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We can’t let Melky Cabrera have the batting title/crown/award!

Aug 18, 2012, 5:38 PM EST

Melky Cabrera AP

In the name of all that is holy!

Kenny Albert and Tim McCarver made it very clear during Saturday’s FOX Red Sox-Yankees broadcast that we can’t allow Melky Cabrera to win the NL batting title after his steroids suspension this week. In fact, it seems we need a new rule to prevent players who receive steroid suspension from being eligible for such awards.

And I can actually see the latter point. The BBWAA might want to consider a rule that prevents such players from qualifying for postseason awards.

But the batting title isn’t an an award. It doesn’t exist as anything more than a sacrifice fly crown or a passed ball champion does. It’s made up, and it only matters to people who any weight into it.

The truth is that very few people care about the batting title anymore. It definitely meant something in the days of Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams, and it was still a big honor in the era of Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs.

Now? Did anyone besides the Mets really care that Jose Reyes won the NL batting crown last year? Does anyone even know that Carlos Gonzalez won it in 2010 or Hanley Ramirez did in 2009? I’m guessing even Pirates fans scarcely remember that Freddy Sanchez won the NL batting title in 2006.

My whole feeling on the subject of asterisks and the like is that you leave the statistics alone and then you decide for yourself what they mean. Regardless of how he did it, Melky Cabrera hit .346 with 11 homers and 60 RBI this season, and it’d be foolish for anyone to try to tamper with that.

  1. mikeinfl - Aug 18, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    Around the same time, Albert and McCarver were gushing about how great an athlete ARoid is and how he could have been an NFL QB. Can’t have it both ways, guys.

  2. dondada10 - Aug 18, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    I disagree with the sentiment that nobody care who wins the batting title. Even though the winner isn’t awarded with anything tangible or monetary, the black ink is in the record books forever.

    • rollinghighwayblues - Aug 18, 2012 at 6:00 PM

      Arthur Rhodes is also in the books with black ink as the all-time leader in holds. Really? Does anyone really care?

      • dondada10 - Aug 18, 2012 at 6:13 PM

        Holds and Batting Average are night and day.

      • rollinghighwayblues - Aug 18, 2012 at 6:23 PM

        Don,

        Agreed. But as vallewho stated, both are accomplishments, not necessarily awards.

      • dondada10 - Aug 18, 2012 at 6:55 PM

        Agreed.

  3. vallewho - Aug 18, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    I really hate MLB on FOX.

    Also, the batting title is more of a measurable accomplishment and NOT an “award”. The MVP on the other hand is an award…

  4. proudlycanadian - Aug 18, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    They are rather bombastic. Now they are raving about Strasbourg and claiming that absolutely nobody thinks that Strasbourg should be shut down. I think that in the case of Strasbourg they were beyond bombastic. Frothing at the mouth might be a better description.

    • rollinghighwayblues - Aug 18, 2012 at 6:03 PM

      What? You didn’t enjoy McCarver using a national broadcast as a medium for his soap box rants? As I type this, McCarver is going on and on about putting Strasburg on the DL. Please, just put a sock in it, Tim.

      • vallewho - Aug 18, 2012 at 6:10 PM

        I used to like when Tim McCarver used to do the broadcasts for the Mets with Ralph Kiner. I kinda get the feeling that if Tim would have pulled or said some of the things he says these days, Ralph would have punched him in the mouth.

    • JustMeMike - Aug 18, 2012 at 6:22 PM

      Yes, Timmy was wrong when he said absolutely nobody thinks that Strasbourg should be shut down. There are least two people:

      1) Nats GM Mike Rizzo protecting the Nat’s future
      2) Strasbourg’s agent Scott Boras – protecting agent fee for the long term.

      However, Tim’s idea of starting Strasbourg’s season in May wasn’t bad.

      Just wait until the O’s bring Bundy into the picture…and we can have this debate all over again.

      • samu0034 - Aug 18, 2012 at 9:10 PM

        Could you please spell his damn name correctly?

      • natslady - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:39 PM

        Which May? May of 2012? Because in February of 2012 (when such a plan might have been feasible), everyone thought the Nats would win 85 games. So the plan was to shut Stras down at the end of August and see what the September call-ups brought, just as happened with Jordan Zimmermann–and those 2011 September call-ups brought us Gio Gonzalez.

