Andrew McCutchen is batting .340 this season for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is currently in second place in the National League batting race, .006 behind the leader. While Major League Baseball generally never roots for one player to hit higher than another, this is one instance where MLB needs to root for McCutchen to overtake the current leader and capture the N.L. Batting crown.
That is because the current player leading the senior circuit in hitting is Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants. Cabrera is serving his 50 game suspension after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, yet his .346 average is still enough to lead the league. While he is one official at-bat short of having enough to qualify for the batting crown, all MLB would do is enter one more hitless at-bat to his average, and it would then be enough.
This cannot happen. It is that simple.
Yet MLB commissioner Bud Selig does not sound like a man willing to change the rule.
“We’ll see how it all plays out,” Selig said on Wednesday. “We generally don’t interfere in that process. We’ll take a look at it at the end of the year.”
Cabrera, who was also the 2012 All-Star game MVP, was suspended Aug. 15 for a positive test for testosterone and is missing the final 45 games of the regular season. he would be suspended for the first five games of the postseason if the Giants make it that far, or his suspension would carry over to the first five games of the 2013 regular season, regardless of which team he is playing for at that point. Cabrera is a free agent at the end of this season, and the Giants seem highly unlikely to bring him back.
In fact, there are some rumblings that the Giants would not even place Cabrera on their postseason roster if they qualify for the MLB Playoffs.
Either way, it sounds like a player who cheated by taking performance enhancing drugs may not only have played a large part in determining home field advantage in the 2012 World Series, but he may also be recognized as the best hitter in the National League this season.
This is something that baseball cannot handle. It was bad enough for MLB last season when they thought that the N.L. MVP could have used steroids. Ryan Braun edged out Matt Kemp last season and originally was said to have failed his drug test. But after further review, Braun was found innocent, and MLB was off the hook. Even if that was the case and Braun was found to have taken illegal substances, Selig said that the league would not have taken any actions to strip the Milwaukee Brewers star of the award.
“You can’t change records because once you get into that it would never stop,” Selig said. “It would create more problems than it would solve.”
The league may have been lucky with Braun last year. They will not be as fortunate this season if Cabrera holds on and wins the batting title.
If you are into irony, Cabrera would be the first player for the Giants to win a batting crown since Barry Bonds in 2004.
You think that may be brought up just a bit throughout the offseason if McCutchen cannot catch Cabrera in the batting chase?