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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. willclarkgameface - Sep 6, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    For the love of God, please let this happen. PLEASE LET MELKY WIN.

    I so badly want to see Selig eat crow on this one, probably slowly just like he does everything else.

    What is going to set him off to make him actually give a shit about doing REAL TESTING?

    Testing in the game right now is a joke and he knows it. We all know it.

    So proclaim with me people, “MEL-KEY! MEL-KEY! MEL-KEY!” Root for this dude on the sidelines and will him to victory much like 1990 NL Batting Champion Willie McGee. Let’s do this!

  2. jaydoubleyou22 - Sep 8, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    You may say that the batting title is purely a statistical measure and not an award, but that’s not exactly true. If it is just math with no significance, why does one need to have a minimum number of ABs to “qualify” ??

    This article, however, does qualify as bad (and recycled too). It’s like one those really bad Final Destination movies that just keep getting made.

    Please, Craig.. We’ve had enough. Take your soap-box somewhere else.

  3. jaydoubleyou22 - Sep 8, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Haha. +1 on the junior-high-debate-club comment.

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