- 09/21/2012, 04:06PM ET
Marlins Fan said 09/21, 10:57 PM
MLB Rule 10.22 talks about qualifications for winning "championships". (batting, fielding, pitching) It states that a batter needs 3.1 plate appearances per game, meaning a player would need 502 PA's to qualify for the batting title in a full-length season.
The rule goes on to state that if a player finishes short of the reuired 502 PA's, he can add as many PA's as needed (calculating all the extra PA's as outs) and if he still has the highest BA then said player wins the batting title.
I don't like the addition of bogus PA's.
MLB is awesome for many reasons, with one of the biggest being the way official scorers keep record of every single occurence on the field. We have PA's, AB's, BoB's, HBP's, FC's, SF's, etc. Everything is accounted for and properly documented.
Except for this weird rule about adding fake PA's to try to meet the 502 PA requirement.
I don't like the idea of pretending something happened.
Melky Cabrera finished 2012 with 501 PA's, one short of the requirement. But he can add a bogus PA and pretend he got an out, which meets the PA requirement but fudges his actual numbers.
Keep MLB stats pure. Don't pretend things happened.
williewilliejuan said 09/22, 10:22 AM
Some things in life are best handled with absolutes: never take the dealer's bust card; never get involved in a land war in Asia; never go home with the tall girl with an Adam???s Apple... Most other things are best handled with a more nuanced approach. Rule 10.22 is just such a thing.
Rule 10.22 was created because MLB didn't want to pretend. They didn't want to pretend that there was something magical about 502 AB. It's just the result of the random formula they chose. They could have just as easily picked 486 (3 AB x 162) or 518 (3.2 AB x 162). MLB didn't want to pretend that a guy who hit 0.350 with 502 AB was a better hitter than a guy who hit 0.400 with 501.
Rule 10.22 is an attempt at a compromise, and a reasonably elegant one in my opinion. It recognizes that a player must have a fairly robust number of AB to qualify for the batting championship, but provides some flexibility as to what that number has to be. The approach of treating the missed AB as an out is conservative and sufficiently draconian so that a player who falls far short of the required number of AB won't be able to win.
Rule 10.22 is an attempt at fairness. I think that is a good thing.
Marlins Fan said 09/23, 12:19 AM
Fair would be saying that (1)the minimum requirements for the batting title have been reduced, or (2)enforcing the requirement as an actual, well, requirement.
If MLB wanted to say that 350 PA's is enough, so be it. If they believe that 3.1 PA's per game is the gold standard, then by all means let 502 be the gold standard.
Just don't get all wishy-washy with it and allow "exceptions" and "the presumption of outs" for anybody. Either there's a requirement or there's not. Can't have it both ways.
Again, MLB scorers record everything. There's no need to fill in the blanks with guesses because there's a real log of every occurence on the field.
Can you imagine if other things were this way...
Say Stephen Strasburg pitched (yeah, right. This isn't 2013) 8 innings of a ballgame without giving up any hits or walks. Then in the ninth, Stras strikes out the first two hitters. Excitement among the crowd would start to soar as the fans sensed the fast-approaching perfect game. Except during the second ninth-inning strikeout Stras pulls a muscle and a reliever comes on to get the final out.
Stras did NOT throw a perfect game. We would NOT just give him the last out.
williewilliejuan said 09/23, 10:45 AM
Your Strasburg example is completely irrelevant. First, and most importantly, Rule 10.22 doesn't actually change any official results. Second, the logic doesn't even hold. Rule 10.22 assumes the worst case scenario. If it were applied to your scenario, we would have to assume the last batter got a hit.
Rule 10.22 makes sense because there are too many variables that determine how many PA a batter will get. Leadoff batters get more PA than guys who bat cleanup. Guys who play on good teams that score a lot of runs get more PA than guys who play on bad teams. Derek Jeter has 45 more plate appearances than KC's Billy Butler despite playing in fewer games because Jeter bats leadoff on a good team that scores a lot of runs while Butler toils on the Royals.
Without the flexibility of Rule 10.22, we could end up in the awkward and unfair situation where we award the batting title to someone who got fewer hits in the same number of games just because one player bats lower in the order than the other.
Rigid application of rules only makes sense when all participants have the same opportunities. That isn't the case with PA, so the flexibility afforded by 10.22 is appropriate.
Marlins Fan said 09/23, 05:59 PM
The analogy may have been imperfect but that's because there aren't any other similar situations like this in sports. Rule 10.22(a) is an outlier; it's something that doesn't happen and shouldn't happen in the competitive world of sports.
Sports are great because it's a battle between athletes. Games are decided on the field and there's no room for guesswork or assumptions.
The only other thing I can think of that's similar is the BCS, where voters are given way too much authority and have way too much influence on the outcome of the season. Voters have to decide how to weight wins and losses, how to judge strength of schedule, etc. And it's a horrible system.
Every year the BCS spurs a debate on how we should interpret variables. Same with Rule 10.22(a). We're forced to assume that the batter would've been out in all the added PA's, and there's no just place for that in sports.
We don't need to be assuming anything. Whether said batter would've been out or not should be irrelevant. But instead we just guess at what would've happened, and it ruins the integrity of stat keeping.
Sports doesn't need guesses or assumptions. Blanks should be filled in on the field, only.
williewilliejuan said 09/23, 08:44 PM
Your BCS analogy is a good one - just not for your side of this debate. The problem with the BCS is it allows a math equation to determine the best teams. Your proposal does the exact same thing to determine the best batter.
Rule 10.22 doesn't change any stats; it only applies to awards. It doesn't take anything away from what happened on the field. What it does take away is the tyranny of the math geeks. The BCS says "ignore what you saw with your own eyes; our formula will tell you who's best." Your proposal says "ignore the fact that someone has actually been a better hitter; this guy is really the best because he made it to our arbitrary number and the other guy didn't."
Rule 10.22 doesn't create debates; it solves them. If a guy won a batting title because a better hitter fell just short of 502 PA, people would always debate who was best. They'd say he won it by default, not with his bat. Rule 10.22 just says if you take the worst-case scenario and someone is still better, then he was the better hitter. That's it. No one wins by technicality.
Rule 10.22 makes the play on the field determine the batting champion. Your solution lets an arbitrary number decide it.
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