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Monday, September 24, 2012

Baseball-Reference: Forman: How I Think We’ll Handle Melky and the Batting Title

Backerial Formantation: Handling the sour Melky Cabrera situation.

I admit I’m not a big fan of the decision to withdraw Cabrera from the batting title consideration. He has the highest average based on the rules and regardless of what he was using those hits occurred on the field. Since Baseball-Reference.com is pretty much all about what happens on the field, it puts us in a bit of a bind as Cabrera irrefutably (at least as it stands now) has the highest batting average in the league, but the league will not recognize him as the batting champion.

Looking to historical precedent, it’s clear to me that we should now and should continue to list Cabrera with the highest batting average in the 2012. However, it shouldn’t surprise you that there have been many other cases, though none recently, where the batting titleist at the time and person we currently recognize with the highest batting average don’t match up.

The most “recent” case is 1910 where Lajoie had a higher batting average than Cobb, but due to various shenanigans Cobb was given the batting title (though both got the winner’s promised automobile).

Likewise in 1902, we list Lajoie ahead of Ed Delahanty. The issues are even larger on the pitching side as the requirements have shifted around before settling on 1 IP per scheduled game (I’ve seen books citing minimum 10 complete games or 45 innings pitched). Even the 1IP/Gm can cause issues as in 1981 Steve McCatty was the recognized ERA Champion, even though in our opinion Sammy Stewart and Dave Righetti had better ERA’s.

To handle this, we’ve decided to list ERA Leaders and BA leaders as they currently are in the leaderboard pages. These will be updated and change as new data becomes available and we will be apolitical as much as possible in how we draw these leaderboards. This is essentially the status quo.

In addition, though, we will add as awards the Batting Champion and Pitching Champion which will represent the player recognized at the end of the year as the top hitter and top pitcher. And we will strive to denote on each when the winners of the two do not match up.

This way folks can see who was best on the field and who was recognized as such at the time when the season ended.

Repoz Posted: September 24, 2012 at 06:42 PM | 90 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giants, site news

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   1. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: September 24, 2012 at 06:52 PM (#4244622)
DISGRACEFUL!!!!!
   2. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 24, 2012 at 07:21 PM (#4244638)
There's plenty of precedent; it just comes from sports other than baseball.
   3. cardsfanboy Posted: September 24, 2012 at 07:45 PM (#4244642)
Other sports are inferior to baseball.
   4. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 24, 2012 at 07:58 PM (#4244646)
Other sports are inferior to baseball.

Not a truer sentiment has ever been posted on this site.
   5. depletion Posted: September 24, 2012 at 08:13 PM (#4244656)
He has the highest average based on the rules and regardless of what he was using those hits occurred on the field.

The counter arguement to this is that he wouldn't have had some of those hits if he wasn't breaking the rules (for PED's). If it was revealed that he had used a corked bat in every game, or had the groundskeeper install a short first base line for his AB's, then he still would have had to hit the ball and run, but he would not be adhering to the rules.
Whether the anti-PED clauses are good rules or not is a legitimate discussion, but everyone knows what the rules are.
   6. tshipman Posted: September 24, 2012 at 08:20 PM (#4244662)
The counter arguement to this is that he wouldn't have had some of those hits if he wasn't breaking the rules (for PED's).


Okay, but that's a really stupid argument.
   7. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: September 24, 2012 at 08:35 PM (#4244669)
I like Mr. Forman's solution. The stats stay the same, and if baseball wants a separate category of "Player with the highest batting average who wasn't caught cheating," that can also be tracked.
   8. boteman is here Posted: September 24, 2012 at 08:40 PM (#4244671)
Okay, but that's a really stupid argument.

That's enough to convince me that it must be.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: September 24, 2012 at 08:52 PM (#4244674)
From a "historical accuracy" standpoint, this is trivial in comparison to the fact that b-r credits (for example) Wilhelm with 227 career saves despite the fact that the save rule didn't even exist until the very end of his career.* As far as I know, nobody objects to retroactively applying the save rule so I don't see any reason for anybody to get worked up about making sure b-r remains consistent (on a season-by-season basis) with baseball rules about batting champions.

* Lord only knows what poor Sean will do if they change the save rule at some point.
   10. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: September 24, 2012 at 08:54 PM (#4244675)
Even the 1IP/Gm can cause issues as in 1981 Steve McCatty was the recognized ERA Champion, even though in our opinion Sammy Stewart and Dave Righetti had better ERA’s.


