Major League Baseball and San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera made a classy move. MLB.com reports that Cabrera asked to have himself removed from contention for the National League batting title because of the 50-game suspension that will keep him out for the remainder of the season.
Cabrera received the suspension penalty earlier in the season for testing positive for testosterone. He currently leads the National League with a .346 average in 501 plate appearances. He would need one more plate appearance to make it official for the entire season. Rule 10.22(a) allows the average leader to add plate appearances to make it up to 502. Cabrera would add a 0-for-1, and if he still led, then he would win the batting title.
I credit Cabrera for making this request. Cabrera understands that that his potential batting title would be tainted. That stigma would have likely stuck with him for the rest of his career. What kind of reaction would he have received from fans? In addition, other players in contention may have had reason to complain. Andrew McCutchen (.338 at the start of play on September 22) of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Buster Posey (.335) of the Giants are now the frontrunners. They can now battle it out for the title.
I also credit commissioner Bud Selig and MLB for granting Cabrera's request. That same stigma may have stuck with Major League Baseball for a long time to come. Baseball already has too many questions about potential Hall-of-Fame players linked to performance enhancing drugs, and it does not need another blemish. Adding this possible blotch would not endear fans already upset about steroid use and could push some of them away from the game.
I also agree with Chicago Cubs broadcasters Len Kasper and Bob Brenly, who commented on the decision during the September 21 Cubs' game. They suggested that this situation become a concrete rule that automatically bans a suspended player from winning batting titles or similar titles or receiving voted-upon awards. That rule would make perfect sense. Perhaps it should have already existed, but maybe now MLB can make it official.
Both Melky Cabrera and Commissioner Selig made the right moves in removing Cabrera from the batting title contention. This decision may not clean up all of Major League Baseball's problems, but it is a good start.
Comcast Sports Net Chicago, St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs, September 21, 2012.
MLB.com, Melky Will Not Be Named NL Batting Champion, mlb.mlb.com, September 21, 2012.
MLB.com, Sortable Player Statistics, mlb.mlb.com as of September 22, 2012.
Raymond became a baseball fan at a very young age. He played baseball through high school and soon after became a varsity coach. Raymond previously produced radio sports talk shows and hosted a weekly MLB radio call-in show. His favorite teams are the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees. Follow Raymond on Twitter @RayBureau
More from this contributor: