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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. husky2score - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    Melky did this so that when he gets his trophy or plaque or whatever he gets, he won’t have to look at it and think, “Oh ya thats the year I got suspended.” I think this is a strong move by Melky.

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

      Oh, he’ll get a plaque all right. A special demotivational plaque that reads, “Don’t forget, you’re here forever.”

      Or is that the plague?

      • number42is1 - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:51 PM

        DO IT FOR HER

  2. jarathen - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    I can’t wait until everyone else’s statistics are adjusted accordingly, including win-loss records. You know what, let’s just pretend 2012 never happened. The Angels would love it.

    • alang3131982 - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:17 PM

      I’m with you. I dont understand how we can say he cant win the batting title but a pitcher who scoffs the ball can win the relief award or ERA title.

      What about the pitchers ERAs? the win-loss records? This is just silly, how is it that Melky’s cheating really on affected his ability to qualify the batting title? Or are we saying that since it’s meaningless we can tinker with the rules, but when it means something (such as wins and loses) we cant?

      • pjmarn6 - Sep 21, 2012 at 10:36 PM

        A pitcher can cut or use an illegal substance very few times. A player who uses chemicals to make him stronger or more fit to play superbaseball every day is a bit different.
        Hell catchers have been known to cut a ball on their shin pads and other tricks. Cabrera will still get his millions but a bit less, just like Rodriquez.

      • pjmarn6 - Sep 21, 2012 at 10:41 PM

        The reason he got this far is with the chemicals he used. In NASCAR they inspect the cars before and after the races. In golf if you don’t sign the score card, you are out of luck. Everyone knows he wouldn’t have gotten this far if he didn’t use the drugs. Seems fair to me. Write him off. But 50 days is too lenient. Throw the cheater out and don’t let him back in. NOW THAT WOULD AFFECT THE MINDS OF ALL BASEBALL PLAYERS THINKING ABOUT USING DRUGS. They know it is illegal, why give them a second chance?
        Try and get out of a jail term for robbing a bank!

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:27 PM

      I’m Bobby Valentine, and I approve this message.

  3. sabatimus - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Exactly, Craig. This could be a dangerous precedent. On the other hand, I’m not sorry that Cabrera won’t be winning the title, and I’m glad he was at least man enough to want to remove himself from consideration.

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

      You’ll find that most human beings are “man enough” to try to save face, celebrities moreso.

      • theskinsman - Sep 22, 2012 at 3:35 PM

        Like Baroid Bonds? Roidger ?A-fraud?Rafael Palmero? Most of these guys deny away,until the next player gets busted,or they get Andy HGH Pettitt to “miss-remember” to get them off in court. Celebrities, if anything go to insane extremes to try and get away with cheating.

  4. sonoco - Sep 21, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Like George Willis, Jr. in Scent of a Woman, Melky Cabrera should receive neither recognition nor commendation. for his cooperation.

  5. pjmitch - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    Did you really not think he was joking??

  6. jkcalhoun - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    “Withdrawing” from consideration for the batting crown…. $0
    Increasing the number of bidders for his services in 2013…. Priceless

    • rooney24 - Sep 21, 2012 at 7:00 PM

      Do you really think that will help him get offers? I’m not sure that will help.

  7. shawndc04 - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Melky can’t win the batting title, Giants and A’s can’t be resolved, one game “playin” with better team opening on the road, Nationals can’t get tv fees resolved. To quote Vince Lombardi, “What the hell is going on out there?”

  8. mungman69 - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    How did Common Man insult anyone? If your skin is that thin then…

  9. braddavery - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    I don’t like this at ALL. Awful move.

  10. dannythebisforbeast - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Baseball records and history are officially trash and meaningless.

  11. nategearhart - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Huh, it’s the damnedest thing. I go to mlb.com and look up who has the highest batting average in the NL, and it still says Melky Cabrera.
    http://tinyurl.com/9gh35jx

    • johngaltx - Sep 21, 2012 at 6:55 PM

      Wrong, Cabrera does will not have enough plate appearances to qualify and requested that MLB not add the one extra appearance that he would have needed to qualify. He will have a higher average than the possible winner, but will also not have enough plate appearances to be the batting champion.

  12. bravefan4life - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    I agree that the precedent being set is dangerous, but I also have some admiration for Melky in his move (if in fact he did this out of regret). Assuming that, I think he did the morally right thing since he knew he cheated by breaking arguably the worst rule you can break in baseball. If I put myself in his position I would have done the same thing. 1. he didn’t deserve the title and 2. whoever comes in second doesn’t deserve to lose it because the winner cheated. That would put a hell of a lot of guilt on me having to live with those two things. Maybe he’s just trying to fix (as best he can) a wrong he did. We all screw up from time to time.

  13. sailbum7 - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    If they are going to do things like this are they gong to go back and revise all of Barry Bond’s statistics and take away all his titles. Why not take away his home run record since he hit the majority of them while on steroids!!! Why not take all those players who used PEDs out of the Hall of Fame!!! This seems like a very deliberate move to penalize one single player for something that many have done before and still received their awards. Either he meets the eligibility for the title under the rules or he doesn’t, that should be the end of it!!!

    • joelgold - Sep 21, 2012 at 10:27 PM

      Love all the exclamation marks!!! Problem is, Bonds didn’t have a positive test even though most believe he was juicing. Plus, Melky isn’t being punished, he is removing himself from consideration. Big difference.

  14. drewsylvania - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    MLB just undermined all of their rules. This might be the worst thing the league has ever done. The rules are no longer sacrosanct. Any MLB employee can now lobby to ignore rules, and the league might listen.

    Frankly, this is at least as bad as Rose betting on baseball. Both undermine the game fundamentally.

  15. drewsylvania - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    Bud can’t prevent Melky from winning the batting title.

  16. drewsylvania - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    What’s next? Give Pujols all of Barry Bonds’ MVP awards? Give Ted Williams the MVP award for the year in which a sleazeball Yankee-fan writer left him off the ballot? Throw out Norm Cash’s 1961 batting title because he used a corked bat? Invalidate Phil Niekro’s entire career? Give the Yankees a few more WS titles because hey, why not?

    The list is endless. MLB killed the league with this move.

  17. rooney24 - Sep 21, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Will the players union be trying to talk Bonds into opting out of the all time home run “title”?

  18. lostsok - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    I thought you have to have 502 PA to qualify, and Melky has 459 at bats, 36 walks, and no HBP. He’s short anyway…

    • lostsok - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:28 AM

      Ah. “…baseball’s rules state that a non-qualifying player will have as many hitless at-bats added to his total as it takes to get him to the qualifying number.”

      What a dumb rule.

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