DETROIT — Miguel Cabrera finally met with the media on Sunday afternoon and said that having family in town was the reason he avoided the press after a 2-0 loss in Saturday's Game 3 of the World Series.
Whether or not you accept that excuse probably depends on whether you think talking with reporters is in the job description for a ballplayer. But it's clear that Cabrera's disappearing act — which received plenty of ink as the Tigers moved a game closer to being swept by the San Francisco Giants— received both plenty of ink from reporters and quiet consternation from teammates who had fielded questions despite the disappointment of falling behind three games to none in the World Series.
It's doubtful that Cabrera's excuse will fly with teammates for a few different reasons. For one, it's presumable that many other Tigers had family and friends in town that they would have liked to see sooner. For another, Cabrera took his time to sit down and have a meal in the team's dining room, just like he did during the ALDS with Oakland when he drew the ire of teammate Octavio Dotel.
For anyone who wants to believe this doesn't matter to anyone not typing on a keyboard, check out the reaction that Tigers manager Jim Leyland had before the game. While being careful not to hang Cabrera too far out to dry, it was clear he wasn't digging his star player's act if it wasn't backed up by a good excuse. He said he was going to talk with Cabrera to find out if the third baseman had a good excuse for leaving the ballpark. "I will deal with the situation and check into it, because you have to be there through the good and the bad," Leyland said. "You can't be on this podium only when you win. When we're 0-3, I've got to be up here and I'm not the happiest camper in the world. However, you have a responsibility.
"We're all big boys and you've got to face (the media) whether you like it or not. You can't just be here when everything is going well. That's our responsibility. Nobody from the Detroit Tigers ducks that."
Did Leyland close the door on the situation and attempt to move on? Hardly.
"If you want to ask me about it later on a personal level, I'd be glad to answer your question, but I don't want to make too big a deal of that right now," Leyland said. "Just let me take care of that and I'm sure at some point I'll have an answer for you. I'll give you guys my phone number. You can call me all winter, I'll give you an answer to it."