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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Miklasz: Get ready, the NL will adopt the DH

Fans get ready, there’s a train-wreck comin’
You don’t need no excess baggage, you just get on board

The “tradition” argument is weak.

Why? The DH is now part of that tradition.

The DH is used in the minor leagues, the colleges, high schools, and right on down the line.

The NL is the oddball here.

Like it or not, the National League will adopt the DH rule. The day is coming; most baseball people think we’ll see the DH implemented within 10 years.

Look at it this way, Cardinals fans: if the full-time DH comes to the NL in a few years, at least your team has brawny Matt Adams locked and loaded to fill the job. Or, depending on the Cardinals’ roster configuration at the time, Allen Craig could take over at DH. 

One day, many years from now, when Oscar Taveras is in his 30s and slowing down, he can finish his long and illustrious Cardinals career as one of baseball’s top designated hitters instead of leaving to sign a massive free-agent deal with the Angels.

Repoz Posted: March 31, 2013 at 01:23 PM | 158 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, history

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   1. Esoteric Posted: March 31, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4400162)
I can think of few 'rule changes' or 'innovations' in baseball that would upset me more than the NL going DH. If anything, I wish we could find a way to abolish the DH in the American League, although the Players' Union will make sure that never happens.
   2. Flynn Posted: March 31, 2013 at 01:44 PM (#4400166)
There aren't even enough good DHs for the American League let alone the National League. I would actually rather watch a pitcher hit than a guy hitting 240/300/375 who's fat and past his prime. At least when a pitcher gets a hit it's a fun thing to watch, a mini-highlight of the game.
   3. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4400175)
Anyone who is a fan of the DH is stupid. Very stupid. Bernie Miklasz is stupid independent of his opinion on this issue, but it's a nice confirmation of his stupidity. Stupidity.
   4. Downtown Bookie Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4400176)
Yep; just like they were saying in the mid-1970's.

Should be any day now.

Any day.

Any day.

DB
   5. The District Attorney Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:13 PM (#4400179)
The thing about the DH is that the anti-DH side is, at a conservative estimate, 900 trillion times more fervent. There was a guy in the last DH thread who was, seriously, the first person I had ever encountered in my entire life who was passionately pro-DH and used the type of heated rhetoric that is common from the anti-DH camp.

So, when it's like 50/50 for/against, and one side thinks it's the most important thing in the world while the other side doesn't really care, I don't know how the side that doesn't really care is supposed to win out.

(Unless they literally just negotiate this as a CBA point between the owners and players, as if it were a pension plan change or something, and don't worry about the fan reaction at all. Which of course is entirely possible. But it wouldn't be smart.)
   6. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:14 PM (#4400181)
I'll go ahead and be the naysayer and say he's probably right. The ever-expanding presence of interleague play is likely going to bring the DH to the National League fairly soon. Personally, and I know this is heresy... I don't really have a strong opinion on it. I find things to like about baseball without a DH and with it.

Not to say I'm not a crotchety old traditionalist in a lot of other ways. I pretty strongly wish they'd knock off this interleague play silliness and go back to four divisions and only the division winners play in any playoffs. But I just don't care much about the DH.
   7.   Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:22 PM (#4400183)
My numbers 1-10 reasons I want this to happen are so that we can stop. having. this. freaking. discussion.
   8. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:27 PM (#4400186)
I'm with post 6. I enjoy baseball with and without the DH, but with constant interleague play I do think the NL will eventually adopt the DH. I also think teams will be glad to eliminate the risk of pitchers being injured swinging the bat or running the bases. Those injuries don't happen much but any frequency above zero is added risk in a world where teams are incredibly protective of their pitchers.
   9. cardsfanboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:34 PM (#4400188)
I'm with post 6. I enjoy baseball with and without the DH, but with constant interleague play I do think the NL will eventually adopt the DH. I also think teams will be glad to eliminate the risk of pitchers being injured swinging the bat or running the bases. Those injuries don't happen much but any frequency above zero is added risk in a world where teams are incredibly protective of their pitchers.


