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The latest “oh noes, Melky can’t win the batting title!” column

Sep 6, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

Melky Cabrera Reuters

The argument that Melky Cabrera should not be allowed to win the 2012 batting title because of his drug suspension was dumb a couple of weeks ago and it’s dumb again today. From Morosi:

The batting race, though, is one instance in which MLB must act — and it doesn’t need to be that complicated.

MLB should add an additional criterion for the batting and ERA titles: Players suspended for a PED offense must be automatically disqualified, because their violations gave them an unfair statistical advantage, on top of the obvious cheating … MLB can’t allow players to benefit statistically by stopping the clock on their season through PED use. That’s like a high-school student receiving an “A” on a test he missed because he was suspended for fighting in the cafeteria.

Setting aside the fact that many, many hitters have won batting titles despite having the advantage of a shorter season, Morosi falls far short of making a compelling case here. Sure, he talks about all the ways baseball could deal with the Melky problem — it would be easy to disqualify him, I’ll grant that —  but he never makes a case as to why baseball, or any of us, should care if Melky Caberea wins the batting title in the first place.

As Matthew noted a couple of weeks ago, the batting title isn’t an an award. It is not some endorsement by the league or an honor bestowed on a worthy competitor. It is a statistical measure and nothing more. It is a function of math, and it only matters to people in direct proportion to the weight they place in it.

And it’s certainly not significant like an MVP award. Quick: name two of the past ten NL batting champions. I bet you can’t. Because, sadly, winning a batting title did not place Freddy Sanchez into some Hall of Immortals atop a great mountain someplace. It just happened and why in the hell should any of us who are not related to Mr. Sanchez care?

Same goes for Melky. If he wins the batting title, it will be remembered only because of its dubiousness. The world will not end. It will not impact the economy or the schools and it will not send any child off into a life of crime. It would affect nothing other than the level of indignation people who like to be indignant about such things feel.

As I said last month, the idea of stripping people of awards and attempting top scrub history is nothing more than emotion-driven post-hoc righteous reactionary retribution. If you want to change the rule going forward and make a guy ineligible to be the batting champ or home run champ or whatever after a suspension, fine, do it. That’s how laws and rules work: prospectively.  But suddenly saying “Melky can’t be the batting champ!” is a silly emotional balm for people who should know better than to put that much damn weight into a statistical contest.

  1. Ben - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    People care about awards. I’m not totally sure why, but they do. So you’re right, it is just emotional balm, but people are emotional creatures, and if I were a Pittsburgh fan I might be kinda pissed if Andrew McCutchen doesn’t win the batting title. Why? Who the hell knows. It doesn’t affect me, it doesn’t affect the world in the slightest, but that’s part of the irrational emotional attachment of sports fandom. In truth, basically nothing baseball related matters in the slightest, in the grand scheme of things, so what else is there but the tempests in a tea pot? What fun would baseball be if we all just stood aloof from it?

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      The batting title isn’t an award, though.

      • Ben - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:27 AM

        Title then. Point still applies.
        This is all part of my skirmish against economists (and their modes of thought) that insist on rationality in a rather dogmatic fashion–humans are not rational creatures, that’s a fiction of the 16th and 17th centuries that’s unfortunately gotten handed down to us. Now that’s not Craig’s point, but belittling something because it’s emotion-driven seems rather fruitless.

      • temporarilyexiled - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:51 AM

        You make an interesting point. There are definitely times where emotion needs to be part of the decision-making process. Hell, anyone assuming that decisions are made any other way simply isn’t aware of true human nature. But being aware of emotions doesn’t automatically equate to invalidating statistics after the fact. Do overs make a lot more sense for instant reply than for let’s change the rules right now because we’re embarassed.

      • Ben - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:00 PM

        It’s not even that, it’s that decision-making processes are only post-hoc rational. A lot of the cognitive neuroscience work coming out has shown the consciousness is not the power to act, but the power to veto actions. Human actions and affects occur prior to consciousness, and then consciousness vetos or allows certain actions. Decision-making happens almost exclusively outside of the realm of conscious thought–it’s almost entirely visceral. More complicated decision-making and evaluation occurs at higher levels, probably, but the most basic level of human decision-making is entirely unthought.

