DETROIT – On the verge of becoming MLB’s first Triple Crown winner since 1967, Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera is aware that all eyes are on him—especially those of the impressionable young men and women in his community.
Playing in a city ravaged by poverty and injustice, Cabrera knows that being a positive example can make an enormous impact on the local youth, many of whom lack dependable male role models in their lives.
“I just try my hardest, no matter what,” said Cabrera. “If you can have the best batting average, great, but why stop there? Why not be the best at everything you can? Home runs, RBIs, stolen bases, clean throws—whatever it is you’re capable of, excel to your fullest extent.”
Many local teens have heeded his example, applying his words and actions into the contexts of their own lives.
“Man, before this year, the only hustle I had goin’ was selling dope,” said 14-year-old Devin Wells. “But then Miguel comes around and starts dominating EVERYTHING, and so I was like, ‘Maybe I need to have some higher ambitions.’”
In addition to selling drugs, Wells now picks pockets on public transportation and spray-paints his name on garages in affluent neighborhoods.
“It feels amazing,” he said. “I’m finally reaching my full potential, and it’s all thanks to Miguel. When I grow up, I wanna be just like him, but like a criminal version.”
Hundreds of other local youth have followed in Cabrera’s footsteps, each of them inspired by specific moments in his Triple Crown campaign.
“I remember this one time when he tried to squeeze in a double off of Ichiro, and he’s just so chunky, so you knew he was gonna get thrown out, but it was just really special for me to see him going for it anyway,” recalled Davis Moreno, an overweight 16-year-old. “I used to be really self-conscious about my weight, but now I don’t let it stop me from chasing my dreams.”
Moreno is now making $300 a week mugging tourists at knifepoint. Additionally, he’s learning how to hotwire cars, and from his bedroom he’s charging friends $15 to wipe stolen iPhones, which he hopes will be a gateway into the exciting world of cyber crime.
“It’s just great to see that I’m making a difference,” said Cabrera with a tear in his eye. “These kids have truly shoplifted my heart.”
Image via John Rieger, US Presswire