That was a weird one. To recap, for those unfamiliar, the rules used to be that for purposes of determining the ERA champion, partial innings were to be rounded to the nearest whole number. Thus, 1/3 would be rounded down, and 2/3 would be rounded up. The actual numbers from 1981:

McCatty - 185.2 IP, 48 ER 2.33 ERA
Stewart - 112.1 IP, 29 ER, 2.32 ERA

But when you add 1/3 IP to McCatty and subtract 1/3 from Stewart, you get 2.32 and 2.33 respectively. Thus, McCatty was recognized at the time as the champion. BBREF recognizes Stewart.

I'm not sure how Righetti figures into this. He didn't have enough innings to qualify, and AFAIK, was never recognized as the champion, and BBREF does not list him among the leaders.
   11. bunyon Posted: September 24, 2012 at 08:56 PM (#4244676)
Okay, so I've read the intro a couple of times and my conclusion is that MLB should award this year's batting title to Nap Lajoie.

I look forward to getting a chance to read the full article later.
   12. depletion Posted: September 24, 2012 at 08:58 PM (#4244678)
I would assume that the Giants team stats stay the same, no? Has MLB established a policy on personal stats for PED victims going forward? Or did they just wing it on this one.
   13. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: September 24, 2012 at 09:03 PM (#4244681)
So who gets the Chalmers?
   14. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 24, 2012 at 09:08 PM (#4244687)
I would assume that the Giants team stats stay the same, no? Has MLB established a policy on personal stats for PED victims going forward? Or did they just wing it on this one.'


Nothing changes with Melky's stats (or, obviously, the Giants' or their opponents'). He still hit .346. He just won't be recognized by MLB as the batting champion with that average.

   15. Tippecanoe Posted: September 24, 2012 at 09:08 PM (#4244688)

The funny thing is, BB-ref will be stripping steroid-cheat Melky Cabrera of his 2012 NL Batting Championship and will present it instead to...Ryan Braun!
   16. Davo Dozier Posted: September 24, 2012 at 09:18 PM (#4244694)
I'm not sure how Righetti figures into this. He didn't have enough innings to qualify, and AFAIK, was never recognized as the champion, and BBREF does not list him among the leaders.

This is the first I'd heard of it either.

Wikipedia, FWIW, lists Dave Righetti as the leader, and their "source" is BB-REF....which tells me that at some point, BB-REF did state Righetti was the leader.
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: September 24, 2012 at 09:26 PM (#4244701)
The funny thing is, BB-ref will be stripping steroid-cheat Melky Cabrera of his 2012 NL Batting Championship and will present it instead to...Ryan Braun!


Except bb-ref isn't presenting it, they are just acknowledging what the MLB is saying is the winner.
   18. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: September 24, 2012 at 09:27 PM (#4244703)
Wikipedia, FWIW, lists Dave Righetti as the leader, and their "source" is BB-REF....which tells me that at some point, BB-REF did state Righetti was the leader.


Righetti pitched 105 innings, but the Yankees played 107 games, and thus not officially eligible. However, since some teams played 105 or fewer games (the Royals and Indians played 103), some pitches would be eligible with 105 IP, and maybe BBREF once recognized anyone with 103 IP or more as eligible.
   19. Sean Forman Posted: September 24, 2012 at 09:33 PM (#4244704)
Righetti pitched 105 innings, but the Yankees played 107 games, and thus not officially eligible. However, since some teams played 105 or fewer games (the Royals and Indians played 103), some pitches would be eligible with 105 IP, and maybe BBREF once recognized anyone with 103 IP or more as eligible.


Ding ding ding

If the saves rule is changed, I will likely respond with tears.
   20. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 24, 2012 at 09:36 PM (#4244708)
I like Mr. Forman's solution. The stats stay the same, and if baseball wants a separate category of "Player with the highest batting average who wasn't caught cheating," that can also be tracked.

Ditto. Good call, Sean.

The most “recent” case is 1910 where Lajoie had a higher batting average than Cobb, but due to various shenanigans Cobb was given the batting title (though both got the winner’s promised automobile).

IMO that case was infinitely worse than any of the others, including Melky's. If I'd been Ban Johnson, I'd have voided every one of Lajoie's hits and given the batting championship to Cobb, with no further discussion. There's absolutely no reason why Lajoie should have been the beneficiary of a farce like the Browns pulled. Johnson did ban the Browns' manager and coach for life, but when he didn't void Lajoie's hits, he opened the way for Pete Palmer to lend legitimacy** to the idea that Lajoie was the actual batting champ.

**not that that was necessarily his intention, but that was the effect of revising Cobb's BA down, an adjustment that by itself was both benign and correct
   21.   Posted: September 24, 2012 at 09:44 PM (#4244713)

There's plenty of precedent; it just comes from sports other than baseball.


Where did anyone say there wasn't precedent? There was precedent, and he listed what BB-ref did in the preceding cases.

