We can’t let Melky Cabrera have the batting title/crown/award!

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In the name of all that is holy!

Kenny Albert and Tim McCarver made it very clear during Saturday’s FOX Red Sox-Yankees broadcast that we can’t allow Melky Cabrera to win the NL batting title after his steroids suspension this week. In fact, it seems we need a new rule to prevent players who receive steroid suspension from being eligible for such awards.

And I can actually see the latter point. The BBWAA might want to consider a rule that prevents such players from qualifying for postseason awards.

But the batting title isn’t an an award. It doesn’t exist as anything more than a sacrifice fly crown or a passed ball champion does. It’s made up, and it only matters to people who any weight into it.

The truth is that very few people care about the batting title anymore. It definitely meant something in the days of Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams, and it was still a big honor in the era of Tony Gwynn and Wade Boggs.

Now? Did anyone besides the Mets really care that Jose Reyes won the NL batting crown last year? Does anyone even know that Carlos Gonzalez won it in 2010 or Hanley Ramirez did in 2009? I’m guessing even Pirates fans scarcely remember that Freddy Sanchez won the NL batting title in 2006.

My whole feeling on the subject of asterisks and the like is that you leave the statistics alone and then you decide for yourself what they mean. Regardless of how he did it, Melky Cabrera hit .346 with 11 homers and 60 RBI this season, and it’d be foolish for anyone to try to tamper with that.

The umps have dropped their Ian Kinsler protest

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Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union —  launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.

Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:

“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”

As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.

I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.

 

Minor league teams prepare for a “total eclipse of the park”

Salem Volcanoes
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The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are a class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Today, the path of totality of the big solar eclipse we’re not supposed to look at will pass right through the ballpark in which they play. What’s better: the Volcanoes are playing a game against the Hillsboro Hops as it happens.

This was by design: the team’s owner requested this home game when the schedule was made up two years ago specifically to market the heck out of the eclipse. They’re starting the game at 9:30 this morning, Pacific time, in order to maximize the fun. Spectators will receive commemorative eclipse safety glasses to wear. The game will be delayed when the eclipse hits and a NASA scientist named Noah Petro, who is from the area, will talk to the crowd about what is going on.

Salem-Keizer isn’t the only minor league game affected, by the way. There are six games in all which will feature a “total eclipse of the park.” Turn around, bright eyes.

There are no home MLB games going on in the path of totality, but MLB has put together a helpful guide in order to maximize your baseball and eclipse pleasure. If you line up some good beer with that you’l have your very own national pastime syzygy.