Major League Baseball may finally be coming back! After weeks of frustrating back and forth negotiations between two seemingly irreconcilable parties, a solution may finally have been worked out. Yesterday the undisputed greatest player alive, Mike Trout, tweeted out his solidarity with the Player’s Association line that they wanted “a time and place” to get back to work. I’m not saying that Trout has magical powers, but you guys do the math.
One of the rumored side effects of the new agreement is the universal application of the dreaded Designated Hitter rule:
Rule 5.11 The Designated Hitter Rule
(a) The Designated Hitter Rule provides as follows:
(1) A hitter may be designated to bat for the starting pitcher and all subsequent pitchers in any game without otherwise affecting the status of the pitcher(s) in the game. A Designated Hitter for the pitcher, if any, must be selected prior to the game and must be included in the lineup cards presented to the Umpire-in-Chief. If a manager lists 10 players in his team’s lineup card but fails to indicate one as the Designated Hitter, and an umpire or either manager (or designee of either manager who presents his team’s lineup card) notices the error before the umpire-in-chief calls “Play” to start the game, the umpire-in-chief shall direct the manager who had made the omission to designate which of the nine players, other than the pitcher, will be the Designated Hitter.
In 1973, the upstart modern progressives in the American League decided to soil the game with this abomination. Like with many bad things, people became desensitized to its effect, and popular opinion these days is generally in favor. However, I will never be a DH man, and here are 5 reasons why.
Tradition, Tradition! Baseball is nearly 150 years old. For just over 100 of those years it was played with the expectation that every player had to earn his keep with the bat and with the glove. Contributions were not specialized and players were not pigeonholed into little boxes of “maximum” value. Consider the great one, George Herman “His Babeness” Ruth. The fabulous mythical mountain of a man was one of the best pitchers the game had ever seen and could hit a little.
“But Dave,” you protest, ”change is good.” No. If it was good enough for Connie Mack it’s good enough for me.
Seeing unlikely things happen is exciting. Bartolo Colon’s home run was exciting. Bumgarner taking Kershaw deep over and over was exciting. Greg Maddux roping a triple was exciting. There’s nothing special about a guy who’s supposed to hit, who literally has one job – hit – going out and getting a hit. Congratulations, I’m so surprised Dan Vogelbach hit a home run he’s only a giant personification of a muscle. People who support the DH don’t like exciting baseball.
In the NL, making pitching changes also means introducing a new bat to the lineup. This is often accompanied by defensive changes, double switches, and even the occasional pitcher playing in the field. These are incredibly cool moments where Baseball flexes its intricacies and managers get to do more than spit seeds and yell at Umpires. In the AL making a pitching change is so easy even Gabe Kapler could probably do it without screwing up too many times.
The DH is a paid position. As much as I think a player only doing half the work of a real baseball player should only get half the pay, the Player’s Union doesn’t see it that way. Also, pitchers get full salaries, currently trending upwards at near exit-velocity speed, and because of the DH can literally be a Baseball player without having to swing a bat for their ENTIRE careers. Waste of money.