   22. Mike Webber Posted: September 24, 2012 at 10:00 PM (#4244726)
What is a 1911 Chalmers worth now? I mean, for some classic cars, I'd think Cobb-Lajoie type shenanigans would ensue.
   23. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 24, 2012 at 10:23 PM (#4244737)
The funny thing is, BB-ref will be stripping steroid-cheat Melky Cabrera of his 2012 NL Batting Championship and will present it instead to...Ryan Braun!

Only if Braun heats up a whole lot in the last few games of the season; he'd have to pass Molina, Posey, and McCutchen, and two of those are at least 15 points ahead of him.
   24. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: September 24, 2012 at 10:39 PM (#4244745)
At the end of today, McCutchen's at .336 and Posey's at .332. Braun is at .318 with nine games left. To hit .330, he has to go 17-for-31. To catch Melky, he'd need something like 28 hits.
   25. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: September 24, 2012 at 10:59 PM (#4244756)
Only if Braun heats up a whole lot in the last few games of the season; he'd have to pass Molina, Posey, and McCutchen, and two of those are at least 15 points ahead of him.


Don't forget Votto. He's currently at .338, but his 0 fers bring him down below Braun. But because of that, even a 1 for 5 brings his qualifying average up.
   26. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:01 AM (#4244797)
Thanks to all for the info on the Stewart/McCatty/Righetti matter of 1981. I read about it in the blog post and wanted more information. When I looked at BB-Ref's stats, it seemed obvious that Stewart was the leader and Righetti didn't qualify, so I didn't quite understand Sean's comment.
   27. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:30 AM (#4244814)
In addition, though, we will add as awards the Batting Champion and Pitching Champion which will represent the player recognized at the end of the year as the top hitter and top pitcher. And we will strive to denote on each when the winners of the two do not match up.

This way folks can see who was best on the field and who was recognized as such at the time when the season ended.


Bud Selig is an idiot.
   28. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:33 AM (#4244818)
The counter arguement to this is that he wouldn't have had some of those hits if he wasn't breaking the rules (for PED's)


You have absolutely no idea about that. None.

Whether the anti-PED clauses are good rules or not is a legitimate discussion, but everyone knows what the rules are.


And what the penalties are. And this was not one of the penalties.
   29. Bhaakon Posted: September 25, 2012 at 02:11 AM (#4244863)
And what the penalties are. And this was not one of the penalties.


It's a not a penalty. He requested to withdraw voluntarily, and that request was granted to by MLB and the MLBPA.
   30. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 04:15 AM (#4244871)
To handle this, we’ve decided to list ERA Leaders and BA leaders as they currently are in the leaderboard pages. These will be updated and change as new data becomes available and we will be apolitical as much as possible in how we draw these leaderboards. This is essentially the status quo.

But what happens if Melky writes you a letter next, requesting that you remove the batting title from his page? Will you oblige? :)
   31. bjhanke Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:11 AM (#4244881)
Sean - First, I think you're handling this correctly, It's not your job to be the commissioner of baseball, so you don't get to make the official rules. But it is your job to recognize who did what. So second, just to check for BB-Ref consistency, I looked at the AL for 1954, the Avila/Williams fiasco (Ted hit a bit more than Bobby, but took so many walks that he didn't make the at-bat cutoff that was the qualifier rule at the time). You (Player Index) list Williams with the highest average, but Avila with the black ink. I agree. Good call. - Brock Hanke
   32. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:51 AM (#4244886)
It's a not a penalty. He requested to withdraw voluntarily, and that request was granted to by MLB and the MLBPA.
Withdraw from what? Can Miguel Cabrera "withdraw" from the home run race?
   33. Russ Posted: September 25, 2012 at 06:13 AM (#4244893)
Withdraw from what? Can Miguel Cabrera "withdraw" from the home run race?


I wish the Pirates could withdraw from the September pennant chase. :(

   34. depletion Posted: September 25, 2012 at 07:34 AM (#4244904)
You have absolutely no idea about that. None.

I wrote about what the counter arguement is, not that I was advocating the counter arguement. I didn't want to get into this pissing match, but apparently you do. Whether PED's made a difference on any particular AB that Melky had this year is difficult to prove and is not the point. Just like it is difficult to prove a corked bat helped turn an out into a hit, but the batter found using a corked bat is called out.
   35. depletion Posted: September 25, 2012 at 07:38 AM (#4244906)
Cabrera's statement:
"I have no wish to win an award that would be tainted. I believe it
would be far better for someone more deserving to win. I asked the Players Association and the league to take the necessary steps to remove my name from consideration for the National League batting title.