That is my theory and viewpoint, but I would be happy if I'm proven wrong and they keep the current setup. I'm still going to argue for visitor rules on the second game of a series, and I would prefer roster expansion as a response to interleague play, more than I want to see unifying rules.
   10. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:37 PM (#4400192)
Not going to happen. There aren't even enough good DHs to fill up the American League, much less the whole majors. Most teams have gotten smart enough to realize that it makes no sense to pay a big contract to some washed-up old bum just to DH.
   11. TerpNats Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:44 PM (#4400195)
Doesn't the Japanese Central League let pitchers hit, too?
   12. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:45 PM (#4400196)
I like the idea of clinging onto this one eentsy weentsy difference between the two leagues, but eradicating it in the NL would almost be worth it for the howls it would bring from a certain segment of NL fans. Almost, but not enough to make me want to see it happen----vive la difference.
   13. Bob T Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:45 PM (#4400197)
You don't need to have a Hal McRae/Harold Baines/David Ortiz type DH anymore. But a good team can sign a fourth outfielder or backup first baseman with a big platoon split and that would do the trick.

I'm an NL fan, but I've never understood how the DH in AL got to be the consubstantiation to the pitchers hitting transubstantiation in the NL. It really isn't that big of a deal.
   14. JE (Jason) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4400199)
I also think teams will be glad to eliminate the risk of pitchers being injured swinging the bat or running the bases. Those injuries don't happen much but any frequency above zero is added risk in a world where teams are incredibly protective of their pitchers.

This argument carries little resonance, Dan, unless you're also in favor of sticking a batting practice net in front of the mound during the game.
   15. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4400200)
Whenever I'm watching an American League game, there's always a moment when I get really confused about why they're back to the beginning of the order again so soon, before I remember that the DH exists.

This should really have stopped happening like fifteen years ago.
   16. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:51 PM (#4400202)
I think that punters and field goal kickers in the NFL should be taken from the ranks of defensive backs and interior linemen. If it was good enough for Yale Lary's Lions and Lou Groza's Browns, why should we have a bunch of skinny soccer players taking away jobs from real football players?
   17. Swedish Chef Posted: March 31, 2013 at 02:58 PM (#4400205)
This is pointless, "most baseball people" think it could happen in 10 years? Sure, wake me when there's a concrete plan.
   18. JoeHova Posted: March 31, 2013 at 03:13 PM (#4400218)
I kind of like the DH. I don't need to see managers pretending to be tactical geniuses by making a bunch of double-switches. I'd rather watch people who can actually play the sport play the sport. If there isn't a DH, more attention should be paid to teaching pitchers how to hit.
   19. Dale Sams Posted: March 31, 2013 at 03:14 PM (#4400219)
Who the hell would volunteer to use the DH in High School?
   20. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 03:24 PM (#4400224)
This argument carries little resonance, Dan, unless you're also in favor of sticking a batting practice net in front of the mound during the game.


Teams won't want to prevent pitcher injuries while swinging bats and running the bases because they can also be hurt by batted balls?
   21. JE (Jason) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 03:30 PM (#4400225)
Teams won't want to prevent pitcher injuries while swinging bats and running the bases because they can also be hurt by batted balls?

Absolutely. If pitcher safety is so important, then MLB should first limit the likelihood that a Brandon McCarthy beaning incident happens again.
   22. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 03:41 PM (#4400226)
A. One has nothing to do with the other.

B. They're already working on hat liners to protect pitchers' heads from line drives.
   23. cardsfanboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 03:42 PM (#4400227)
Not going to happen. There aren't even enough good DHs to fill up the American League, much less the whole majors. Most teams have gotten smart enough to realize that it makes no sense to pay a big contract to some washed-up old bum just to DH.


There have always been few DH only players. It's generally been used as an added lineup spot for the teams best pinch hitter, or just as often to rest a starting player while getting a backup glove some playing time. I don't see any reason to think that there has to be an Ortiz or even a Matt Stairs like player on every team. It's not really necessary for the "position".

   24. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: March 31, 2013 at 03:44 PM (#4400229)
I'd rather watch people who can actually play the sport play the sport. If there isn't a DH, more attention should be paid to teaching pitchers how to hit.

