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Breaking: Melky will be ineligible for the batting title

Sep 21, 2012, 2:49 PM EDT

melky getty Getty Images

This is both totally unexpected and extremely unusual. And dare I say, ill-advised.  Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports:

In an unprecedented agreement between Major League Baseball and union officials, suspended Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera will be ruled ineligible to win the 2012 NL batting title, sources told CSNBayArea.com.

Cabrera asked to be removed from consideration on Wednesday, when his representatives sent a letter to union officials. The Players’ Association worked out a one-time amendment to Rule 10.22(a) with MLB officials on Thursday, one day after Commissioner Bud Selig said publicly that he was not likely to take action on the matter.

A “one-time amendment” to the rule is a curious phrase.  Rather Orwellian, actually. What it is a decision to just ignore a rule because baseball and/or Melky Cabrera or whoever initiated this decision didn’t like the repercussions of that rule.

I presume this will make a lot of people happy because no one was comfortable seeing Melky Cabrera win the batting title.  But it also opens the door for all manner of messing around with the rules in the future when they don’t produce results to someone’s liking.  Which is exactly the kind of arbitrary thing having rules is supposed to prevent.

I also love how Melky “asked to be removed from consideration” for the batting average title. Quick: Adam Dunn! Call the league and ask to be taken out of consideration for the strikeout title.

  1. darthicarus - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Melky is obviously interested in “respecting the game” and keeping its “integrity” intact.

    • chadjones27 - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:09 PM

      Then why did he take PED’s to begin with? Although, I do appreciate him owning up to that fact, if he was really respecting the the game, he wouldn’t have taken PED’s to begin with.

      • Jeremy Fox - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:18 PM

        In your browser, under the tools menu, make sure the “highlight sarcasm” option is checked. darthicarus’ comment will be highlighted in yellow.

  2. thefalcon123 - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Wow, this is stupid.

  3. cjh88 - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    I have the same question as before, what is the Giants have a rainout that is not made up and only play 161 games, then 501 is enough PAs for Melky. Are they going to make up another rule on the fly?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:27 PM

      Are they going to make up another rule on the fly?

      Selig would put together a committee to explore what should happen in the event such an episode occurs. Expect the results when Bryce Harper’s kid is playing in the majors.

  4. kevinleaptrot - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Melky saves America! Justice for all!

  5. cjh88 - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    I have the same question as before, what if the Giants have a rainout that is not made up and only play 161 games, then 501 is enough PAs for Melky. Are they going to make up another rule on the fly?

    • The Common Man - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:53 PM

      That would be delicious.

      • cjh88 - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:56 PM

        Weird double post by me aside (sorry about that), I am now actively rooting for a rainy few weeks in San Fran

    • rotisguru - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:56 PM

      The number of games played and at bats was irrelevant. Under the rules, you simply give an 0-fer for any at-bats you fell short. If you’re still the leader you’re still the batting champ even without the requisite number of plate appearances.

      • cjh88 - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:58 PM

        the rule is 3.1 PAs per TEAM game as far as I know. If they only play 161, he should only needs 499 PAs and rule 10.22(a) should not have to be applied at all

      • rotisguru - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:02 PM

        It is NOT number of games per team. The rule is written as number of games SCHEDULED. There are 162 games in the MLB schedule. The fact you play 161 or 160 is irrelevant. The rule is written that way to cover any changes to MLB rules that might revert back to a 154 (or pick your total) game schedule without having to rewrite the rules. In addition, as I mentioned before, you just give an 0-fer for any missing plate appearances. As of now, Melky leads by 7 points so his 0-fers would still have him in the lead.

      • sarcasticks - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:44 PM

        First, it’s the number of games played that count. Second, he is being declared ineligible by suspending, for this year only, the section of the rule that allows a player to reach the minimum plate appearance threshold by adding hitless plate appearances to his average. So, if the Giants do not play all 162 games, he would still be eligible, and some more creative maneuvering would have to be completed to rule him ineligible again. Baseball is using this tactic because it is relatively clear cut, and doesn’t force them to state they are specifically denying him for “cheating”, as that’s a tough term to define and would lead to all sorts of challenges.

      • danandcasey - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:26 PM

        According to Rule 10.22(a), it is the number of games scheduled, not the number of games played – “The individual batting, slugging or on-base percentage champion shall be the player with the highest batting average, slugging percentage or on-base percentage, as the case may be, provided the player is credited with as many or more total appearances at the plate in league championship games as the number of games SCHEDULED for each club in his club’s league that season, multiplied by 3.1 in the case of a Major League player and by 2.7 in the case of a National Association player.” (emphasis added).

        Of course, with games in SF, SD, and LA, the Giants weren’t having any rain-outs anyway.