"I am grateful that the Players Association and MLB were able to
honor my request by suspending the rule for this season. I know that changing the rules mid-season can present problems, and I thank the Players Association and MLB for finding a way to get this done."
   36. Tippecanoe Posted: September 25, 2012 at 08:22 AM (#4244922)
The term "Batting Champion" should be redefined to mean soemthing other than the leader in that strange ratio, "batting avergage." To keep it simple, for example, the OPS leader could be named (in BB-Ref) as Batting Champ. The time to try this is now; Melky Cabrera has presented a unique opportunity for marketing this kind of redefinition to the mainstream.

Batting averages can stay in the records, for historical reasons. Melky would keep his black ink, which would remain every bit as prestigious as leading the league in triples or plate appearances or hit-by-pitch.
   37. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 25, 2012 at 08:48 AM (#4244931)
You have absolutely no idea about that. None.

Actually, we do have an idea, but it's beside the point. He cheated in the midst of "achieving" his .346 average.(*) You don't reward cheating. You penalize it -- harshly. This is understood in practically every other sport.

Other sports expunge the "accomplishments" of PED users from the record books -- that's the precedent to which I'm alluding.

(*) And, as I noted in the other thread, Cabrera only conditionally hit .346, just as the Belarussian woman only conditionally finished first in the 2012 Olympic shot put. The condition failed.

Withdraw from what?

Consideration for an honor he knows he doesn't deserve.
   38. BDC Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:19 AM (#4244957)
Other sports expunge the "accomplishments" of PED users from the record books -- that's the precedent to which I'm alluding

And as I've been pointing out in other threads, MLB isn't expunging anything. Every hit made by Melky stands; the runs he scored count against pitchers' ERAs, and the ones he drove in count as Runs Scored for his teammates; the Giants' victories stand. The only "expunging" being done is in terms of the extreme sophistication of pretending not to see with one eye what you're officially counting with the other.

Now, it's obviously more than OK for MLB to dock Melky some pay, sit his ### down, and prevent him from getting any of the little perks that might come with being named Batting Champion, if there are any, like making him go to bed without ice cream and not allowing him to take Ellen Blonsky to the Fall Mixer or borrow the car past ten o'clock. The rules are the rules. But nobody's expunging.
   39. bunyon Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:27 AM (#4244967)
If the saves rule is changed, I will likely respond with tears.

Sean, if this happens, I hope you'll have a whole section of the site devoted to showing that the saves rule is bogus and against the interest of baseball. Have a page where a random reliever's photo pops up and we can throw virtual darts at it.
   40. JJ1986 Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:27 AM (#4244968)
Olympic GAMES, like track or swimming, or professional cycling, can expunge records because an individual's performance does not affect anyone else. Each one of Melky's hits affects the Giants, whatever team the Giants are playing against, every team in the NL West, everyone in the NL and potentially every team in baseball.

The NFL didn't take away Brian Cushing's sacks.
   41. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:33 AM (#4244972)
Consideration for an honor he knows he doesn't deserve.
The batting title is not a vote. There is no "consideration.". We just do the math.

And it's ludicrous - as BDC explains - to suggest this is about "cheating." If those hits weren't real and fairly earned, then the runs driven in with them, and the runs he subsequently scored, were not real and fairly earned, and the resulting wins were not real and fairly earned. And yet the Giants continue to get the benefit of all of them, to the point that they're going to the playoffs. That's a far bigger undeserved "honor."
   42. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:40 AM (#4244980)
The NFL didn't take away Brian Cushing's sacks.


Citing the NFL as an example of anything but rank incompetence & corruption is probably not a very good idea.
   43. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:51 AM (#4244996)
But what happens if Melky writes you a letter next, requesting that you remove the batting title from his page? Will you oblige?


IMO, Sean should reply with a polite letter back with the explanation he gives above. As I understand what Sean says above, Cabrera will not be listed as the "Batting Champion", but as the player with the highest batting average in the NL - and both of those will reflect the actual situation.

-- MWE
   44. GregD Posted: September 25, 2012 at 10:07 AM (#4245024)
But what happens if Melky writes you a letter next, requesting that you remove the batting title from his page? Will you oblige?
And what if Melky writes every person who posts on these threads? And then texts people who refer to him in conversation as the champ? It would be awesome!

I too am thinking about writing a letter stating that I am not the batting champion.
   45. Gary Truth Serum Posted: September 25, 2012 at 10:10 AM (#4245029)
Olympic GAMES, like track or swimming, or professional cycling, can expunge records because an individual's performance does not affect anyone else.

Not all of the Olympic Games. Wrestlers have had medals stripped due to drug usage, but FILA didn't redo any Olympic draws to allow the wrestlers they defeated back in the competition. (They couldn't, since the competitions had already concluded when any tainted results were discovered.) In that way, they're being consistent with the Melky situation. What happened on the field (or on the mat) stands, but any resulting awards from those actions can be removed.
   46. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 25, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4245041)
If those hits weren't real and fairly earned, then the runs driven in with them, and the runs he subsequently scored, were not real and fairly earned, and the resulting wins were not real and fairly earned. And yet the Giants continue to get the benefit of all of them, to the point that they're going to the playoffs.