Dude, a DH is just barely playing the sport; he spends 95% of the game sitting on his fat ass in the dugout.
   25. JE (Jason) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 03:55 PM (#4400232)
A. One has nothing to do with the other.

B. They're already working on hat liners to protect pitchers' heads from line drives.

All batters are at risk when standing at home plate or running the bases but only pitchers are ridiculously exposed to batted balls. It remains unclear how much shielding "hat liners" will provide, but we already know they won't offer any protection for the face.
   26. depletion Posted: March 31, 2013 at 04:13 PM (#4400242)
Yep; just like they were saying in the mid-1970's.

Should be any day now.

Any day.

Any day.

DB

Sincerely. Must be a slow news day in StL. If attendance in the NL drops well below AL attendence, it might happen, unfortunately. Otherwise, no.
   27. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: March 31, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4400252)
I think that punters and field goal kickers in the NFL should be taken from the ranks of defensive backs and interior linemen. If it was good enough for Yale Lary's Lions and Lou Groza's Browns, why should we have a bunch of skinny soccer players taking away jobs from real football players?

Now you're catching on! I'd be fine with Peyton Manning having to play free safety as well.
   28. Dan Evensen Posted: March 31, 2013 at 04:37 PM (#4400261)
We've been reading this article since 1973. Hasn't happened yet. I'll believe it when I see it.
   29. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 31, 2013 at 04:48 PM (#4400266)
I think that punters and field goal kickers in the NFL should be taken from the ranks of defensive backs and interior linemen. If it was good enough for Yale Lary's Lions and Lou Groza's Browns, why should we have a bunch of skinny soccer players taking away jobs from real football players?

Now you're catching on! I'd be fine with Peyton Manning having to play free safety as well.


OTOH who wants to see Andris Biedrins throw one brick after another from the foul line? The NBA should allow designated free throw shooters to discourage deliberate late game fouls.

   30. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 31, 2013 at 05:45 PM (#4400285)
The NL DH may happen. Bug Selig will never die, and slowly put surely his plan to get 16 teams into baseball's postseason is going into effect. He'll wear us down eventually.

All batters are at risk when standing at home plate or running the bases but only pitchers are ridiculously exposed to batted balls. It remains unclear how much shielding "hat liners" will provide, but we already know they won't offer any protection for the face.


Teflon visors?
   31. base ball chick Posted: March 31, 2013 at 06:20 PM (#4400304)
it's gonna happen all right

it's why buddy boy and nolan ryan screwed the astros, so that DH ball will be played every day.

what bud and his cronies care about is
1 - money
2 - money
3 - money

and the players' union will go along with it too, just like they did with preventing teams from spending much of anything on the draft - not that the money is going to the players - because they figure that a DH is gonna make more than the minimum wage 5th OF.

so if you want to make baseball like football - hey, why not expand the rosters? have 30 pitchers and 10 who can pitch at any time, and go back out after being pulled, just like football players.

and have a roster of 30 position players too - and that way, we can have a matchup with everyu different hitter. won't that be exciting. and we can change out the fielders too.

right, DH luvvvvers? isn't that what you want? the best matchup every time?

and just think how much fun it will be for all you fantasy gamblers and vegas gamblers. the fact that you have completely destroyed what the actual game IS, doesn't matter because who gives a shtt about the actual game when there is all that fun gambling and "the best matchups every time"

and when they make the DH mandatory, which is coming with the next CBA, i'm gone. of course, the number of those of us who care are far outnumbered by the ones who don't care and the gamblers.
   32. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: March 31, 2013 at 06:24 PM (#4400311)
If offense keeps fading like it has the past couple years I could see it. I hope not, although I am softening towards the 'I like the leagues being different position'.
   33. AndrewJ Posted: March 31, 2013 at 06:31 PM (#4400316)
There aren't even enough good DHs for the American League let alone the National League.

FTW.
   34. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 06:36 PM (#4400321)
right, DH luvvvvers? isn't that what you want? the best matchup every time?


Yup. Just like how gay marriage supporters want to be able to marry horses.