        By accident I listened to a June 6 podcast that I had on my iPod… at around that time the Nats were 2 games behind Atlanta and the analysts were predicting that ALL the NL East teams (with the possible exception of the Mets) would be fighting it out in September. Anyone who predicted in February that the Nats would grab permanent hold of first place and have a 99% chance to make the playoffs on August 19 needs to get to the racetrack right now!

      • natslady - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:49 PM

        And shutting down Stras was the least of our worries in the spring when our injury list was longer than the Blue Jays’ and we lost three catchers in a week, we had exactly ONE infielder who was hitting (Adam LaRoche), Morse was out for months and Werth broke his wrist and Rizzo was bringing up rookies (among them Bryce Harper) as fast as he could get plane tickets from Syracuse (some of them got sent back)… and Ryan Zimmerman hadn’t had a cortisone shot yet–well, he had, but the first one didn’t take.

        Hindsight is such a beautiful thing….

      • natslady - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:54 PM

        And we had no closer… and Henry Rodriguez was blowing saves right and left, and when he wasn’t blowing them, Brad Lidge was. And John Lannan was writing threatening emails and Chien-Ming Wang was getting injured for the 1,000th time and Ross Detwiler was popping in and out of the bullpen… Yeah, in the spring we didn’t need Strasburg, yeah, right!

  5. randygnyc - Aug 18, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    I’m currently in Minnesota for the summertime, watching all the Yankee games on my NY based sling box. Weekend games suck on Fox and tmrw night ESPN. I won’t listen to either of those scumbags. So I sync the video on one iPad to the radio on the MLB app on the other iPad. I’ve been trying for years to get McCarver and buck fired.

    • rooney24 - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:22 PM

      I would agree to say nothing negative about the Yankees for a year if you could somehow magically get McCarver and Buck to be off TV. I can’t stand either one of those overblown pompous jerks.

      • chumthumper - Aug 19, 2012 at 7:52 AM

        And now that McCarver has won the Ford Frick Award, he’ll probably be even more insufferable, if that’s possible.

  6. randygnyc - Aug 18, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    Oh, and the Marlins cared very much about last years batting champ. They tried selling that accomplishment to their fan base after signing him to a ridiculous contract mostly due to said batting title.

    • keithbangedyermom - Aug 18, 2012 at 6:26 PM

      Yeah or everything else he did for 9 years….steals, defense, etc.

  7. Brian Murphy - Aug 18, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Later in the game, when ranting about Strasburg’s innings limit, McCarver said there should a new list created to place those who are healthy but can’t pitch. “Call it the able list,” he said.

    He then confused the Washington Nationals with the Washington Senators and, even though they are completely different franchises with the Senators now known as the Twins, McCarver said the Nationals have to keep Strasburg out there because they haven’t made the playoffs since 1933. Since FDR! Since the Great Depression!

    Ford Frick, rolling over in his grave.

    I’m sorry that I have nothing to say about Melky Cabrera.

    • djpostl - Aug 18, 2012 at 7:28 PM

      He definitely brought his whiskey bottle wot work today. Comparing CC (who has an actual injury) to a guy you could “choose” to shutdown in order to keep his innings down is asinine.

  8. innout10 - Aug 18, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    Writers like yourself that think awards that are “subjective” and voted on are the only things that are important.

    There is nothing subjective about winning the batting title – rather it is a true way to measure a great season and it is a huge honor. No way should melky get that title after cheating

    • Sign Ahead - Aug 18, 2012 at 8:10 PM

      I’m having trouble understanding your use of the word the word subjective. According to my dictionary, excluding Cabrera because he did something that violates your sense of fair play is…well…it’s practically the definition of subjective. It may be right or it may be wrong (depending on your sense of fair play), but it is certainly subjective.

    • paperlions - Aug 18, 2012 at 8:24 PM

      There are all kinds of things that are subjective.

      First, deciding that the highest batting average = “bast hitter” (i.e. batting TITLE).

      Second, that BA relies on subjective evaluations by scorers to differentiate hits from errors.

