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Cabrera's side of the FanFest "no show"


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http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2765995

 

MIAMI -- Although he is still young, Miguel Cabrera understands that baseball is not only a sport but also a business. However, the Venezuelan wouldn't want the business part to influence the image that fans have of him.

 

"Fans are really important to me, especially the ones from Miami, and I wouldn't like to ruin my relationship with them due to a misunderstanding," Cabrera told ESPNdeportes.com.

 

Last weekend, the Marlins' main executives criticized Cabrera's absence to the Annual FanFest at Dolphin Stadium. President David Samson and general manager Admin Beinfest were "extremely disappointed" with Cabrera's no-show at the event.

 

Cabrera said he had an inescapable commitment related to his father's health and that he tried to let the Marlins know through his agents.

 

"I'd already separated that date for an appointment related to my father's health. The Marlins informed me just a week before the festival and I couldn?t cancel my meeting, and that's what I told my agents," said Cabrera.

 

"In four years in the major leagues, I've only assisted once at that event and it was never such a big deal. I don't know what's so different now," he added.

 

The difference could be that Cabrera, who made $472,000 in 2006, filed for salary arbitration for the first time in his career Friday. The player is asking for $7.2 millions and the team is offering $6.7 millions.

 

"My absence had nothing to do with the pending arbitration, because neither the Marlins nor me believe in the process. It's purely a business issue and I understand it perfectly," he said.

 

"I'm not mad with the administration, although I'm a little worried that Miami fans could now have a distorted image of myself. I'm committed to doing the best for the team," Cabrera said. "Moreover, to compensate for my absence, I promise to assist in every activity the Marlins may organize in the following days," he added.

 

In four seasons, Cabrera has a .311 average with 104 home runs and 404 RBIs. Last year, he averaged .339 and he fought for the batting title until the last day of the season with Freddy Sanchez, who ended with an average of .344. Cabrera, who will turn 24 in April, could become a free agent before his 26th birthday.

 

With the salaries being paid nowadays, Cabrera and lefty Johan Santana, will surely vie in 2008 to become the first Venezuelans to get $100 million contracts in Major League Baseball.

 

Cabrera said he will travel from Miami to Arizona on Thursday for his salary arbitration hearing on Friday and then will return to Florida to start training with the Marlins in Palm Beach on Tuesday.

 

"I'm in great shape for the start of spring training, because I've been playing winter ball in Venezuela," Cabrera said.

 

Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.

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I'm happy with the rebuttal. It's probably an excuse, but I'll accept it anyway.

 

It was pretty classless on the organization's part to call him out for not showing up. I wonder if they were deliberately trying to sully his image in the fans' eyes. I can only think of a few possible motives for doing that, and none of them are encouraging.

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http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2765995

 

MIAMI -- Although he is still young, Miguel Cabrera understands that baseball is not only a sport but also a business. However, the Venezuelan wouldn't want the business part to influence the image that fans have of him.

 

"Fans are really important to me, especially the ones from Miami, and I wouldn't like to ruin my relationship with them due to a misunderstanding," Cabrera told ESPNdeportes.com.

 

Last weekend, the Marlins' main executives criticized Cabrera's absence to the Annual FanFest at Dolphin Stadium. President David Samson and general manager Admin Beinfest were "extremely disappointed" with Cabrera's no-show at the event.

 

Cabrera said he had an inescapable commitment related to his father's health and that he tried to let the Marlins know through his agents.

 

"I'd already separated that date for an appointment related to my father's health. The Marlins informed me just a week before the festival and I couldn?t cancel my meeting, and that's what I told my agents," said Cabrera.

 

"In four years in the major leagues, I've only assisted once at that event and it was never such a big deal. I don't know what's so different now," he added.

 

The difference could be that Cabrera, who made $472,000 in 2006, filed for salary arbitration for the first time in his career Friday. The player is asking for $7.2 millions and the team is offering $6.7 millions.

 

"My absence had nothing to do with the pending arbitration, because neither the Marlins nor me believe in the process. It's purely a business issue and I understand it perfectly," he said.

 

"I'm not mad with the administration, although I'm a little worried that Miami fans could now have a distorted image of myself. I'm committed to doing the best for the team," Cabrera said. "Moreover, to compensate for my absence, I promise to assist in every activity the Marlins may organize in the following days," he added.

 

In four seasons, Cabrera has a .311 average with 104 home runs and 404 RBIs. Last year, he averaged .339 and he fought for the batting title until the last day of the season with Freddy Sanchez, who ended with an average of .344. Cabrera, who will turn 24 in April, could become a free agent before his 26th birthday.

