Nonetheless, Cabrera's suspension reignited a debate about the validity of baseball's drug-testing program. The Ryan Braun controversy last winter embarrassed the commissioner's office and prompted a stricter policy for collecting the samples. The players' union has agreed to an expanded blood-testing protocol for human growth hormone, but it is administered only in the winter and during spring training.
There are critics, and some of them are in big-league dugouts. Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson was infuriated upon learning of Cabrera's cheating. The Diamondbacks have chased Cabrera's Giants this season, and Cabrera hit .462 (18 for 39) and scored eight runs against Arizona. He was the MVP of the All-Star Game.
"I can say that certainly the majority of people who are in this game care about the integrity of the game," Gibson told the Arizona Republic. "We're all committed to cleaning it up. Obviously, there's not a big enough deterrent if it continues."
Schneider, who is actively involved in union matters and is a former player rep, respectfully disagreed.
"It's definitely enough," he said. "No matter what profession or what you do, if there is a law or a rule, someone is going to break it. Human nature is going to happen. There is a reason why there are prisons. I definitely think it's a deterrent."
His manager, Charlie Manuel, echoed that. "I would say 50 games is quite a few," he said. Manuel has had two of his players suspended - J.C. Romero and, earlier this season, Freddy Galvis.
Galvis, a 22-year-old infielder, surrendered nearly $133,000 in salary during his suspension. He said he "never would knowingly use anything illegal to enhance my performance."
Manuel admitted there are issues in increasing the sentence for a first-time offender. He has his own idea.
"If you're caught again, for me, would be the hard one," Manuel said. "I would accept the 50 games the first time because that is pretty steep. The first time, a guy knows about it. The second time, that should be the real strict one. That's my opinion. I'll leave it up to the people in baseball."
Gibson suggested the penalty for a first-time offender should be one year with a lifetime ban for a second positive test. Currently, Major League Baseball suspends players 100 games for a second offense with a lifetime ban for a third.
Only two players - Manny Ramirez and Guillermo Mota - have been caught twice.
Schneider and other players pointed to what Cabrera sacrificed beyond the 50 games. He will forfeit approximately $1.7 million in salary during the suspension. His spectacular season had positioned him for a massive contract this winter in free agency. That is surely gone.
(An aside: The suspension probably eliminates another 2013 outfield option for the Phillies. Had Cabrera finished the season clean and on his current pace, he would have made plenty of sense as a winter target with the Phillies needing to fill at least two outfield holes. With his positive test, it's unlikely the Phillies will go that route.)
Still, Cabrera could be crowned batting champ in the National League. He fell one plate appearance shy of the 502 required to qualify, but rule 10.22(a) says he can win by adding one hitless at-bat to his total. That would leave him with a .346 batting average. Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen entered Saturday as the leader at .360.
The potential award, Schneider said, hardly compensates for the stain forever attached to Cabrera's name.
"Your teammates, the fans, and everyone associated with the game associates you as a user," Schneider said. "You got caught. Take the money, take the games, do what you have to do. But teammates and fans, that would be the hardest one for me to take. That's the most important part of the game, having the trust of your teammates and fans."
Gibson wants baseball to take more than the money and games.
"You compare like in the NCAA with Penn State," he said. "All those people are gone, and Penn State is paying for it. Here it's just tied to the individual. I think we need much stronger ramifications for that type of activity. It just absolutely cannot be tolerated."
There is no easy solution, or even a widespread notion the current model is broken. Should MLB deduct wins from the team that carried a cheating player? Could they make that team play with a 24-man roster during the player's suspension? Could they fine the team or subtract future draft picks?
Sure. But it's difficult to say San Francisco was complicit in Cabrera's cheating. Increase the suspension time, levy as many penalties as possible upon the teams, and violators will persist. Teams can only do so much hand-holding.
Melky Cabrera tried to beat the system, but he was caught. Still, he may win the batting title, the National League has home-field advantage in the World Series, and the Giants have a shot at a postseason berth.
Contact Matt Gelb at email@example.com and follow @magelb on Twitter.