Precisely, and this is why the comparisons to individual sports like track and field and cycling don't make sense. Individual sports can expunge records all they like because those records affect only the individual. But as long as professional team sports don't require forfeits when a team uses a player who is in violation of the rules, then penalizing said players while leaving their team's records intact makes little sense.

-- MWE

EDIT: Gary's point in #45 is duly noted.
   47. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4245063)
It's a not a penalty. He requested to withdraw voluntarily, and that request was granted to by MLB and the MLBPA.


That makes no sense. His batting average happened. It's fact. And the "fix" to this imaginary problem is cartoonish.

I really don't see what the problem is. He tested positive during a year in which he won the batting title. So?

And while Braun is not likely to catch him, the silliness of this can be easily seen by what would happen if Braun did catch him. Or if Posey fails a test. Or if any number of things happen with future races with respect to suspensions and what not. What if this happens next year - Jeter wins the batting title but fails a steroids test and then refuses to withdraw? It's a can of worms that has no need to be opened up. There's wasn't any problem before, but there is one now. Silliness abounds.
   48. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 25, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4245066)
And what if Melky writes every person who posts on these threads? And then texts people who refer to him in conversation as the champ? It would be awesome!

Just make sure that they include a Certificate of Authenticity.
   49. DanG Posted: September 25, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4245091)
If the saves rule is changed, I will likely respond with tears.
At the risk of causing tears, I must remind you the saves rule WAS changed. When the save was made an official stat in 1969 (it had been compiled unofficially since 1960) the rule was more generous. Hiller's record of 38 "saves" that stood for several years would be less under today's save rule. Save #37 is probably the worst example of the old rule. There were 819 saves in MLB in 1973, and only 517 in 1974, due to the rule change. BB-Ref should recalculate saves for 1969-73 so it conforms with the rest of MLB history.
   50. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 25, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4245094)
But nobody's expunging.

Right. In baseball, no one's expunging. In other sports, they are.

Michigan played with ineligible players in the 1993 NCAA basketball tournament, but you can't go back and replay the games with them not in the tournament. So you do the best you can by vacating their wins and wiping them from the record books.(*) Such is life.

(*) The school, to its eternal credit, actually did more than the NCAA required. The Fab Five have been vaporized from the school's basketball history, as have the 1992 and 1993 seasons. No banners, no mention. They happened -- I saw them -- but they didn't really happen. Simple.
   51. Random Transaction Generator Posted: September 25, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4245129)
Actually, we do have an idea, but it's beside the point. He cheated in the midst of "achieving" his .346 average.(*) You don't reward cheating. You penalize it -- harshly. This is understood in practically every other sport.

Gaylord Perry got caught cheating in 1982. I don't remember any rush to have his name removed from the "300 game winner" list, which he achieved that same year.
   52. SoSH U at work Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4245152)
Is the corked bat that breaks upon contact the only example of cheating in baseball where an on-field result is actually reversed? It seems every other example involves ejection/suspension, but the results that have been achieved to that point are allowed to stand (and obviously that's the case with all at bats prior to the one where the illegal bat was revealed).
   53. BDC Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4245188)
The worst cheating that ever happened in major-league baseball remains the 1919 World Series, though since the Black Sox were trying to lose and achieved their aim, the results, logically enough, still stand.

I do expect Bud to rule any day now that the 1951 Giants should be expunged for stealing signs, though. THE DODGERS WIN THE PENNANT!
   54. cardsfanboy Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:25 PM (#4245194)
Right. In baseball, no one's expunging. In other sports, they are.


And as I said before, baseball is the superior sport. Regardless of the sanctimonious press corps or even a commissioner wanting to put an asterisk* by a record, it has never gone back and rewritten history. It's smart enough to know that people aren't complete idiots and can contextualize anything within their own personal viewpoint.

Results are results, you don't remove results after the fact. You make sure as much information sees the light of day and let the individual fans decide how much weight to put on the results. Heck even in the Pete Rose discussion about his hits record, people to this day, still like to point out that if he wasn't the manager he probably doesn't break the record**.


*I know that wasn't actually what he was trying to do, but it fits the narrative to just say put an asterisk next to it.

** again, I know this isn't probably true as any team would have kept him on the roster for the attendance boost his chase gave.
   55. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4245205)
The only logical solution is to change a few dozen of Melky's hits to reached-on-errors.
   56. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 25, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4245284)
You make sure as much information sees the light of day and let the individual fans decide how much weight to put on the results.