Absolutely no one is looking to separate baseball into offensive and defensive platoons. It's a ridiculous slippery slope argument.
   35. TerpNats Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:05 PM (#4400340)
Now you're catching on! I'd be fine with Peyton Manning having to play free safety as well.
If it could be done by Sammy Baugh, why not Peyton? (Oh, and Sammy punted, too.)
   36. davis21wylie Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:22 PM (#4400347)
#2 - Really, a pitcher hitting -- a.k.a. a rookie-league-level (or worse) caliber batter bunting or flailing away hopelessly at major-league pitching once every time through the order -- is "a mini-highlight of the game"?
   37. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:27 PM (#4400353)
#36 - You don't read so well.
   38. base ball chick Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:31 PM (#4400354)
dan

what's all this about gays wanting to marry horses? i know all about that batshtt female who married the dolphin, but

anyhow, it is not a stupid slippery slope argument, look at what happened to football over the past 30 years - and the gamblers love it that way

there is no reason to not have the pitcher hit any more than there is any reason to not have the best fielder field. why risk your first baseman getting hurt when he catches a ball?
   39. Tim D Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:31 PM (#4400355)
Sentiment against the DH was aout was 99-1 against back in '73. Now it's 50-50 give or take. If the NL would just put it in the number of people who missed seeing the pitcher hit instead of David Ortiz would be, in about 5-10 years, roughly equivalent to the number that are still pissed the A's left Philadelphia.

(paraphrased from an earlier comment)

   40. davis21wylie Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:33 PM (#4400356)
Ah, a pitcher getting a hit is a highlight. Ok, that's great. But what does it say about the expectations that even getting a hit at all -- something legit MLB-caliber batters do like it's second nature -- is a special event?

Bottom line, pitchers aren't selected for their hitting ability. We don't ask position players to pitch (except in desperate situations). Why do we ask pitchers to hit?
   41. Flynn Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:40 PM (#4400358)

Bottom line, pitchers aren't selected for their hitting ability. We don't ask position players to pitch (except in desperate situations). Why do we ask pitchers to hit?


For the same reason we ask the other 8 people on the field to hit.
   42. zonk Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:45 PM (#4400364)
I will burn the nation, perhaps even the entire western hemisphere to the ground first. I will salt the earth of every ballfield. DHs and their defenders will cower in their dugouts and parents will scare their children into early bedtimes with tales of the brutality and sheer evil my hordes will unleash.

You have been warned.
   43. davis21wylie Posted: March 31, 2013 at 07:53 PM (#4400370)
41 - Those other 8 people are selected largely on hitting ability. Some are valued for fielding more than others, to be sure, but all must possess a certain level of offensive competency in order to be considered for the job at all. Pitcher is the only position where hitting isn't a consideration for being selected, and that means it's an entirely different species of baseball player than the other 8 guys on the field.
   44. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:22 PM (#4400417)
Re 42: I didn't know Arkham Asylum had an internet connection.

What's your all-time worst sports prediction? Back in the 80s, when indoor soccer became more popular than the outdoor variety, I predicted that it would become a high school and college sport as well, and that outdoor soccer would completely disappear from the US by 2000. (Er, no.)
   45. Drexl Spivey Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:26 PM (#4400419)
I like having pitchers hit (mainly because less runs scored increases the probability of having a close, exiting ending).

But I don't mind the DH either. It's still baseball.
   46. Comic Strip Person Posted: March 31, 2013 at 08:50 PM (#4400434)
My favorite part of this article is that Miklasz didn't say something stupid until the first sentence.
   47. Cblau Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:12 PM (#4400462)
What does the National League president say about this?
   48. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:30 PM (#4400486)
anyhow, it is not a stupid slippery slope argument, look at what happened to football over the past 30 years - and the gamblers love it that way


Why is that? I don't follow football but I would have assumed that as long as there's a game, gamblers would be happy.
   49. Gotham Dave Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:36 PM (#4400492)
AL fan: The DH doesn't really negatively effect my enjoyment of the game, I wouldn't mind it going away but I like having the more complete lineup.
NL fan: You are stupid if you like the DH, possibly developmentally disabled. Also you're a bad person.