      • Ben - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:02 PM

        Ugh, all sorts of edits there.

      • temporarilyexiled - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:27 PM

        Right. So the argument isn’t about how decisions are made. It’s about how we’re going to act, assuming we’re actually aware of how our decisions are made (which is rarely the case). It’s okay to just say, “Yeah, what could happen is a shame, but in this case, the suggested cure is worse than the disease, and oh yeah, this wasn’t really all that important to begin with.” I like what ezthinking said about keeping things the way they are, to intentionally point out the flaws. Better to remember mistakes than to try (and fail) to hide them. I believe this relates directly to how the Hall of Fame should be looked at. It’s called the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Virtue. You can be famous for indiscretions, as well as accomplishments. Trying to filter one from the other is just silly. We’re all, flawed, complex creatures. Why should we expect perfection from our heroes? Maybe if we started to see things in a more nuanced way, we’d be able to make future changes to existing rules that make sense, because they’re in keeping with the truth of human nature.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Sep 6, 2012 at 2:55 PM

        No, the batting title is not an award, but to pretend it is of no great significance is silly. Read the Hall of Fame plaques of such legends as Carew, Williams and Aaron. They duly note those players’ batting titles. Yaz is still honored for his Triple Crown season (duh, the batting title is one-third of that). Until the vast majority agree that Williams batting .406 and McLain winning 31 games and Rickey stealing 131 bases were insignificant statistical who-cares, and erase Carew’s HoF plaque, I’ll still say the batting title is a big deal.

    • alang3131982 - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:18 PM

      This stripping of a title seems ridiculous to me. It appears the media or whoever wants this done cares more about a title that has one meaning, i.e. designating the player in a specific league who got the most H per AB, than they do wins and losses.

      If cheating were so bad, why do you only strip a player or disqualify a player from a title/award? Those hits had real affects on wins/losses and ERAs of pitchers potentially in the CY Young race. So, if you’re going to make a tiny rounding error in one instance isnt that saying that the one instance is more important than others? If not, you’re just saying it’s the easiest way or making an ultimately empty gesture (jester).

      Finally, where is the clamor for ensuring pitchers who scuff balls or batters who use cork bats dont win awards? Pitchers who have scuffed balls have won awards in the past (which, come to think of it was probably the beginning of the slippery slope to rampant PED/amphetamine usage).

      Focusing on the batting title is just a silly, meaningless way to wag one’s figure at someone.

      • temporarilyexiled - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:59 PM

        “…wag one’s figure at someone.”

        Either that’s clever and intentional: “figure” = stat, or you’ve just set my mind in another direction.

  2. rifaco - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    I agree with everything you said, Criag. But the paragraph with the argument that starts “The world will not end” can also be made for the awards that we *do* care about and remember (MVP, Cy Young, etc.). The paragraph following that one is a much better argument for why worrying about Melky is silly.

  3. darthicarus - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Well I for one care about the batting champ, and I have the sculptures of paste winners made out of butter to prove it.

    • heyblueyoustink - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:21 PM

      Parkay is much more pliable, FYI.

  4. natslady - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    I thought Melky won’t end up with enough at-bats to qualify. So all MLB has to do is NOT act, in other words, don’t give him the extra AB (0 for 1). That “courtesy” should be reserved for injured players.

    • kiwicricket - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:28 AM

      That won’t seem slightly petty, if looked back on after some time?

      • natslady - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:59 AM

        No. It’s not petty at all. Why should you give a courtesy at-bat to a cheater?

      • paperlions - Sep 6, 2012 at 2:08 PM

        It is petty because the punishments for PED use are already outlined, and they don’t include such action (or inaction) as you describe. The penalty for PED use is 50 games, not 50 games plus anything else we decide to throw at you in our emotional over-reaction to what should be a non-issue.

      • raysfan1 - Sep 6, 2012 at 9:46 PM

        Not extending a courtesy isn’t adding to a punishment, it’s simply not granting a favor.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      I wouldn’t worry about MLB acting. That’s not really their thing.

