Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Debate: The Designated Hitter

Okay, I am a fan of the White Sox, but I really don't have too much of a bias NL or AL. With the exception of the DH rule. My hatred of this non rule in the NL came back to fruition a couple weeks ago after having a conversation with one of the readers of this blog, Chris (shout outs will be forth coming for anyone who gives me column ideas, this includes forwarding me stupid Plaschke articles).

I'm sure this topic is sure to fire some people up (possibly other writers on this blog). But I don't care, because I don't want to see anymore of this.

Why do I have to sit through a pitcher batting 2 to 3 times a game? Does anyone enjoy watching a pitcher bat? (7 people just raised their hand and said Zambrano and Owings can hit great) I don't give a fuck. Just because Zambrano will cry if he doesn;t get to bat .210 a year (actual stats career: .238 BA, .245 OBP, 198 K, 6 WALKS!!!), we should not have pitchers hit. They are not good at it.

How is the game better if one of the best hitting pitchers in the league gets on base at a .245 clip. Granted, players like Nick Punto batted .210 in 150 games in 2007, but even he got on base at a .290 clip. (Nick Punto dig, Check!). Most pitchers aren't anywhere near the statistics that Zambrano has put up.

This means that most games, National League pitchers get 2 or 3 free outs a game. This has put the NL at a significant disadvantage in things like the All-Star Game (if you didn't know, This Year It Counts!) and interleague play. When playing in a National League park, DH's are not allowed (calling the obvious police) but that means that there is one power bat on the bench that the American League teams can use. When playing in American League parks DH's are allowed (okay, I will stop with my John Madden like obvious statements). This leads National league teams to play inferior players at DH. Many teams often put middle infielders at this spot, because they don't have the power hitter on the bench to place in the middle of the order. This means that the National League is always at a disadvantage.

So why doesn't the American League change? I mean the NL is the "pure" form of baseball, right? While it may be the way baseball was played in the 1900's, some things they did back then were wrong and stupid. Also, at every level of competition teams are allowed a Designated Hitter except the National League. This means that every other league of baseball has figured that having a designated hitter is better for the game. It makes it more fun to watch more exciting power hitter/power pitcher matchups. As well as, we get to see a higher level of competition at the plate every game.

With a Designated Hitter in play, it also gives the American League teams a player who is typically in the middle of the lineup, who can hit a ball really, really far. With the exception of the Mariners who have the worst Designated Hitters Ever. (The last one is Jose Vidro) Without a Designated Hitter, we would be forced to watch guys like Papi or The Big Hurt play first base. Which would offend everything I know as a baseball player.

Honestly, I see no advantage to having a pitcher hit. If you can think of some, please leave them in the comments.

Also, couldn't these guys find something better to do, like, oh, PITCHING! (However, note the Antonio Alfonseca appearance.)


  1. I agree, the NL No DH principle is noble...but only in principle. In practice, it's exactly like what you said: giving NL pitchers (nearly) free outs every game, with Zambrano being an exception.

    Although I do think MLB should go back to some 1900s rules: relegalizing the Shineball, Spitball, and forcing your team's ace to throw 80 CG's a season.

  2. I think the most intriguing thing about this article is that baseball used to have free walkbacks... i thought that was exlusive to the elementary school kickball fields.

    I think Jake Peavy would retire if the NL started using a DH cuz he would be too scared to pitch.

    Honestly I think the AL fans like seeing there pitchers hit twice a year. Mainly because its just funny to watch cuz they are so bad and we know our teams will beat the shitty NL teams anyways since we got that power hitter coming off the bench in a clutch situation. (being just a commenter, I'm allowed to let my sentences run on as long as i want)

  3. Is there a word limit on comments? Because the only reason I posted this was to get some others peoples views on the subject.

  4. As you may know, I am a huge traditionalist when it comes to baseball. I hate instant replay. I hate interleague play. I think that all players should wear high socks. I hate flapped batting helmets.

    But what is really weird is that I am in full agreement that the NL should use the DH. Especially when you look at the minor league and college ball, the pitchers never bat. They have become complete specialists, so watching 99% of them hit is a crime against humanity.

    However, I think there should be a rule instituted that all DH's have to be 35+. This would allow everyone to see their favorite aging stars who can still hit better than a pitcher but are little easier out that some of the current AL DHs. This would be a fair compromise.

    I just thought of this idea on the fly. I think it might be the best one ever. I want to be commissioner.

  5. Cooly's idea is good (every team deserves their own Edgar Martinez) and should become commissioner, especially after I saw Selig pallin' around with George Will at The All-Star Game. Now Cooly, all you have to do is become super rich, buy a team, and treat the player's union like a douche so the owners appoint you commish.