I would honestly be impartial in this debate if this wasn't how the debate always went. NL fans are dicks about this I'd laugh if you lost your precious pitchers hitting because it would be a fine punishment for you guys being ####### ######## about it for 40 years.
   50. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:46 PM (#4400503)
Whenever I'm watching an American League game, there's always a moment when I get really confused about why they're back to the beginning of the order again so soon, before I remember that the DH exists.

Wait, what does this even mean? There are 9 batters in the line-up either way.
   51. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 31, 2013 at 09:49 PM (#4400505)
Anyone who is a fan of the DH is stupid. Very stupid.

I wouldn't go this far, but the DH rule itself is objectively stupid.

8 guys play offense and defense but one guy plays only offense, and another only defense. How is that logical? Not to mention the weird nonsense that you can replace the DH, but not if you move the DH to another position.

If the NL would just put it in the number of people who missed seeing the pitcher hit instead of David Ortiz would be, in about 5-10 years, roughly equivalent to the number that are still pissed the A's left Philadelphia.

Why do I want to see a fat tub of goo like Ortiz on the field? Make him field so at least he has to get in shape a tiny little bit.
   52. Gotham Dave Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:08 PM (#4400526)
51 - I don't know, I feel like that "why's it different?" argument about the DH is like asking why the goalkeepers in hockey and soccer get to wear specialized gear and use their hands. "There's ten guys on the field who can't use their hands, why should he get to?" Sometimes to make a sport work well you need to make "inelegant" changes. Literally everything about American football has come to be through this sort of process. The argument shouldn't be, is it internally consistent, the argument should be does it improve the sport? I'm not entirely sure the DH does, but "nine on nine" principles don't mean that it necessarily doesn't. And of course in the end it's a matter of personal taste, because baseball objectively doesn't matter.

If you come to the point where the skill of pitching becomes so specialized that almost no pitchers are adequate hitters for the professional game, I think it's perfectly defensible and not "objectively stupid" to fix that quirk, one that never could've been foreseen by whoever came up with this nine on nine thing. Baseball wasn't designed with a DH but it also wasn't designed with one hitter in the lineup who is comically inept compared to his peers.
   53. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:28 PM (#4400546)
@52: that's a good point about the game evolving. As much as I want the DH to be stupid, it pretty much does come down to, "because I prefer it that way"; along the lines of wanting change to stop here, rather than here.
   54. JJ1986 Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:47 PM (#4400565)
Football platoons date back to much longer than 30 years ago
   55. attaboy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:50 PM (#4400568)
DH hater but it will happen at some point...very sad statement on the regression of baseball proper over the year since the 1970's.
   56. Morty Causa Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:55 PM (#4400572)
Anyone who is a fan of the DH is stupid. Very stupid.

I wouldn't go this far, but the DH rule itself is objectively stupid.

Do you feel the same way about pinch hitters and relievers and those rules that allow their use?
   57. Dan Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:57 PM (#4400573)
f you come to the point where the skill of pitching becomes so specialized that almost no pitchers are adequate hitters for the professional game, I think it's perfectly defensible and not "objectively stupid" to fix that quirk, one that never could've been foreseen by whoever came up with this nine on nine thing. Baseball wasn't designed with a DH but it also wasn't designed with one hitter in the lineup who is comically inept compared to his peers.


We came to that point about 70 years ago. Pitchers haven't been selected for their offense in anyone's living memory. No pitcher is ever selected to start a game over another because of his bat, even in the NL. If he's a less inept hitter than another pitcher, it's considered a nice bonus, but it's never a factor in choosing, signing, or using pitchers.
   58. jdennis Posted: March 31, 2013 at 11:41 PM (#4400592)
let's say that after the baby boom generation dies off, tv viewership goes down and the league contracts.

would the dh rule be taken out as a marketing play, and because it allows owners to cut salary?
   59. flournoy Posted: March 31, 2013 at 11:57 PM (#4400597)
NL fans are dicks about this I'd laugh if you lost your precious pitchers hitting because it would be a fine punishment for you guys being ####### ######## about it for 40 years.


