With that out of the way, here’s what I propose: Make the DH rule the prerogative of the home team. Yes, I hereby propose that in advance of each regular-season and postseason game, the home team should be able to declare whether the DH shall be used for the contest in question.
Per MLB rules, batting lineups aren’t exchanged until five minutes before game time, so there’s plenty of time in the course of the standard run-up to the first pitch to make the decision and allow the visiting manager to react accordingly. Want to force David Ortiz to wield a glove or luxuriate on the pine? The home manager can opt not to DH. Want Stephen Strasburg to hit opposite a pitcher who’s less skilled with the bat? Opt not to DH. Got a right-hander on the mound and an opponent without a quality left-handed bat to slot in at DH? Force the issue by invoking the DH rule for that game. Does your team employ a manager with an orthodox and throbbing-neck-vein hatred of the DH? Take the NIMBY approach and never allow it on your hallowed traditionalist grounds.
First and foremost, the “home team chooses” system would, a) reduce significantly the number of games in which the DH rule would be in force; and b) add another layer of managerial strategizing (and fan kvetching) to a sport that’s typically a bit light on managerial strategizing (but not fan kvetching). I also envision a handful of other consequences that can be viewed as generally positive ...
...This new structure would of course require the consent of the players union, and they’d likely want give-backs elsewhere, since this would likely result in a downward market correction insofar as primary DHs are concerned. But this effort embodies, I think, the sensible middle ground between getting rid of the DH altogether (again, not a plausible aim) and allowing the status to remain quo.
So, in summary, the home team gets to decide whether the DH rule applies. Given the breadth of my opinion-shaping powers, I expect implementation posthaste. Or not.
Posted: March 12, 2013 at 04:03 PM | 104 comment(s)
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