If baseball is the responsible social institution it claims to be, it will educate fans that cheaters and cheating should not be rewarded. This was a good step in that effort.
   57. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: September 25, 2012 at 01:49 PM (#4245296)
I wish the Pirates could withdraw from the September pennant chase.

They did. (I fear the Tigers are right behind them...)
   58. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: September 25, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4245359)
The only logical solution is to change a few dozen of Melky's hits to reached-on-errors.

It would only take seven (plus the one 0-fer) to get his BA down to .330, which would place him 4th, as of today...

Anyway, the real irony here is that he tested positive in July, but wasn't suspended until mid-August. Had MLB suspended him immmediately, his 0-fer numbers would make all of this irrelevant.
   59. Booey Posted: September 25, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4245376)
Anyway, the real irony here is that he tested positive in July, but wasn't suspended until mid-August. Had MLB suspended him immmediately, his 0-fer numbers would make all of this irrelevant.

But then he'd be back to playing already. The suspension would have been the same length either way.
   60. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: September 25, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4245382)

But then he'd be back to playing already. The suspension would have been the same length either way.


No, he only missed 45 games of the regular season. He would have missed five additional regular season games, meaning about 16 theoretical additional outs (and he actually had 21 AB's, and 5 hits, in his last 5 games played)

   61. Booey Posted: September 25, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4245396)
#60 - Ah, that's right. My bad.
   62. Sean Forman Posted: September 25, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4245412)
Sugar Bear since you applaud the Wolverines. Is it your view that the Giants deserve punishment beyond Cabrera's 50 games and should have to forfeit all games he played in, because that is what Michigan did.

Also, should a team who has a player caught with a corked bat immediately have to forfeit the game? It seems like you are applying retroactive penalties which as best I can tell is something that MLB has never done.
   63. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 25, 2012 at 03:43 PM (#4245428)
If baseball is the responsible social institution it claims to be, it will educate fans that cheaters and cheating should not be rewarded. This was a good step in that effort.


No one does more to encourage the use of PEDs than the anti-PED zealots. By perpetuating the idea that PEDs are a magic pill that can turn the proverbial 98 pound weakling into a handsome superstar who becomes insanely famous and rich beyond all possible comprehension the most vehement anti-PED foes encourage that which they in fact oppose. A more nuanced view that acknowledged how limited our knowledge is about how much or how little these things help plus a healthy dose of recognition of the dangerous side effects ("hey, watch your nuts shrivel up for no perceivable gain!") would go a lot further to combating PED use.
   64. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 25, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4245438)
Sugar Bear since you applaud the Wolverines. Is it your view that the Giants deserve punishment beyond Cabrera's 50 games and should have to forfeit all games he played in, because that is what Michigan did.


It's not workable, so I don't worry about it. It's not relevant, in any event, to the proper stance toward the player, which is to not reward his cheating.

EDIT: I wouldn't be averse to significant sanctions against teams that use 'roiders.
   65. bunyon Posted: September 25, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4245464)

EDIT: I wouldn't be averse to significant sanctions against teams that use 'roiders.


Cool. Let's dock everyone 10 wins.
   66. zonk Posted: September 25, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4245479)
EDIT: I wouldn't be averse to significant sanctions against teams that use 'roiders.

Cool. Let's dock everyone 10 wins.


As a Cubs fan, I have to ask... what if we don't have enough wins to dock?
   67. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4245530)
EDIT: I wouldn't be averse to significant sanctions against teams that use 'roiders.


At which point, the interest in the league plummets, as who would be interested in following a divisional race where the team can lose 10 games overnight as some retarded penalty?
   68. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4245543)
At which point, the interest in the league plummets, as who would be interested in following a divisional race where the team can lose 10 games overnight as some retarded penalty?

I never signed up for games. I was thinking of dollars.

   69. cardsfanboy Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4245569)
I never signed up for games. I was thinking of dollars.


That is about the only way to truly punish the teams to the point that they would care. Awarding losses after the fact doesn't mean anything to a team.
   70. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:40 PM (#4245603)
That is about the only way to truly punish the teams to the point that they would care. Awarding losses after the fact doesn't mean anything to a team.

Dollars and/or draft picks.

Of course, if you're going to punish the teams, you need to allow them to do their own PED testing, above and beyond the MLB testing. Otherwise, it's not really fair.
   71. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: September 25, 2012 at 06:08 PM (#4245623)
Hiller's record of 38 "saves" that stood for several years would be less under today's save rule. Save #37 is probably the worst example of the old rule.

Just because it's awesome, the clutchiest save in baseball history.
   72. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: September 25, 2012 at 06:13 PM (#4245628)
That is about the only way to truly punish the teams to the point that they would care. Awarding losses after the fact doesn't mean anything to a team.