      Third, that many non-hits aren’t even counted in calculating batting average. Acting like fly-outs and bunts didn’t happen because of something their team mate did on the same play (advance a base) is an irrelevant distinction that was created based on subjective judgments.

      • kehnn13 - Aug 18, 2012 at 8:28 PM

        1. Winning the batting title doesn’t mean best hitter. It means highest batting average.
        2. This is not about “sense of fair play” He broke the rules. Now maybe you don’t like the rules, which is subjective…but he quite clearly broke the rules, he even admitted as much.

  9. jonirocit - Aug 18, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    I’m a hardcore giants fan …I do not think melkasterone should get a batting crown because he failed the test during the season when it was achieved . Technicality my ass ..I do believe Ryan Braun should have forfeited the MVP to Matt kemp also(ugh) can’t believe I said that. I don’t believe in going back and changing history but if your suspended during a season you should be disqualified .

    • hondoheaven47 - Aug 18, 2012 at 8:37 PM

      How long have they been handing out crowns for having the highest percentage of hits per times up to bat minus walks, hits by pitch, sacrifice bunts, and sacrifice flies? Where have I been? Are they actual, gold crowns or more like the paper ones they have at Burger King?

    • ufullpj - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:53 PM

      The difference between Braun and Melky is a good subject. Although Melky didn’t appeal, it wasn’t leaked before the afforded due process could conclude. As for Braun forfeiting the award, this BS needs to stop. None of us knows the truth – but there is nothing in statistical or body change that suggests that Braun’s one stratospherically high result – out of 20 some-odd tests throughout his career – was A) actually his (If memory serves, three other players were tested at the same time) B) not a false positive. I would not be shocked if at least one current Brewer juiced, but Braun’s not the one I’d suspect. Either way, nobody knows the real story. Until that comes out, the the consistency of the numbers, from body measurements to batting / fielding / running stats provide Braun the benefit of doubt. If that should change, so be it.

      • temporarilyexiled - Aug 19, 2012 at 8:37 AM

        It’s amazing how so many have made up their minds about Braun, and for them, that’s it. I hope we get to the bottom of that fiasco, but with Mr. Embarassment as commissioner, it’s not like the truth needs to ever get in the way of cashflow. I’ll be the first to post a my bad if it’s proved beyond a doubt that Braun juiced.

        As for Melky, it’s time to move on. The only mulligan he gets from me is that, when he had no way out, he actually confessed. Now, what we should be concentrating on, besides, of course, the rest of the season, is how we can somehow get closer to the truth. It seems to me that lies somewhere in the middle between what Victor Conte has stated, and the “this proves testing works” soundbites.

        And, maybe, just maybe we need to look at what we put into our own bodies, before we go on the moral crusade. It’d be pretty amusing to see what many of us tested for. No, on second thought, it’d be sad and pathetic.

  10. djpostl - Aug 18, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    I could care less about the awards, so you are spot on in that respect.

    BUT that doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s an easy fix on things like this. For the sake of awards if you serve so much as one day on a suspension for use of PEDs you are DQ’d. It’s fair & it’s really easy to do.

    If someone with a vote ignores the rules and puts a guy on his ballot (if it happens to be an award that gets voted on) toss the vote out. If it’s a statistical award (HR leader, batting title etc..) then just discount their numbers.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing it if they showed themselves to be a cheat.

  11. larrytsg - Aug 18, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Doesn’t Melky need a minimum number of plate appearances (from the tiny print of my youth… I seem to recall 3.1 per game). If he misses 50 games there is probably no way he can ge tthe number of plate appearances to qualify

    • hondoheaven47 - Aug 18, 2012 at 8:45 PM

      He actually only needs one more plate appearance to qualify. Basically it’ll just add an 0 for 1 in his overall stat line and leave it at that.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:01 PM

        No he doesn’t. If a player is close enough to qualify but doesn’t have the requisite number of PA, they’ll grant him PA with 0 hits until he has enough to qualify. Think it’s the Tony Gwynn rule.

  12. Kevin Gillman - Aug 18, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    Wow, I am shocked that Joe Buck did not do the PBP. I thought it was in his contract to only cover Yankees-Red Sox games.

