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MLB’s official statement on Melky shows that “regret” is now part of PED punishments

Sep 21, 2012, 4:30 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants v Atlanta Braves Getty Images

Major League Baseball just released Bud Selig’s official statement on the new Melky Cabrera Rule. And — as I’m sure all of you will love — it opens up a whole new avenue of PED punishment and debate:

 “After giving this matter the consideration it deserves, I have decided that Major League Baseball will comply with Mr. Cabrera’s request,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “I respect his gesture as a sign of his regret and his desire to move forward, and I believe that, under these circumstances, the outcome is appropriate, particularly for Mr. Cabrera’s peers who are contending for the batting crown.”

Very nice of him, but now, apparently, the PED offender’s level of “regret” is relevant. Fifty games and millions in fines will not be considered enough in the court of public opinion. Whether a PED user is truly remorseful will depend on whatever ad-hoc grand gesture of contrition he makes over and above the suspension and forfeited salary.

If Melky will give up his batting title, what will the next guy have to do?  How many columns will be written by awards and Hall of Fame voters judging the player’s level of regret and finding it wanting? Heck, they do that already. As of today, however, they have an official diktat of Major League Baseball with which to justify their sanctimony.

All I know is that if I were Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds, I’d call a press conference tomorrow in which I officially remove myself from Hall of Fame consideration for one year. I declare that, because of my baseball sins, I do not feel worthy to be on the first ballot for which I am eligible, and do not wish to be considered among the great men who were first ballot inductees. I would go on about how I am remorseful for my actions. I’d even throw a bone to Jack Morris, saying I don’t want to be unfair to him for extra credit.

I bet people would eat that up. It’d get them in the Hall of Fame faster than they otherwise would.  Melky and Major League Baseball have shown us the way.

  1. East Coast Raider - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    I could be wrong, but maybe Cabrera just realized that he would be the most hated man in baseball if he somehow won the batting title, and just didn’t want the negative publicity. I would bet that he had some people pressuring him into it, but I don’t see it as quite as big of a deal as Craig does.

    Melky already apologized and admitted what he did, so it’s not like he’s fighting it and proclaiming innocence. I think his request to be removed from consideration was the right thing to do. Nothing more, and certainly not this grand conspiracy that threatens to soil baseball forever and doom all of mankind.

    • barrancefong - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:49 PM

      There’s no doubt to me that this was done strictly by Melky as an attempt to save whatever was left of his reputation, although I’m sure he would have been hated just the same even if he didn’t win the batting title.

      This does open a whole other can of worms though in that there is now a precedent set. Although Melky isn’t technically “giving” anything back, people are going to start wondering why so-and-so player isn’t giving up his MVP or Cy Young.

      • largebill - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:00 PM

        How does ignoring one rule improve his reputation which was only damaged by not following another rule?

    • jgraening - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      I see it as a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ scenario. Fans would have been up in arms if Cabrera would have walked away with the batting title after being suspended for 50 games and saying MLB is just sitting on their hands and not doing anything. Baseball does something and fans are up in arms over changing the rules to fit the scenario.

      I’d much rather have baseball set some sort of precedence to move forward with even if it is near the end of the season. At least MLB is doing something and not awarding a suspended player.

  2. philsphilsphils - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Should we loathe him still, Craig? Tell us how to feel.

  3. Reflex - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Is the batting title an actual award, or is it simply a record of events? If its an award, when is the last time someone with lower than the best batting average in a qualifying number of games won it? If its a record of events, does this mean we are taking those hits out of the record books?

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

      It’s an award that is given based on fulfilling certain criteria within the rules. It’s not a voted upon award, but an award pursuant to certain qualifications.

      • Reflex - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:59 PM

        What is the award, however? A plaque? A trophy? What determines how the record books show batting average?

        An award implies something is given.

      • cur68 - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:08 PM

        You have a picture of the trophy or plaque or someone holding this award? I’d love to see it. I can’t find such a picture anywhere I’ve looked.

      • nategearhart - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:12 PM

        It’s not an award. “Batting champ” is the name we have given to the person with the highest batting average. Like “home run king”. They just call you that because “guy with the most home runs” takes up too much newspaper real estate.

      • sabatimus - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:23 PM

        The actual award may be contractual–players very often get bonuses written into their contracts if their respective team wins the division, championship series, etc.

  4. phillyphever - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Craig, seriously leave the bad jokes and sarcasm to Florio. You’re failing badly with those two.

    • sabatimus - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:15 PM

      You think, on principle, he was kidding?