  6. The Common Man - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    By all means, rule him ineligible midseason. Hey, the rulebook is just a collection of suggestions. We don’t actually have to follow them. I submit that if you actually care that Melky Cabrera might lead the league in batting average (which is not an award, it’s a fact like Mark McGwire hit 70 homers in 1998), you’re a God damn moron.

    • bravesfaninbama - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:26 PM

      In the same way that you condemn Yunel Escobar for his offensive words on his eye black, I would like to ask you to not offend me (and other Christians) by not taking the Lord’s name in vain. Thanks for your consideration.

      • number42is1 - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:35 PM

        What about us jews?

      • The Common Man - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:35 PM

        I didn’t insult you, nor did I insult Christianity. That’s like a Muslim or Jewish person being angry that I ate bacon for breakfast. As a Christian myself, I humbly decline, and I’ll ask God for his forgiveness rather than you. He’s usually good like that.

      • jarathen - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:36 PM

        There’s a difference there that you’re being intentionally obtuse over.

        I assume you know what obtuse means.

      • number42is1 - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:40 PM

        This?

      • bravesfaninbama - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:50 PM

        Common Man, I did not say you insulted me or that I was angry. I said it offends me and it does. I am glad to hear that you are a Christian and hope you will reconsider before the next time you post that phrase.

        What are you declining? I wasn’t asking for an apology. I know words don’t always come across as intended on the Internet. I had no ill intent. I was just asking you to consider not offending the Christians (or Jews, for that matter) that like to read this blog.

      • number42is1 - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:11 PM

        WOOHOO! Recognition!

        now… what about us braindead slobs?

      • mrfloydpink - Sep 21, 2012 at 7:17 PM

        Well God damn it. It’s a God damn shame that the God damned Common Man used a God damned phrase that God damn offends you. I’m sure God damn everyone God damn well extends their God damnedest apologies.

  7. youjivinmeturkey - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    =D

  8. IdahoMariner - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    This is a bad, bad precedent and a bad idea.

  9. sictransitchris - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Melky, if what your publicist told you to say is true then why take the PEDs in the first place? Why set up a fake website in an attempt to get yourself off?

    It’s all bullshit.

  10. owenpoin - Sep 21, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    He really should have used his leverage here to get Armando Galarraga his perfect game.

    • cur68 - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:54 PM

      There! I KNEW someone remembered that! Galaragga’s accomplishment was through admitted error of an official. That one deserved the re-do. No dangerous precedent set, only a correction of a mistake. THIS bullshit does not require ANY rule change whatsoever. THE MOST MLB should have done was asterixed it in the records. Just at a public reminder to all players why they shouldn’t cheat. By doing what he’s done, Selig demonstrates how much contempt he has for baseball and the rules that govern it. Christ, what a joke.

      • cur68 - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:55 PM

        Meh. That SHOULD have read “Galaragga’s accomplishment’s being rendered null”. Edit function please?

    • drewsylvania - Sep 21, 2012 at 6:00 PM

      Seriously. Galarraga needs his perfecto now. There’s precedent!

  11. realgone2 - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    I like it. Thumbs down away!

    • Ben - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:29 PM

      I don’t give a sh*t! Hooray!

  12. match34 - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    Will the number still be bold on his Baseball Reference page?

    • Jeremy T - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:06 PM

      This is the first thing I thought of, too. I hope so…

    • dondada10 - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:45 PM

      No. Right?

    • Detroit Michael - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:05 PM

      As long as baseball-reference.com gets it right, I don’t really care about MLB and MLBPA want to pretend happened.

      Melky Cabrera tested positive and was suspended for PEDS in 2012 and Melky Cabrera led the National League in batting average in 2012 are not mutually exclusive statements. They both can be true.

  13. Francisco (FC) - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    The takeaway for me was that Cabrera initiated the proceedings himself, not MLB or the players union. This may be ill advised but Melky asked to be excluded so…

    I figure that MLB will put in a permament rule in the offseason (if allowed, wouldn’t the MLBPA have to agree? Would it be in the next CBA?)

  14. fuddpucker - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    Melky cheated and therefore doesn’t deserve a batting title or anything else. Plus, Melky send that glass All-Star MVP bat back to KC, will ya?

    • largebill - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:52 PM

      He broke a rule (which isn’t in the rule book BTW). So, now we are supposed to applaud his decision to ignore another rule (which actually is in the rule book). Huh?

  15. kevinleaptrot - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    It would be so much better if McCutcheon or Posey (or somebody) got hot at the end of the season, surpassed Melky’s numbers, and made this a moot point. I guess that’s too much to ask though.

  16. DJ MC - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    So this is how batting average dies.

  17. ningenito78 - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    . Quick: Adam Dunn! Call the league and ask to be taken out of consideration for the strikeout title.

    Craig that’s a ridiculous stretch. While its an obvious attempt for Melky to salvage some good will, and a hollow one at that, trying to compare him asking to remove his name from winning the batting title to somebody removing his name from having the most strikeouts isn’t only a sssstrttrrreeeeeettcccchhhh. It’s actually juvenile.

