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Friday, June 12, 2009

Jenkins: The real reason National League is right about not having DH

Hey, all you hardcore Buhlites…if you want to on the side of Bruce Jenkins, go ahead.

It’s a real shame that so many American League pitchers have been denied a chance to hit. As much as A’s fans enjoyed the pure athletic ability of Vida Blue, Mike Norris, Rick Langford and Dave Stewart over the years, they could have seen so much more. Given a reason to work on their hitting, they all would have responded professionally. Or maybe not, in a case or two. You learn something there, too.

“But it’s an age of specialization,” people say. On what basis? There are no designated runners or fielders. Specialization is an NFL team employing different defensive units on four consecutive plays. Specialization was forced upon the American League when the DH arrived in 1973, but it never was warranted. Without question, we’ve witnessed golden DH moments from the likes of Tony Oliva, Orlando Cepeda, Harold Baines, Edgar Martinez, David Ortiz, but I invariably ask myself, why? In what brand of league does a player not bat for himself? Have we become a generation of elitist pipe-smokers, outraged at the sight of an athlete’s vulnerability? “Fetch me my Thoreau, Jeeves. Barry Zito is batting.”

The “different set of rules” argument gets tiresome, as well. Thank goodness the National League has a traditional set of rules, and the disparity doesn’t harm the game in the slightest. It’s still the same game. Different rules would be three balls for a walk, or you start out by running to third.

So it’s not always a good show. Neither was Willie McCovey playing left field, or the 1968 Detroit Tigers playing Mickey Stanley (an outfielder) at shortstop because they were fed up with Ray Oyler’s hitting. Baseball is, by nature, a display of human frailty. It is notoriously, famously and gloriously a game of failure. As I discovered with the youth of my neighborhood, it’s a most pleasurable way to go.

Repoz Posted: June 12, 2009 at 12:26 PM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, special topics

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   1. The Most Interesting Man In The World Posted: June 12, 2009 at 12:56 PM (#3215914)
Hey, even Jenkins can be right once in awhile.
   2. The Pequod Posted: June 12, 2009 at 02:02 PM (#3215993)
AL baseball is more exciting to me, for like 10 reasons.

Why not argue about religion instead?
   3. salvomania Posted: June 12, 2009 at 02:04 PM (#3215999)
Ten reasons???? REALLY????
   4. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 12, 2009 at 02:05 PM (#3216002)
Vida Blue, Mike Norris, Rick Langford and Dave Stewart

A Rick Langford sighting! Awesome. One of my first favoritest pitchers. I wonder if Jenkins threw him in because he didn't want to pair "athletic" with only black pitchers. Also, A's fans did get to see Vida Blue hit.

edit: Vida had a .104 batting average in 618 life time at bats. Oof.
   5. BDC Posted: June 12, 2009 at 02:06 PM (#3216004)
I don't know ... obviously there are some guys who specialize at DH for years or decades on end, like Papi and Edgar. But take the Rangers (please): in the 20 years I've been following them, they have only rarely had a full-time DH who was incapable of playing the field. They had Harold Baines for about a year and Brian Downing for a couple of years. They had Rafael Palmeiro and Milton Bradley working their way out of injuries. They have occasionally had a Mickey Tettleton or a Sammy Sosa on his last legs (though even they played some in the field). But for most of those 20 years the Rangers have rotated guys through the DH position to get an offensive edge, to rest guys, to keep them sharp – not necessarily to hide their defense. Many American League teams operate that way. The DH as a position has not totally gone the way of Placekicker or Long Snapper.
   6. The Most Interesting Man In The World Posted: June 12, 2009 at 03:03 PM (#3216102)
AL baseball is more exciting to me, for like 10 reasons.

Can you fill us in as to some of them?
   7. Dewey, Crackpot and Soupuss Posted: June 12, 2009 at 03:24 PM (#3216129)
I'm fine with there being a DH in the AL and no DH in the NL. I don't know why every year we have to have the same tired debate.
   8. billyjack Posted: June 12, 2009 at 03:33 PM (#3216141)
Rick Langford used to remind me of Freddie Mercury.