 

With the salaries being paid nowadays, Cabrera and lefty Johan Santana, will surely vie in 2008 to become the first Venezuelans to get $100 million contracts in Major League Baseball.

 

Cabrera said he will travel from Miami to Arizona on Thursday for his salary arbitration hearing on Friday and then will return to Florida to start training with the Marlins in Palm Beach on Tuesday.

 

"I'm in great shape for the start of spring training, because I've been playing winter ball in Venezuela," Cabrera said.

 

Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.

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If FanFest is so important to Samson et al, I would think it would be in the player's contract to appear. Apparently it's not, since Miguel only appeared once in 4 years.

 

On the other hand, Feb 10 was circled on my calendar ever since mid-December. Either Miggy is lying that they told him just a week ago, or the FO is real bad at communicating the date to the players.

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On the other hand, Feb 10 was circled on my calendar ever since mid-December. Either Miggy is lying that they told him just a week ago, or the FO is real bad at communicating the date to the players.

Which is more likely? Cabrera didn't know the day he was going to leave Venezuela and return to South Florida for 8-9 months until last week?

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On the other hand, Feb 10 was circled on my calendar ever since mid-December. Either Miggy is lying that they told him just a week ago, or the FO is real bad at communicating the date to the players.

Which is more likely? Cabrera didn't know the day he was going to leave Venezuela and return to South Florida for 8-9 months until last week?

No, I'm sure he has known when spring training begins for more than a week.

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Hey guys I saw this in the paper this morning. Seems to have a little bit more than the ESPN article, but mostly the same.

 

Cabrera: Legitimate excuse for absence

 

By Juan C. Rodriguez

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Posted February 16 2007

Miguel Cabrera found the Marlins' disappointment over his missing team promotional activities last week a bit unsettling.

 

Reached by phone Thursday evening, Cabrera said he read General Manager Admin Beinfest's and President David Samson's pointed commentary in the Venezuelan press. Cabrera, who arrived in South Florida on Tuesday, had what he considered a legitimate excuse for skipping the caravan.

The Marlins never heard it.

 

"I had a family commitment with my father," Cabrera said. "They called me the week before, and I couldn't cancel that engagement. I'd had it for two months. They were told I had a family matter, but I think they took it another way.

 

"Like always, people always think bad of you for things that are said without reason. In reality, [the Marlins] didn't have any reason to say anything bad about me. They were explained the reasons why I couldn't go, and I couldn't cancel that commitment with my father because it had to do with his health. The family for us is very important, and a family member's health comes first before an event they told me about a week in advance."

 

The Marlins never heard from Cabrera or his representative, SFX agent Fernando Cuza, about a prior obligation with his father. They also said each player and his agent are mailed a Beinfest-signed letter in December detailing the caravan dates.

 

Cabrera, who will be in Phoenix today for his arbitration hearing, never had any personal communication with the Marlins.

 

Asked if he was sure his representatives informed the team he would miss the event, Cabrera said: "Yes, yes, yes, I think so. They communicated to them I couldn't go because of a family commitment. I couldn't explain more because I was pretty busy and couldn't get into details."

 

As of Thursday, Cabrera had not spoken to anybody in the organization about the matter. He'll get a chance today, when an arbitration panel will hear arguments as to whether Cabrera should earn $6.7 million or $7.4 million in 2007.

 

Cabrera denied that his pending hearing had anything to do with missing the caravan, which culminated Saturday with FanFest at Dolphin Stadium.

 

"Just like they said in the papers, this is a business and I know this is a business," he said. "Whatever happens in arbitration, there doesn't have to be [a conflict] between them and me. An arbiter will decide and it won't go beyond that ... I don't have any rancor toward them, and they don't have any toward me.

 

"They wanted to pit me against the fans, but [the fans] know how I am. This isn't the first time I miss a FanFest. The years I've been playing I've missed three times and assisted once. That's why I was a little surprised about their attitude toward me because this isn't the first time I miss an event like this."

 

Cabrera and the Marlins both are ready to bury the issue and get on with spring training, which starts in earnest Sunday with the first workout for pitchers and catchers.

 

"I'm not mad at anybody," Cabrera said. "I'm not mad at them for what they said in the newspaper. I'm relaxed, thinking positive and ready to incorporate myself [with the team] the first day."

 

Juan C. Rodriguez can be reached at jcrodriguez@sun-sentinel.com

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