  5. natslady - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    It’s clear this comes from MLB not wanting a repeat of the Braun MVP flap. That is all.

  6. escapingexile - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Hey Craig, here’s a good question. Let’s say one of either Bonds or Clemens took the path you have described. Would they be incriminating themselves, or would double jeopardy apply?

    • sabatimus - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:58 PM

      Now THAT is an excellent question.

    • scatterbrian - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:52 PM

      Incriminating, obviously. Unlike Cabrera, neither of those guys failed a drug test or was suspended for PED use.

      • escapingexile - Sep 21, 2012 at 6:23 PM

        My point is, unlike Cabrera, both of these guys have had criminal trials in relation to their alleged use of PED’s for various reasons. Obviously, their admission is incriminating themselves. My question, however, is would their admissions have the potential for further legal ramifications? Or would it leave the government essentially with their hands tied given that they have already gone through trial?

  7. sarcasticks - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Fifty games and millions in fines was never going to be enough in the court of public opinion. What is surprising about this to you? “Enough”, in the court of public opinion, is whatever the public defines it to be. I think you are giving too little credit to the hall of fame voters. Your article suggests that they are mindless drones that take all cues from the league. Hall of fame voters have always considered regret in their decisions. Regret, integrity, respect for the game and many others, which are hard to define, have always been considerations in hall of fame voting. After all, induction into the hall of fame is voted upon, by human beings, with human emotions. Human beings will make subjective decisions based on more than statistics and consistency.

  8. philsieg - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Melky is a pending FA. I’m going to be a tad cynical and say that this is his agent’s advice. Basically, he’s got a better chance at a more lucrative contract for next season if he throws himself on his sword now. Reduces the PR hit to his new team and maybe cons a few FO gullible types in the bargain.

  9. ajcardsfan - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    Regret in this scenario, I’m guessing is the same kind you get when caught sleeping with a hooker. You enjoyed it while you were doing it, but afraid to admit it.

  10. sabatimus - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    This decision, the bowing to Cabrera by the MLBPA and Selig, is in fact COLLUSION. They willfully threw one of their own rules out the window. They’d already punished Cabrera, according to the rules, for PED use. Now they’re going to BREAK their own rules to accommodate him? This is utterly asinine. I don’t want to see Cabrera win the batting title, but the compromise of the system here is MUCH more important than the batting title.

    Does Pete Rose feel bad about gambling on baseball? If so, maybe he should apply to have his being banned from baseball reverse because hey, now there’s a precedent.


  11. drewsylvania - Sep 21, 2012 at 4:59 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.

  12. btwicey - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Can.of.worms. Wait a minute … Did Bud actually say “batting crown”? … Ummm he does realise that’s just a made up award… Right?

    • nategearhart - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:15 PM

      Bud Selig thinks Abner Doubleday invented baseball. Selig is not much of an authority when it comes to baseball facts…unfortunately.

  13. randygnyc - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    I expressed this exact sentiment nearly 2 hours ago in the previous melky post. What, no hat tip Craig?

  14. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    So, when I sort 2012 player stats by batting average, where will Melky be? Under McCutchen, albeit with a higher avg?

    • sabatimus - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:28 PM

      Yeah really? All this talk about PED asterisks, and yet here could be a bona-fide cause for an asterisk based purely on numerical discrepancies and the lack of handing out an award to the person with the higher average. Simply incredible.

    • Kevin S. - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:51 PM

      Actually if your minimum PA is Qualified then Melky would not have shown up, with or without this. I want to know if his .346 is going to be bolded on B-R, though.

  15. drewsylvania - Sep 21, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    The best part is that Bud can’t stop Melky from winning the batting title. He has the highest average, he wins the title.

  16. itsonlyaspeedbump - Sep 21, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    EMOTIONAL AND OVERLY-SENSITIVE GIANTS FAN ALERT: I think Cabrera should have just been defiant through this whole process. An over-righteous national media and fans are not forgiving whether players show “regret” or not. And him giving up the batting title is not going to prevent the media storm next year for whatever team he signs with.

  17. Walk - Sep 21, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    What they should have done is started giving out the ted williams award this year for the league’s leading hitter. Under the rules for this first time award a player who did not have the minimum number of at bats due to suspensions would be considered ineligible. Carry over the rest of the usual rules for considering batting average. Issue resolved. They could have even issued a press conference and credited melky with helping this decision come about. Insted they threw a bunch of crap together and flung it at the wall hoping it would stick the attempted to polish the remaining turd and served it up to us.

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