I agree with #7-- keep the DH in the AL, none in the NL, play by the home team's rules in interleague, and everyone stays happy.
   9. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 12, 2009 at 03:47 PM (#3216160)
I agree with #7-- keep the DH in the AL, none in the NL, play by the home team's rules in interleague, and everyone stays happy.


Well, No. 7 would rather you elminated those interleague games entirely, as would I.

But yes, I also prefer the no-DH in the NL and DH in the AL set-up.
   10. SuperGrover Posted: June 12, 2009 at 03:54 PM (#3216173)
So they want to see the wonderful athletic pitchers do something else but pitch, but do you really want to see the likes of David Ortiz, Jason Giambi and Frank Thomas stumble around in the field? Seems like, in the end, your viewing of atheltic prowess remains unchanged.

No one pays big money to watch Carlos Zambrano swing the bat.
   11. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 12, 2009 at 04:02 PM (#3216191)
No one pays big money to watch Carlos Zambrano swing the bat.

Maybe, but I don't think we need to have to substitutes to do things for players because we're not paying money to see it. No one wants to see Jason Giambi run the bases, but Rajai Davis doesn't get to be a designated runner.
   12. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: June 12, 2009 at 04:20 PM (#3216217)
Hey, even Jenkins can be right once in awhile.


Is this the 3 Dot Lounge guy? If you want to know my DH position read one of the other threads on this topic. There probably was one the first interleague weekend. It's on the first of the 15 pages. I'm not a longerthreader.
   13. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 12, 2009 at 04:21 PM (#3216218)
Is this the 3 Dot Lounge guy?

Yep.
   14. The Pequod Posted: June 12, 2009 at 04:39 PM (#3216241)
Can you fill us in as to some of them?

Off the top of my head:
- I don't like watching terrible hitters hit.
- I don't like seeing pitchers yanked in the middle innings because they're coming to bat in the middle of a rally.
- I don't like seeing David Ortiz or Travis Hafner in the field.
- I like seeing great hitters hang around even when they can't play the field.
- I don't like seeing a guy like Carlos Zambrano get hurt running the bases.

There are reasonable counter-arguments to all of these. I could defend either side of the argument, but in the end I just enjoy AL baseball more.

Like I said, we might as well argue about religion.
   15. Traderdave Posted: June 12, 2009 at 04:45 PM (#3216251)
Also, A's fans did get to see Vida Blue hit.


A switch-hitting MVP -- how often do you see that?
   16. wjones Posted: June 12, 2009 at 05:11 PM (#3216305)
A switch-hitting MVP -- how often do you see that?


Frankie Frisch, Mickey Mantle, Maury Wills, Willie McGee, Ken Caminiti, Terry Pendleton, Chipper Jones, and Jimmy Rollins say hi. Pete Rose says, "I bet there are 9 others, including myself."
   17. Cris E Posted: June 12, 2009 at 05:12 PM (#3216308)
I would rather see opposite-league DH rules used during interleague play. I always get to see the DH in MN, so if they want to pretend the interleague games are something unique it'd be kinda cool if they were actually different.
   18. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: June 12, 2009 at 05:29 PM (#3216323)
r the 1968 Detroit Tigers playing Mickey Stanley (an outfielder) at shortstop because they were fed up with Ray Oyler’s hitting

Yeah, what a disaster that was. The Tigers barely even won the World Series!
   19. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: June 14, 2009 at 07:32 PM (#3219186)
I would rather see opposite-league DH rules used during interleague play. I always get to see the DH in MN, so if they want to pretend the interleague games are something unique it'd be kinda cool if they were actually different.

I've heard people say this, but it just makes no sense to me. It's a competitive baseball game, not a competition, why would we make it so that the teams play by the road team's rules? I don't know, maybe it's just as arbitrary to go by the home team's rules, but at least that's customary. And it's not like getting the chance to see a game with the other league's rules is some exotic opportunity.

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