Analysis: This is definitely the right move and one that prevents a black eye for all parties involved. As I write below, this was really an easy decision and as a precedent, the opportunity for change was there.
Reported as a "one-time amendment", that is strange wording to say the least, unless it means that the rule book will be officially updated eventually.
This week, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced that he will not intervene in the National League batting title race, should the fraudulent, petulant, not to mention suspended, Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants win the batting title.
Batting titles are career-defining highlights, now more than ever, as offense has become such a precious commodity in baseball's post-PED era.
Recent NL batting winners include such luminaries as Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez and Chipper Jones and now Cabrera is poised to join them.
The Melk Man will end his abbreviated All-Star season sitting at a career-high .346 with the incomparable Andrew McCutchen close behind at .339, followed by catchers Buster Posey (.335) and Yadier Molina (.324), but none seem probable to catch him.
Does Melky Cabrera deserve to win the batting title?
Cabrera is actually one plate appearance shy of the 502 PAs required in a 162-game season to qualify for the batting title, but thanks to MLB rule 10.22(a) Melky will have one hitless at-bat calculated into his average to make him qualify. If he still has the highest mark, he gets the crown.
What a rotten cherry that would be to top off a marvelous, yet hollow, season Cabrera has offered the fans this season.
It's not like Cabrera hit a solo homer in the All-Star game to give the Senior Circuit a 8-0 win and home-field advantage in the World Series, but he was named the game's MVP for crying out loud.
How does that stick in the craw of American League fans who have watched home field advantage, as well as World Series titles, elude them on enemy soil?
Of course, the irony is not lost on anyone outside San Francisco that the Giants happily rode a cheater to first place in the NL West.
Hey, at least they didn't build an entire stadium around Melky's newly-found batting stroke, eh?
Commissioner Selig needs to nip this in the "Bud" before he allows this travesty to add a bitter aftertaste to the sweet excitement of the Wild Card races, playoffs and World Series.
What is so irritating is that it's such an easy call.
Gravity draws us toward earth, I always forget to do something special for my wife on Valentine's Day, and it should be impossible for a player suspended for cheating to still be allowed to win a major regular-season honor or award.
Rule 10.22(a) was meant to prevent excellent hitters from failing to qualify for the batting title due to games missed to injury, paternity leave, even team-imposed benching—not league-wide suspension.
If Melky was sitting out the second half of the season as a conscientious objector to the MLB's continued use of the Royals as a feeder team for big-budget franchises, that would be one thing.
If he was on a hunger-strike because he could no longer accept the fact that hot dogs served in major league stadiums are, in fact, allowed to contain a certain amount of rodent unmentionables, that would be understandable.
No, we're talking about a player who, when caught red-handed, thought it was a good idea to feign innocence by blaming a fake website where he supposedly acquired tainted substances.
Does this sound like a player who deserves the benefit of the doubt given to players by rule 10.22(a)?
Melky Cabrera, the notoriously arrogant, replacement-level player who didn't care enough to stay in shape in Atlanta, as he scuffled to a .255 batting average in 2010, has been called many things by fans and players alike.
I just pray batting champion is never one of them.