, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Dude has never fluctuated in weight and he isn’t even that big so I don’t get these rumors but as always people believe guilty until proven innocent

    • myopinionisgarbage - Jul 29, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      He will when he gets older and his metabolism slows down. Everyone does. These days that makes you a potential steroid user, not a person with natural physiological progression.

  14. 1historian - Jul 29, 2012 at 5:40 AM

    The whole 1st paragraph is an excuse.

    Apology not accepted.

    • mavajo - Aug 15, 2012 at 2:51 PM

      Neither was Melky’s. C’ya in 50 games, chump.

  15. manifunk - Aug 15, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Guess Melky owes the writer an apology now.

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