The Melkman Sinned

As a huge Yankee fan I remember Melky Cabrera as a good fourth outfielder when he played for the Yankees. That fourth outfielder, I watched play for the Yankees, is now a superstar for the Giants. He was chosen to the NL All-Star team and was selected as the MVP of the All-Star game. He is batting .346 and in contention for the batting title. Millions of dollars were in his reach with next year’s contract. Everything was so right for Melky in 2012.

It all changed when it was announced that Melky failed baseball’s drug test. Melky then admitted he had used a certain banned substance. By baseball’s drug rule, he was suspended for 50 games and consequently his .346 batting average is his final batting average for 2012. He has 501 plate appearances which is one short of the minimum needed to be considered for the batting title. However, baseball allows one out to be added giving him 502 plate appearances. His .3464 batting average becomes .3456.

This raises the following question: If he has the highest batting average at the end of the year does he win the batting title? In my first post about breaking records I favored not using the asterisk next to any baseball record. Since winning a batting title is an award for just one year, it can never be broken. Consequently, winning a battle title is not the same as setting a baseball record.

Since Melky failed the drug test and admitted he cheated, it would dishonor the game of baseball to declare him the batting champion. If a student gets the highest score on a test and it is proven the student cheated, would a school give him an award for this achievement? The answer is a resounding NO.

If his .346 average turns out to be the highest batting average for 2012, baseball should not declare Melky the batting champion. Instead, the batting title should be awarded to the player, who without cheating had the highest batting average.

What happens to Melky’s .346 batting average? Unlike the case of a test in a school where the student would be given a zero for cheating, we cannot declare Melky’s batting average as zero. What we can do is place an ASTERISK next to the .346. At the bottom of the page the explanation will be given.

I am interested in what you think? Also, what do you think we should do about his All-Star MVP Award?

Original Comments:

5 Comment(s):

Deb Meole said…

You are the numbers man, here is a trivia question for you. How many stitches are there on a major league baseball?

August 25, 2012 07:56:19


Chris Sbalcio said…

First off, let me say that I do NOT think that Melky should have his All-Star Game MVP Award revoked. He played in the game, he made an impact, and the NL won, that’s all done and over with. Yes, he was using illegal substances, but he still played and came through in the clutch when he needed to. However, as for the batting title, I do NOT think he should be awarded that title, but not for the reasons that you might think. Does he deserve it after what he did? No, but what I look at is the number of at-bats. He didn’t have enough because of his suspension, so he should not receive the award. And before anyone argues otherwise, I also don’t think Tony Gwynn should be the 1996 batting champion, it should be Ellis Burks. The rule of adding “hitless at bats” is ridiculous. The player was not capable of making the at-bat, so he should not be capable of winning the award. How would that work for a pitcher going for the ERA title? How do you add another inning to reach the minimum? You can’t assume that the pitcher gives up just one run in that last inning, so the rule should stand for all players. Melky should not be the 2012 batting champion, but it is because he only has 501 at-bats, not 502, end of story.

August 24, 2012 11:00:04


Nikolai said…

Not sure I agree. This whole “he won but we’ll take it away because we don’t like the champion” revisionist is getting a little too Stalinist for me. Not as relevant to the batting title (not awarded yet), but what does it mean to take away his AllStar game MVP? He won it. I saw it with my own eyes. Now he didn’t win it? Records and awards are a record of what happened during the season, much more so than rewards to the players for good performance.

August 20, 2012 04:34:08


Dennis said…

This is a no brainer on all counts. No MVP consideration and no batting title. All Star MVP should be recinded. Now we learn that Melkey set up a website for a new drug that would give him an alibi for taking Test without knowing it. His dishonesty has proven to be his character. This story could grow legs: Now we learn that the website was paid for by a “friend” of his that is employed by his two baseball agents. MLB is investigating with the FBI. As I said before, steroids are still in the game.

August 20, 2012 07:40:06


Cristina said…

I completely agree. I do not like the fact that baseball achievements can have asterisks. In Melky’s case, he does not deserve the batting title in the slightest bit. If he was unaware of the substance he was taking, he should’ve investigated it first, instead of thinking he could out-smart the MLB. Although he technically has enough plate appearances to qualify for the award, he should not receive the batting title because he cheating. There is no other argument. I also believe he should be removed as MVP of the all-star game. Even if no one can take his place now, there are a few others who participated in the game who made game-changing plays who didn’t cheat.

August 19, 2012 09:07:59


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