You could make them play a man short for the length of the suspension (or the playoffs). Two men short, in the Giants' case.
   73. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 06:17 PM (#4245631)
You could make them play a man short for the length of the suspension (or the playoffs). Two men short, in the Giants' case.


At which point you've destroyed the league.

For all of the silly outrage over steroids expressed by the Lupicas and Sugar Bears and Andys of the world, it didn't hurt the bottom line one bit.

But retarded penalties most certainly would.
   74. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: September 25, 2012 at 06:21 PM (#4245635)
At which point you've destroyed the league.


How would making one team to play a man or two short "destroy the league"?
   75. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4245691)
Well, I interpreted it as having the team field 8 players, not playing one man short on the 25-man.

I agree the latter wouldn't have an effect.
   76. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 25, 2012 at 08:02 PM (#4245695)
Just because it's awesome, the clutchiest save in baseball history.

To be fair, when Wes Littleton came into the game, his team was only ahead 14-3.
   77. Moeball Posted: September 25, 2012 at 08:42 PM (#4245724)
You could make them play a man short for the length of the suspension (or the playoffs). Two men short, in the Giants' case.


At what point on a 25-man roster would reduction of roster really make enough of an impact to act as a deterrent? Just curious...

If a player is suspended and you make the rule that the team cannot replace him (25-man roster goes down to 24) - other than the loss of a key player - does this really hurt the team that much? Didn't seem to impact the Giants that much to lose Melky.

What if it was some kind of $$$/Roster mix on the penalty? For each $5M of salary, for example, you lose an additional roster spot along with the player suspended. If a player is a decent star and is making $10M/yr, the team loses him and two additional roster spots for the duration of the suspension, or maybe make it applicable to the postseason? But I don't even know if that would be enough of an impact on a team to make them really think about cracking down on the juicers on their squad.

Fact is, for someone like a Barry Bonds - the records are already on the books and aren't going away, despite some people's efforts otherwise. Plus he got paid a zillion dollars that he doesn't have to give back. I think there's just too much upside on a "risk/reward" assessment when players think about whether they want to juice or not. I can see why players still take that risk.

Of course, if you're going to punish the teams, you need to allow them to do their own PED testing, above and beyond the MLB testing. Otherwise, it's not really fair.


Unfortunately, I've got a bad feeling that allowing teams to police themselves won't yield the desired results (see history of Wall Street meltdowns, banking industry, etc.)
   78. Bug Selig Posted: September 26, 2012 at 09:33 AM (#4245991)
You have absolutely no idea about that. None.


Can you share with the class what you think the P and E in "PED" stand for?
   79. JJ1986 Posted: September 26, 2012 at 09:40 AM (#4245996)
Can you share with the class what you think the P and E in "PED" stand for?


"Penis enlargement"?
   80. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:00 AM (#4246120)
Can you share with the class what you think the P and E in "PED" stand for?


They stand for B and S.

Nobody knows that steroids use enhances baseball performance. At best it's plausible. But the counter arguments are very strong.
   81. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4246153)
And the idea that Melky Cabrera found 60 points of BABIP through steroids is particularly suspect.
   82. Ron J2 Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4246224)
#81 Or that if this is something you can attribute to steroids it'd be dead easy to identify users.
   83. BDC Posted: September 26, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4246228)
If a player is suspended and you make the rule that the team cannot replace him (25-man roster goes down to 24) - other than the loss of a key player - does this really hurt the team that much?

You could require any team that had a player suspended to put Manny Alexander in their starting lineup for 50 games. That'd fix 'em.
   84. Bug Selig Posted: September 27, 2012 at 08:14 AM (#4246946)
Nobody knows that steroids use enhances baseball performance. At best it's plausible. But the counter arguments are very strong.


Nobody can or ever will know it in a scientific sense because repeatable, controlled experiments are impossible. Nobody will ever be able to prove it in a statistical study because we will never know which buckets to put the samples in, so to speak. Any discussion on the topic is a little like the soft social sciences. You can find correlation but never prove causation.

Anyway, if we can agree that this is one of those things that can't be proven, even if true - I think the circumstantial evidence leans heavily toward the idea that they do provide a benefit, doesn't it? Certainly goes beyond "plausible at best".

If large percentages of professional baseball players started wearing flowers in their hair because Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera wear flowers in their hair and they are Da Bomb, the benefits of flowers would be "plausible at best" because there is no logical chain of thought connecting the flowers to the Bomb-ness. Hundreds if not thousands of the best baseball players in the world obviously think that steroids provide a benefit, because they take them solely to provide that benefit. That isn't a end-of-argument smoking gun, but it has to be assigned significant weight. In contrast to the flower example, it follows that steroids provide strength/energy/recoverability. Strength/energy/recoverability can all be reasonably (if not unanimously, I guess) thought of as good things for any athlete. Baseball players are a niche subset of athlete, to be sure, but does anyone really question the idea that improving one's strength and athleticism would help them play baseball better? It is generally acknowledged that weight training helps athletes, including baseball players, and that steroids to a large extent amplify those benefits. Why do we suddenly doubt the connection? In this one case only?