    • tmohr - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:44 AM

      Since Melkington Q. Cabrera has 501 PA to date, adding another unsuccessful AB (as the rules for determining the batting champ stipulate) would leave him at .346.

      • cur68 - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:49 AM

        “Melkington”??? Awesome. I wish I had a new puppy about the place. I’d name him “Melkington Q. Cabrera” so fast his his melk teeth would fall out in shock right there.

  5. term3186 - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Leaving aside the fact that allowing someone to win a tainted batting title is distasteful, that isn’t only the consideration. If Melky has an incentive that pays him $$$ for winning the batting title, I’d be pissed. I don’t want my team shelling out $$$ for a guy who cheated and got his ass suspended, and leaving my team in a lurch.

    • umrguy42 - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:50 AM

      Similarly, if say, Andrew McCutcheon (or anybody else) has that clause, and he misses out cuz Melky gets it, he’d have the right to be pissed too, cuz he gets screwed as well.

    • raysfan1 - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:51 AM

      Thanks, I was going to bring up the bonus possibility. The other side of that, at least going forward, is for teams to insist on behavior clauses–get arrested or suspended more than x games = all bonuses nullified.

    • natslady - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:05 PM

      A lot of these contracts have incentives for All-Star appearances, Cy Young awards, even Cy Young votes, MVP votes, 2nd place finish, etc. So, you are right–not only does Melky conceivably get a bonus, but someone else could get robbed of one. I’m leery of these “award” bonuses anyway, because isn’t the voting somewhat subjective and based on “story lines” as well as stats? King Felix was a rare exception.

      • clydeserra - Sep 6, 2012 at 6:22 PM

        but he doesn’t per cots.

        my question is does the CBA allow those types of performance bonuses? I would guess no. I think they can only be games played/ innings etc, not the quality of those games played.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      I oppose the idea of imposing a morality requirement on a statistic, and the idea of changing the rules after the fact. However, I like the idea of putting language on behavior in a player’s contract, and tying it to incentive bonuses. That would be just between the team and player, and the penalty (loss of bonus) would be specified before the season starts and the player is suspended.

      I’m sure players have behavior clauses in their contracts (Josh Hamilton comes to mind). Don’t know whether they are tied to performance bonuses.

  6. barrancefong - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    The thing is, the batting title is not an “award”. There is no trophy or ceremony nor is it sponsored by MLB, MLBPA, BBWAA, etc… It’s no different than saying someone “won” the Most Walks title or Most Innings Pitched title. If you want to talk about actual awards like the MVP or Cy Young, that’s a separate discussion, but the batting “title” is simply a designation for the person that ranked first in the batting average stat.

    • Ben - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:51 AM

      Sure. But you and I know full well that the batting title, for whatever reason is storied and not like Most Walks. There’s a history and a tradition to it. That doesn’t make it right, of course, but it’s been a part of the baseball conversation for well over a century. To say it’s just like Most Walks is silly, if only because it has been imbued with more value. Whether that’s right or wrong really doesn’t matter at this point.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:43 PM

        There’s a history and a tradition to it

        Did you know Freddy Sanchez won it two years ago? How about the AL two years ago?

      • Ben - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:51 PM

        No, because I don’t particularly give a sh*t. And believe me, I feel weird defending tradition, but go peruse the AL list– http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Major_League_Baseball_batting_champions
        Kind of a fun list, no? An awful lot of Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Roger Hornsby (although any amount of Ty Cobb is probably an awful lot). And the mere fact that it exists in such an extensive wikipedia article tells us that it is unlike Most Walks. it’s a part of baseball history, like it or not. You can ignore it–I mostly do, but it’s silly to compare it the way the OP does.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 6, 2012 at 1:45 PM

        And the mere fact that it exists in such an extensive wikipedia article tells us that it is unlike Most Walks

        If you remove all the bref links, there’s about 20 citations in that article. Compare that to Sam Fuld’s wikipedia page, and you get 167. Does he ‘extensive’ wikipedia article show how important he is? Or what about 187 for Optimus Prime?

