So what do you think, folks? Are you ready to spread the good news of the designated hitter across both leagues, once and for all?
In my mind, if there was ever a good opportunity to introduce the designated hitter across the board, this is the year.
There isn’t a lot of risk associated with trying something different this season, assuming MLB works out a deal that will allow one to happen.
With this forum of ours, I take a pretty big risk angering our trusted readers, when a fair amount of them can be found in the ‘traditionalist’ category of baseball fans. And those readers still yearn for the old days before the designated hitter.
But it’s been a long time now, since the American League introduced the DH in 1973. It’s been so long that I don’t remember what I thought about it when the AL made the move.
However, for quite a while now, I have appreciated seeing both sides. Watching NL games is like a refreshing return to the past when strategy was so much more a part of the game. But that doesn’t mean I am interested in ditching the DH. It is actually the opposite.
Since inter-league play began, AL teams had to make the adjustments when playing games in the NL parks. Adjusting to the NL rules with pitchers batting is a big deal for the American League; an adjustment that NL teams didn’t have to make when they were the visiting team in the AL park.
The only adjustment for the NL? Add a DH to your lineup. Here ends the adjustment. It just wasn’t right. And it hasn’t been right for a long time.
It got worse when MLB started spreading inter-league games all across the schedule. Even in the midst of pennant races in September, AL teams were still saddled with visiting NL parks and all the necessary changes that came with it.
It’s been crazy. And finally, our game is ready to make the appropriate change – the designated hitter for all. Meanwhile, traditionalists everywhere are screaming at their screens.
Sorry, folks. But the designated hitter in both leagues is what is right for today’s game.
Did you get that?
For today’s game.
Yes, there was a time when the game didn’t need the DH. But now, this is the time it is needed across the board.
Try explaining to someone who is new to the game, that half of baseball uses the designated hitter and the other half doesn’t. The first question is why and then when you tell them why, they will think it’s stupid.
Why? Well, because it is! And I can’t for the life of me believe that this arrangement has been in existence for so long. Having a professional sport exist under 2 sets of rules has been unprecedented. And I am being kind.
I do appreciate the strategic value of the game played in the National League, but I can also appreciate the need to make changes in order to jumpstart the game and this is the time to do it.
You know what the game has become. How offensive it has become. And you can interpret that statement any way you like.
But the game has become all about the home run. Manufacturing offense, which includes using pitchers to move runners along via the bunt in most cases, does not fit with the new business model.
New fans don’t understand the complexity of baseball and we need for them to understand it so they can grow to like it. Yes, traditionalists who cherish the strategic roots of the game must take a back seat. They must sacrifice. For the good of the game.
As you know, we are going to see the universal DH in action if and when the 2020 season kicks off. The NL will then get their identity back for 2021, as the game renegotiates the new bargaining agreement. But beginning in 2022, pitchers will more than likely never bat again.
It is sad. I completely agree. But it is also time. And it has been time for quite a while.
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