(ANECDOTE ALERT!!!) My son's high school has three very gifted baseball/football two-sport guys. One is a fairly standard quarterback/pitcher combo, but the other two are the fairly rare lineman/corner infielder. These guys are both about 250 pounds and can hold their own with any high school kid in the weight room. Guess which two guys hit the ball the hardest/farthest on the team? Granted, they were both very good baseball players before they started lifting weights, but is there any reasonable doubt that the added strength gives them an advantage? Or that even more strength (whether gained from steroids or simply more training - ignoring for a moment that the two go together) would add to that advantage?

I'm not one of the holy crusaders who want to make moral judgments on PED's. Serious athletes have always sought an edge, and will always do so. I don't care to start calling PED users cheats and frauds because I don't know where that stops. (Caffeine and ibuprofen are also performance-enhancing by the simplest definition.)

The simple fact that professional baseball players absolutely beieve (and act on that belief despite serious consequences) that PED's do, in fact, enhance performance is very strong evidence. NFL wide receivers all wear gloves, believing that they help them catch the ball. I think most people accept this, despite a lack of studies proving that gloves help you catch the ball or anyone jumping up and down screaming "You could give my Aunt Flo three pairs of gloves and she couldn't catch the ball!!!!"



   85. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 27, 2012 at 08:30 AM (#4246955)
Hundreds if not thousands of the best baseball players in the world obviously think that steroids provide a benefit, because they take them solely to provide that benefit. That isn't a end-of-argument smoking gun, but it has to be assigned significant weight.


Not necessarily:

Q. How many legs does a dog have if you call a tail a leg?
A. Four, because calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one.

-- MWE
   86. Bug Selig Posted: September 27, 2012 at 09:09 AM (#4246972)
Never mind. I'm just not gonna give that the answer it deserves.
   87. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: September 27, 2012 at 09:29 AM (#4246991)
To handle this, we’ve decided to list ERA Leaders and BA leaders as they currently are in the leaderboard pages. These will be updated and change as new data becomes available and we will be apolitical as much as possible in how we draw these leaderboards. This is essentially the status quo.


So since Melky will finish the year with less than the required number of PA to qualify, then he wouldn't be listed in either place, right? He didn't qualify for the title and he's not being recognized by MLB.
   88. BDC Posted: September 27, 2012 at 09:36 AM (#4247002)
If large percentages of professional baseball players started wearing flowers in their hair because Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera wear flowers in their hair

I can only see this happening on road trips to San Francisco.
   89. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: September 27, 2012 at 09:56 AM (#4247015)
So since Melky will finish the year with less than the required number of PA to qualify, then he wouldn't be listed in either place, right? He didn't qualify for the title and he's not being recognized by MLB.


He'll be listed where he'd have finished with an 0-for-1 added to his stats, just like the rule says. Same as any player who "failed to qualify" in any other season.

Don't forget Votto. He's currently at .338, but his 0 fers bring him down below Braun. But because of that, even a 1 for 5 brings his qualifying average up.

...

"I am grateful that the Players Association and MLB were able to
honor my request by suspending the rule for this season. I know that changing the rules mid-season can present problems, and I thank the Players Association and MLB for finding a way to get this done."


Did they really suspend the rule about adding at-bats? Because that would make Votto ineligible too. Doesn't exactly seem fair.

Olympic GAMES, like track or swimming, or professional cycling, can expunge records because an individual's performance does not affect anyone else.


Marion Jones' relay teammates say hello. Again.

Is the corked bat that breaks upon contact the only example of cheating in baseball where an on-field result is actually reversed?


Maybe not what you meant by cheating, but interference and obstruction. And if you want to get really obscure, hidden ball trick if the pitcher stepped on the rubber without having the ball.
   90. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: September 27, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4247112)
Did they really suspend the rule about adding at-bats? Because that would make Votto ineligible too. Doesn't exactly seem fair.


Oh, I'm really hoping Votto goes on a tear the last week. If he plays every game, it looks like he will fall about 24 PAs short of qualifying. he's currently at .342. he'll need to get up to about .350, and McCutchen drop a bit for his 0 fers to keep him ahead.

If Votto goes 11-22 with 10 walks in his last 7 games, he'll finish with a BA of .351, and 24 PAs shy of 502. Adding in those 0fers, puts him at a .330 qualifying average. Long shot, but doable.

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