  13. stevem7 - Aug 18, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Lets see, an award that according to the author means nothing and nobody cares about and YET …. he wrote a column about it and look at all these comments. So somebody sure enough cares about it. And if Pouliot wants to change the rules, thats fine. But just as with the Braun case last year you can’t deny that there is an existing set of rules that say when the season ends they will add an 0 for 1 to Melky’s stats and he will win the NL Batting Title. So go and get the rule changed and then it won’t happen in the future but you can’t close the barn door on horses that have already gotten to the pasture and thats what’s happened with Melky.

  14. jkcalhoun - Aug 18, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    Maybe Albert and McCarver would be satisfied, should he win the batting title, if Melky forfeits the Chalmers automobile.

  15. ironcitydonnieiris - Aug 19, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    Was the Tony Gwynn rule put in place because Tony missed the PA minimum due to injury or some other element out of his control like manager decision on starting positions? I don’t recall Tony breaking the rules of the game. Nothing like being suspended for cheating only to be rewarded for cheating and having an unfair advantage accomplishing stats to put oneself in the drivers seat. Guess everyone who finishes behind Melky should follow his example next year. Pro sports is definitely Reality TV now.

  16. randygnyc - Aug 19, 2012 at 1:02 AM

    Sure the Melky failed test was leaked. When the reporter (forgot his name) confronted Melky, he ORIGINALLY DENIED IT. (BS that he came clean). The reporter was shamed into apologizing, publicly, to Melky. I’ve stayed out of this story, but I’m glad he got caught and will lose millions because of it. He should clean up his act and play clean!!!!

  17. Marty - Aug 19, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    Wait a second. They don’t get an actual crown to wear?

  18. charlescub80 - Aug 19, 2012 at 5:15 AM

    Fact is Melkey couldn’t have won the batting title without the use of PEDs. Middle of the road players don’t win batting titles without an unfair advantage.

    • skerney - Aug 19, 2012 at 5:39 AM

      Bill Mueller, Terry Pendleton, Freddy Sanchez. I could go on all night naming middle of the road players who won batting “titles” because they had a good year. Are you saying the three very average players i just named used PED’s? Of course you’re not. That would dumb. What is dumb is acting like ending the season with the highest BA in your respective league is important.

  19. willclarkgameface - Aug 19, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    I hope Melky wins this thing and not even in a landslide kind of way. I hope he wins by .001. Why not?

    Bud Selig and the MLBPA have created this culture by protecting EVERYONE involved. They continue to allow a testing program to exist that doesn’t really challenge anyone except idiots like Melky that can’t seem to find ways to skate around it. The rest of the 1199 players on the 40 man rosters around the league come September 1 aren’t as dumb as Melky. Put your money on it: a great deal of them are using – pitchers and hitters.

    Nothing good is going to come of this program until we get blood testing. Stop protecting everyone Bud and Weiner.

  20. scatterbrian - Aug 19, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Well said Matthew. I could get behind revising the Tony Gwynn rule to exclude the addition of at-bats due to suspensions rather than injuries or mid-season call-ups. But like you say, this isn’t an award.

    The things that matter in terms of winning a batting title are signing contracts and Hall of Fame credentials. Melky hurt himself in that, rather than getting a multi-year deal this winter, he’ll probably only get a one-year deal. And he’s very likely not a Hall of Famer.

    I’m not a fan of revising history for the sake of making it sound better. History is a record of positives and negatives. If Melky wins the batting title this season, that’s history and we all have to live with it.

    Regardless, here’s hoping McCutchen goes on a tear and renders this all moot.

  21. roseann894 - Aug 19, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    If Braun’s victory was based on something substantive (like the test itself was flawed) rather than procedural (chain of custody issue) Braun himself could release the arbitrator’s decision. The union and MLB can’t tell Braun what to say or what personal records he can release. At most, MLB could maybe fine him but how would that look? In my opinion Braun had no defense except the chain-of-custody defense. Which makes it probable that he legitimately tested positive.

  22. metalhead65 - Aug 19, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    well if you do not want to put asterics besides tainted accomplishments how about putting accomplished with the help of performance enhancement drugs beside whatever the feat is? and you can’t question the fact he will win it because of roids as he was a average player at best before he started using last year. same thing with bonds and anybody else who won awards or set records using them. just put in black ink beside whatever accomplishments that are listed by their names.

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