Blog Entry

It's time for the DH -- everywhere

Posted on: June 29, 2011 9:17 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 1:48 pm
PHILADELPHIA -- As I write this, Adrian Gonzalez is standing in right field at Citizens Bank Park.

To be honest, from this distance, he doesn't look out of place.

David Ortiz is standing at first base.

There have been no disasters, no blooper-reel plays. No one, so far as I can tell, has come close to getting hurt (then again, is that Ortiz grabbing his hamstring? OK, no it's not).

This is all wrong.

It's as wrong as the idea that Joe Mauer needs to play first base, as wrong as the idea that Alex Avila needs to play third, as wrong as the idea that for nearly two weeks Travis Hafner doesn't get to do anything more than swing a bat one time a night.

Sorry, but with baseball at the very least seriously discussing and very possibly moving towards realignment that would mean even more interleague play, the issue that no one really wants to touch needs to be touched.

Yes, as much as I hate to say it, it's time for the two leagues to play by the same rules. And that means -- sorry, purists -- everyone needs to use the designated hitter rule.

Some people in baseball believe this will happen, and soon. Others believe it remains a huge longshot, because of strong opposition in the National League. But as baseball discusses realignment as part of a new collective bargaining agreement, expanding the DH to both leagues will no doubt be part of the discussion.

There are other less drastic solutions. Some executives suggest that in every three-game interleague series, two games could be played with the DH and one game without it (or vice versa). Some have suggested using the DH in all interleague games, although that would work against NL teams that build their rosters without a true DH.

In any case, that's a band-aid solution, when what baseball really needs is the full surgery.

Put it this way: If you were starting the major leagues right now, there's zero chance you'd set up two leagues playing by different rules. So why continue with two leagues playing by different rules?

Also, when people complain about interleague play, it's almost always for one of two reasons. Either they don't like how it messes with the schedule, or they hate the contortions caused by the different rule on the DH.

The 15-15 realignment plan can deal with the schedule problem. At that point, the only thing that would make interleague games more problematic is the DH rule.

So change it.

Why not go the other way, and dump the DH entirely?

Quite simply, it can't happen that way. For one thing, the players union wouldn't go for it. For another, too many American League teams have contract commitments that would become useless with no DH rule.

The White Sox have Paul Konerko signed through 2013 and Adam Dunn signed through 2014. You want to be the one who tells Jerry Reinsdorf that only one of them can play at a time?

Announce that you're going to all-DH baseball in 2012, and the National League teams have all winter to restructure their rosters (and we won't need to hear them complain about how they're at a disadvantage in AL parks).

I know that some people are never going to agree with me on this. When I mentioned it to one former big-league manager on Wednesday, his response was, "Why not just release Papi and play the game the way it's supposed to be played? An AL manager just sits with his pom-poms and roots for his players."

But I also know that people who once liked the NL game can be converted.

"When I was in the NL, I enjoyed it," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who once managed the Phillies. "Now, I like this [AL rules]. I think it's better for the fans."

Argue with him if you will, but you can't argue with this: It's not better for the fans to have Adrian Gonzalez playing right field for the first time in six years. It's not better for the fans to watch the Indians play for a week and a half without Travis Hafner, when he's not hurt.

The system we have now is not better for the fans.

It's time to change it.

Category: MLB

Since: Dec 2, 2011
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It's time for the DH -- everywhere

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It's time for the DH -- everywhere

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It's time for the DH -- everywhere

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Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 7:44 am

It's time for the DH -- everywhere

Since: Nov 27, 2011
Posted on: November 27, 2011 3:11 pm

It's time for the DH -- everywhere

Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 21, 2011 9:00 pm
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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 18, 2011 2:30 pm

It's time for the DH -- everywhere

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Since: Jul 10, 2007
Posted on: July 7, 2011 6:17 pm

It's time for the DH -- everywhere

 <--Story I wrote in response to this article.

The Designated Hitter. The debate continues...It seems there is a major push by baseball, pundits and everyone with a voice to get the DH into the Senior Circuit. Well, the DH and everyday interleague play.

Let's first address what we know about the DH. First instituted in 1973 in the American League and has gone through various uses over the years. We've seen the aging star, the man who can't field a baseball to what we see now many times, the hitter who's getting a half a day off by not playing in the field. We've seen such greats as Paul Molitor, Edgar Martinez and Harold Baines to Andre Thornton and other big boppers such as Rob Deer. Without the DH, we would not have had the opportunity to see their stellar hitting years after their play in the field was a detriment to the team. Harold Baines, for instance, was once an excellent right fielder and was able to continue playing years after his running skills, more than his fielding skills, had diminished.

Personally, I feel that the DH has it's place in what we used to call "The Old Man League". It's a way for aging stars to continue their hitting trade, as long as they remain productive. Yet, being a fan of National League style baseball as well, I would hate to see the DH being implemented there. Thinking the DH is perfect the way it's set up, I automatically have the propensity to defend the National League's right to not have their game play altered.