    • djpostl - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      Um, there is a trophy. See that silver thing Rod Carew is holding in this picture? That would be it.

      http://www.justinmorneau.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/silver-slugger-3.jpg

      • barrancefong - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:34 PM

        Wrong. A simple web search could have confirmed that. Why are there two Twins holding awards if this is supposed to go to the “winner” of the batting title?

        A Silver Slugger is awarded to a player that is voted by other players and managers to be the best offensive player at their position.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:49 PM

        A simple web search could have confirmed that

        You don’t even need a web search, the file name is silver-slugger-3.jpg, and you can also read “Silver Slugger Award” on the trophy…

  7. unlost1 - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    it might not need to be addressed this year but it will eventually. what if someone wins & doesn’t get caught until after like BRAUN?

  8. gerryb323 - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    Will Melky also win the OBP title? What about the OPS title?
    I’m sooo glad Bartolo Colon won’t win the ERA title or the K/9 title!

    That point about Melky simply having the best statistical measure was a good one Craig.

    Oh Noes! Melky has the best H/AB ratio!

    • gerryb323 - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:57 AM

      Point being, these are all simply facts. It is a fact that Melky may have the best H/AB ratio. Therefore he “wins” the “batting title”.

      Maybe if there were enough of these “cheaters” who did “win” things that people “care” about, then there would be more of a push to get PEDs out of baseball…

    • sophiethegreatdane - Sep 6, 2012 at 3:06 PM

      Clearly, my dog would win the K/9 title.

  9. HitsDingers - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    I disagree that it’s just “emotion-driven post-hoc righteous reactionary retribution” to not want this guy to win the batting title. I agree that’s the case keeping guys like Clemens and Bonds out of the HOF, you know, when they used PEDs before there were rules against using them. But now there are a lot of rules against it, and everyone knows it’s cheating. The baseball community shouldn’t be required to bestow an honor upon someone who broke the rules to do it.

    If you’re going to say awards don’t matter because they don’t affect the economy or schools or whatever, you could say as much about literally everything in pro sports.

    Finally, the US does retroactively changes laws sometimes. Example: government passes a tax law, see people taking blatant and unforeseen advantage of the law, they change it and still assess the tax the way they meant it. We do not live in a society where someone can circumvent rules and we just shrug like, “Welp, nothing we can do about it now. You win this time, cheating guy.”

  10. cur68 - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    Its stunning the number of people who comment without reading the article. Without, in fact, understanding what the batting title is. Lets ban Melky from the “Best Amish Beard Competition”, too. Ervin Santana is a lock for this one, anyways, but no one wants Melky’s Tainted Beard from sullying the award.

  11. hfspodcast - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    He seems to be forgetting about Joey Votto as well.
    He is at 374 PA’s and a .346 BA.
    With 374 PA he is going to be close to 501 by season end and may very well win the batting title himself. Making all of this moot.

    • tmohr - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      Votto won’t get 128 PA in Cincy’s remaining 24 games, so adding ABs is the likely outcome.

  12. ezthinking - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    Taking away awards or wins or titles is stupid at best.

    The Olympics ‘strips’ people of medals and college sports vacates titles and wins all the time. But how stupid is it? The game/event was played; someone won. If they cheated, note it. But pretending the event did not happen is dangerous as we should learn from past mistakes, not hide them.

    • djpostl - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:16 PM

      And the best way to learn from it is to reward the cheater.

      Yeah, stripping them is the “stupid” option.

      • Kevin S. - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:44 PM

        Yeah, the NCAA really laid the hammer down on Reggie Bush there. That Heisman season never existed. He never turned that into being the number two draft pick along with an eight-figure contract.

  13. dowhatifeellike - Sep 6, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Allowing Cabrera to remain eligible for (and win) the batting title validates his cheating. It says “we’ll give you a slap on the wrist for cheating, but celebrate the success you generated by cheating”.

  14. hushbrother - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Larry Walker and Bill Madlock. There, I named two.