    • kalinedrive - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:24 PM

      It’s actually a joke. Sometimes people can spot a joke without having to be explicitly told it is a joke. Taking the time to whine about it is a ridiculous stretch.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:29 PM

  18. ryanrockzzz - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    So according to this we should just see if Melky “wins” the batting title and be fine with it? I mean you still have to hit the ball, but why should anyone win an award after they confirmed they cheated? I think making an exception to the rule is fine, it’s common sense.

    • DJ MC - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:29 PM

      A “batting title” isn’t something you win, it’s something you achieve. You have the highest batting average in your league, just like someone ending up with the most home runs or lowest ERA or most WAR or any other number.

      • protectthishouse54 - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:37 PM

        Huh? The words winning and achieving, in many cases, can be synonymous. As in, last year the Cardinals “won” the World Series. You can certainly win the batting title too.

      • DJ MC - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:06 PM

        No, because you aren’t “winning” anything, just finishing with the highest total.

      • cur68 - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:57 PM

        There’s no prize. No award. There’s nothing to win.

  19. ningenito78 - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    I don’t give Melky any pays on the back for this but I’m really struggling to see how this is setting a bad precedent. It’s not like some guy that doesn’t get caught cheating is going to make a similar request. I mean are you kidding?

  20. temporarilyexiled - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Speaking as a Giants fan (but not necessarily for any other Giants fans) I’m fine with knocking him out of the statistical race, silly as it is. Melky’s done plenty to warrant this kind of blowback. As for what new rules of the minute will come next, who can say? The real story, I believe, is the answer to this question: What the hell just happened behind the scenes that led to the ridiculous statement that we’re supposed to believe just came from Melky? The more “solutions” we’re presented with, the more this seems like a maze, and I can’t find the cheese. Squeak!

  21. pinkfloydprism - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    So, if you use, you cannot lead the league in AVG, but you can win MVP? Weak…

  22. zidanevalor - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    I hate this ruling for two major reasons (among many):

    1) The Mitchell Report came out almost 10 years ago. MLB “cracked down” on steroids for years now with the 50/100 game suspensions. We just had the whole Ryan Braun episode last offseason. NOW in mid-September of 2012 MLB realizes that a guy busted for steroids could win the batting title?

    2) What if Melky had 503 plate appearances? Then MLB would have changed a different rule to make sure he didn’t win the batting title. So the rules themselves aren’t necessarily the issue; MLB had a problem with the results. This is the same argument as people not liking statistics because they don’t agree with what the stats say.

    I HATE PR moves, and this is a PR move more than an actual problem with the actual MLB rules.

    • rotisguru - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:18 PM

      As to point #2, the number of plate appearances Melky has is irrelevant. Under the rules, you simply give an 0-fer for any plate appearances short of the mandated total. If you’re still the leader, you win the batting title. As it currently stands, Melky would still be the leader. People need to stop getting hung up on the required plate appearances. It’s irrelevant in this situation.

      • zidanevalor - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:24 PM

        It’s actually very relevant here because according to the report, the rule that was changed was that players suspended for steroids do not get those 0-fers.

        That’s a third reason why I hate this. MLB didn’t come out and say “players who get suspended mid-season cannot win awards for that season.” They said “Rule 10.22(a) will not apply to suspended players.” So if Melky had 503 plate appearances, he would STILL win the batting title today (unless someone else goes off.) So this exact same situation can happen again next season.

      • rotisguru - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:46 PM

        Because they tailored it as a one-time exception, the number of plate appearances is irrelevant. If there was any chance what you said could have mattered, they would have constructed the exception differently. This was just an easy way out.

        As for MLB, you know it’s run by a moron right? We had a tie-game in the All-Star game. We now use the All-Star game to decide home field in the World Series. We are adding more and more teams to the playoff picture thereby destroying what was once sacred, the pennant race and also further liquidated the importance of the regular season. A smart man would have thought about the possibility of a suspended player still qualifying for awards and exempted them out long ago. I sincerely hope Commissioner Dope uses this as the impetus for changing the rules permanently to exclude suspended cheats.

  23. randygnyc - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Melky wrote the letter asking to be removed from”consideration” for an award he did not earn. Obviously, he’s been advised to take this tact.

    Pausing my cynicism for just a moment, this will be seen by the masses of baseball fans as a sincere act of contrition on his way towards rehabilitation. The regular commenters here at HBT are not the target audience for this propagandist manipulation.

  24. yahmule - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Nice. Now scrub 1, 5, 8, 10, 12 and 14 off here and we’re making some real progress.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/HR_career.shtml

  25. Lukehart80 - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    I stand corrected, apparently you CAN take away a mathematical fact.

    I know some politicians who will be very happy to hear this.

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