What lies at the root of these possible changes to baseball, including realignment? For one, Greed. Now I have nothing against greed when it comes to most things but everyone knows, Baseball is a different animal. This is a war between three men, you see. The Commissioner's of baseball, football and basketball. Each want to tip their wine glass and take a big gulp at parties after they make the boastful statement about their sport being the pinnacle of business models.

So many times, I listen to interviews with Bug Selig on ESPN Radio and he stands behind all his choices, be they the All-Star game silliness or "his" sport, Baseball, getting larger and larger numbers, "even in a recession". Also knowing his reign is VERY TAINTED, with the blind eye (as long as money is being made and people are swarming to the ballpark) to the steroid era and now the PED era because "there isn't a reliable test for it".

The DH, like Gregg Doyel's ridiculous article I commented on last year about bringing roids back because he was sick of low scoring just another way of baseball to see their "product" enhanced.
I guess I have a problem with anything that minimalizes the game I love. The DH in both leagues, like interleague play, does both. I hate interleague play. The argument goes that "the fans love it". Who? What fans? Oh!!! I know the kind of "fans" you're talking about! The kind that purchase Jersey's and hats for the fashion of it. These are the same fans that real fans have to explain the game to.

I didn't mean to turn this into a rant, but to me, the DH in the National League is Baseball's way to give the fans an Arena football style of baseball. Stop the pointless interleague games and the DH all of a sudden is not a topic of debate! The idea that the Astros or any team moving to the American League, therefore making it 15 AL and 15 NL teams and by extension then having to play an interleague game everyday of the schedule is just plain dumb. Who needs leagues at all then?! Why should 5 teams from each "league" then be in the playoffs? Hell, the two top teams, by this reasoning should just play each other for the World Series, therefore skipping any playoff race. I mean, it IS a 162 game season. Why the need to drag it out if we have an interleague game everyday? OH! I FORGOT! MONEY! So sorry...

Why the DH then? Why not have a DH for every player in the field?! We'll have an offense and a defense...As pitching has become more and more specialized, it only leads to the eventual conclusion that fielder's will be replaced in the future during the hitting part of the game we used to call Base Ball.

Enter the new century, where no one has the brains or the desire to understand the nuance of baseball. Enter baseball of the future, where we will tell our children, nieces, nephews, etc. how the game used to be played. I'm sure leagues will be formed again with the correct rules. The rules we've since 1893, when the pitching rubber was moved to 60'6" away from the batter.

You see, to me, when baseball starts to cater to the whims of the nominal fan, they are dooming the sport to a nominal status. Like a music industry that doesn't produce good music anymore, corporate baseball has too many tinkers and not enough thinkers.

Barry Jensen

Since: Dec 28, 2008
Posted on: June 30, 2011 7:55 pm

It's time for the DH -- everywhere

Reading some of these comments really brings home how moronic some "fans" are.  The DH was created for one reason...MONEY.  In the 60's it was realized that runs scored bring dollars...period.  As a result you had all these other contingencies added to the game...pinch runners, etc.  I LOVE the American League...but the DH is retarded. 

As for the ignorant arguement of "the DH is used in every league except the National" well if you watched baseball before 2003 (Red Sox push to make a name for themselves for something besides racism) you would realize that the DH rule is not traditional baseball.  Without the DH, Big Sloppy is out of a job along with countless other juice heads.  Whats even funnier, "pitchers universally cannot hit"...ever heard of George Herman Ruth?  Of course the other stages of baseball (minor leagues, high school, etc) have the brings in more money...but don't try to pass it off as real baseball, because its not.  It holds about as much integrity as the Red Sox's investigation of steroid use in baseball (Mitchell Report).

Knob, try watching baseball...writing about it has been as successful for you as the Hair Club for Men.

Since: Oct 4, 2006
Posted on: June 30, 2011 3:57 pm

It's time for the DH -- everywhere

Why don't we get rid of the pitcher completely.  We just put a pitching machine out there so we don't have to worry about a pitcher getting hurt over something playing the game the way it was intended.  Each team can created their own machine...kind of like Nascar.  So nobody can get hurt, we'll have the pitching coach do things through a wireless remote.

We might as well get rid of bunting also.  Bunting is boring and its need is meaningless as we completely throw out strategy.  It would also be unfair since the pitcher isn't there anymore.

What a joke the DH is!!!  It is an offensive push...instead of molding players into, well true athletic players.  Lets just label them by specialty.  The lineup with a DH is just like a lineup on steroids.  Hey, can you swing a bat?  Don't worry about the fielding skills, there are 32 DH positions that need filled.

What a joke!!!  Play the game the way it is supposed to be played. 

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