    • raysfan1 - Sep 6, 2012 at 9:57 PM

      The challenge was 2 of the last 10. Larry Walker won in 2001, so close there but Madlock retired 25 years ago. Try Barry Bonds and Chipper Jones.

  15. cadillacjosh - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    the only thing that strikes me as unfair is the 50 games worth of batting chances that could (possibly) lower his average. i believe he’ll qualify for the title with enough appearances. But 50 less games is very roughly 200 less AB’S. A guys’s BA could waiver quite a bit with that. that said, give him the title. i already dont remember who won in 2010.

  16. djpostl - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    “he never makes a case as to why baseball, or any of us, should care if Melky Cabrera wins the batting title in the first place.”

    Because he’s a scrub ass cheat & we should do our best, no matter how far & few between our chances are, to keep those who fall into that category from receiving accolades they clearly do not deserve?

  17. chris1019 - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    The batting title not being an “official award” does not in any way mean that it has no relevance in MLB and amongst the fan base. Obviously it holds some weight as people, such as yourself, are choosing to write about it and debate the validity of Melky’s stats. It is true, children will not turn to lives of crime and domestic-abuse due to Melky getting the batting title, the economy will not plunge leading to record unemployment rates. But that is an asinine argument. The argument, and the reason why people are upset is because of what is at stake here, the integrity of the game, and more importantly, the perception of the integrity of the game by the fan base. If the MLB does nothing and allows players to cheat and thusly receive larger contracts, and beat out players who are trying to make a team in the show or simply stay in the big leagues then I lose respect for the game and it’s governing body.

  18. elmo - Sep 6, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Your point that the batting title “is a statistical measure and nothing more” is not a good one. The batting title is most certainly more than a function of math. It has, as another commenter already noted, a storied history. Perhaps the most famous story is how Ted Williams refused to sit out towards the end of the 1941 season in order to guarantee a .400 average, and ended up hitting .406 (a story that was recapitulated more than once last year in reference to Jose Reyes’ quest for the batting title). The batting title is often referred to as a “championship,” and is one of the “crowns” in triple crown. To point out the fact that there is no literal crown, or championship, is trivial and pedantic, because its history has a quality and texture that exist beyond the merely statistical.

  19. metalhead65 - Sep 6, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    I will never understand your defense of cheaters. why have awards if they do not mean anything? this guy was a .269 hitter untill he started juicing and put up big numbers but according to you it’s ok if he is rewarded for it. what aboout the guys who put up their numbers clean? better luck next time guys or better yet juice but do not get caught then you can get your awards and the fat contracts that come with them.

  20. thomas2727 - Sep 6, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    I keep thinking how ironic it would be if Ryan Braun would miss out on the Triple Crown by finishing 2nd to Melky in batting avg.

  21. frn27 - Sep 6, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Even though the batting title isn’t necessarily an award or trophy or ceremonial thing he still shouldn’t be given the title. The near fact that this is even producing so many articles and discussion is sorta making the batting title a little more relevant than before. Tell me would you feel different if his BA was higher than Ted Williams and they still gave him the title? This is about principle because he’s still being bestowed a title whether It’s an official title or not.

    I also find the discipline for PED’s a little absurd itself. If any of us were to fail a random drug test at work we’d be asked to pack our bags and hit the pavement. 50 game suspension after the fact? That helps but I believe if they are not banned it should at least be 100 then a ban but why not suspend for 50 future games and erase 50 prior games stats from the players career. Seems fair to me. It’s obvious the allure of a big contract cancels out the fear of getting caught and I say to those who argue that we don’t even know how much PED’s help or even if they do at all….of course they work. Otherwise the players wouldn’t be risking taking them. At the very least they help with your bodies recovery throughout the long season keeping you healthy and more fresh. When you feel healthy your concentration and confidence is better. It’s not rocket science.

  22. stevem7 - Sep 6, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Clearly Morosi is unhappy with the rules as they currently exist and wishes to change them. Up to that point he is fine. Where he goes afoul is Morosi wants the law changed from Jaywalking is a $10 ticket to Jaywalking is a hanging offense and then go and enforce it against everyone who ever got a jaywalking ticket prior to the law being changed. We don’t work that way in this country. So Morosi, go and get the law changed/altered/amended/rewritten but understand that at the time of his suspension the Tony Gwynn Rule existed and MUST be applied where Melky or any other individual is concerned until the law is changed.

  23. sophiethegreatdane - Sep 6, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    The scene opens on a Pittsburgh Pirates press conference…

    Press: “Andrew! Andrew! How does it feel to win the batting title?”

    Andrew McCutchen: “Oh. I didn’t know I won that. Thought that Melky character had it wrapped up.”

    P: Well, yes, but we got him disqualified. We had to make sure Melky didn’t win.

    AM: Thanks, I guess. What do I get? A commemorative plate? Bud Selig bobblehead?

    P: No, silly, you won the Batting Title!

    AM: Yeah, but what did I *win*?

    P: Well, there’s no prize per se…but hey! Batting Title! Ted Williams and all that.

    AM: “Ummm….”

    P: How does it feel knowing that Melky didn’t win it?”

    AM: He had the higher average, correct?

    P: Yes. But he cheated.

    AM: Well, we can’t have that. I’ll take my Title now, where is it?

    P: It’s not a thing. You can’t “take” it.

    AM: I see. But the commish is going to come out and give me one of those big fake checks, right?

    P: Um …the commish…uh…he’s not here, Andrew.

    AM: WHAT? How could the Commissioner of Baseball not attend the ceremony for one of the most prestigious awards in the sport?

    P: Well, it’s not an actual award, and this really isn’t a ceremony. There’s actually not ceremony. This is just kind of a…recognition. Yes! A recognition.

    AM: Recognition of what?

    P: Having the highest batting average!

    AM: Who, me? Or Melky?

    P: Well, Melky, yes but he’s disqualified. You’re the winner! You’ll be remembered along with greats like Bill Meuller!

    AM: Who?

    P: Nevermind.

    AM: Me and this Bill guy will have our names on a trophy in Copperstown, right?

    P: Well, not exactly…

    AM: So…help me out. What did I win?

    P: Nothing. Everything. The BATTING TITLE! You know, Ted Williams! Rod Carew! Freddy Sanchez!

    AM: Who?

    P: Nevermind, another bad example. Congrats!

    AM: I won?

    P: Yes!

    AM: I won an award that’s not actually an award, even though it’s called a Title. But I get nothing. And if Melkly would have won, he would have won…nothing? And now that he didn’t win the award, even though he beat me, he still gets nothing. Which is the same thing that I get?

    P: EXACTLY! Don’t know why it took so long for you to understand that.

    AM: Me either.

  24. pike573 - Sep 6, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    We all know that winning the batting titles isn’t just winning random statistical award. However you feel award the advanced statistics, batting titles still hold a lot of prestige and honor. So it means something…

    And I don’t get the whole “we can’t take it away” argument. To say that you can’t take away an award (in the sense that it’s an honor, see above) the very same year that someone is caught cheating is just asinine.

    • elmo - Sep 6, 2012 at 6:24 PM

      Apparently we don’t all know that. Maybe “the advanced statistics” you allude to are why Calcaterra’s semantic hair-splitting about title vs award has a little bit of traction here–because it’s a proxy for those who believe advanced stats are a better measure of a player’s performance than good ole batting average. That’s perfectly fine, but it’s irrelevant. For most people, the significance of individual awards is not the ceremony, the plaque, or the oversized check, but because all that stuff is a symbolic recognition of achievement and accomplishment. In this sense, the batting title is, effectively, an award. Despite the lack of hardware. And if MLB wants to de-list or asterisk Melky should he win it, it does have the power to do so. It’s not a metaphysical impossibility. There are some good arguments to be made why Melky shouldn’t be stripped of the batting title, but “ZOMG! the batting title doesn’t really exist!” isn’t one of them. That’s just junior-high-debate-club-level sophistry.

  25. fuddpucker - Sep 6, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    I still say the pictures of Melky holding that stupid All-Star bat looks like he’s a wax figure. Prolly all the juice inside his body has pickled him.

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