Maybe the ones who are the dicks are the guys who keep trying to force their barely-held preference down others' throats.
   60. Morty Causa Posted: April 01, 2013 at 12:02 AM (#4400599)
Boomers are to blame for the DH? I had never thought of that. <smile> "Boomers"--the new n-word. Love it.
   61. Random Transaction Generator Posted: April 01, 2013 at 12:24 AM (#4400609)
8 guys play offense and defense but one guy plays only offense, and another only defense. How is that logical?


8 guys are selected for their ability to bat and field (completely disregarding their ability to pitch), and one guy is selected for his ability to pitch (completely disregarding his ability to bat or field). That solo guy is already different from all the rest of the players on the field. Why is it so important that he do the thing that he wasn't even drafted/signed/selected to do (bat)? Nobody forces the other 8 players to pitch, or makes a decision on their value to the team based on their ability to pitch.

   62. BrianBrianson Posted: April 01, 2013 at 05:35 AM (#4400639)
That the two leagues have different rules is what makes baseball infinitly better than football, hockey, or basketball. Well, that and the irregular stadiums. People who're for the DH in the NL or against it in the AL are worse than hitler, etc.
   63. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: April 01, 2013 at 08:19 AM (#4400654)
I was in the damn hotdog line when Strasburg hit his first home run last year. Anyway, boooh dh.
   64. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: April 01, 2013 at 08:46 AM (#4400670)
Looks like someone doesn't know what "objectively" means.
   65. shoewizard Posted: April 01, 2013 at 09:08 AM (#4400684)
What does the National League president say about this?


Made me laugh
   66. bunyon Posted: April 01, 2013 at 09:16 AM (#4400688)
I'm on the side of the NL here but I think it will happen. I was born in 1971 and I played competitive games through age 18. I never, once, played in a league that didn't have a DH. People my age and younger simply have no memory of playing without a DH. I hated DHing and hated having a DH but, still, it was there. It was how the game was played. I'd be shocked if it didn't eventually come to the NL.

Now, 1 year? Ten years? 50 years? I have no idea.

If I could live in a NL-DH world that had four divisions, two rounds of playoffs and 18 doubleheaders per team per year, I'd take it.
   67. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 01, 2013 at 09:27 AM (#4400702)
Do you feel the same way about pinch hitters and relievers and those rules that allow their use?

Why? Those are simple uses of the substitution rules.

I would like rule changes that caused fewer RPs to be used, e.g. every pitcher must face 3 batters, or a pitcher must pitch until they finish an inning or allow a run. But, those rules would be universal, not targeted at RPs.
   68. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 01, 2013 at 09:32 AM (#4400704)
8 guys are selected for their ability to bat and field (completely disregarding their ability to pitch), and one guy is selected for his ability to pitch (completely disregarding his ability to bat or field). That solo guy is already different from all the rest of the players on the field. Why is it so important that he do the thing that he wasn't even drafted/signed/selected to do (bat)? Nobody forces the other 8 players to pitch, or makes a decision on their value to the team based on their ability to pitch.

Catchers aren't selected for their ability to run, and are lousy baserunners. Why don't we give them a designated pinch runner?

Not selection pitchers for hitting is a strategic decision a team makes; just like playing all-bat no glove LFs. Teams are free to select pitchers for hitting ability.
   69. Scott Lange Posted: April 01, 2013 at 10:19 AM (#4400735)
Kerry Wood's home run in game 7 of the 2003 NLCS is my favorite moment in baseball history, despite how the game turned out. The same home run in the same situation by a DH would be an after thought, if I remembered it at all (I can't tell you how the Cubs scored the rest of their runs that game without looking it up). Basically, a pitcher batting is special, while a DH batting is generic. That's the main reason I strongly prefer pitchers batting.
   70. spycake Posted: April 01, 2013 at 10:23 AM (#4400739)
We've been reading this article since 1973. Hasn't happened yet. I'll believe it when I see it.

But doesn't the new "interleague every day" schedule change the equation now? I can't imagine that teams are going to like the steady roster juggling. I know you can argue that teams don't necessarily need to change their roster for interleague, but they will. I could see the universal DH proposal getting much strong this season.

Also, not only is it a concern for pitcher injuries, but it's probably an even bigger concern now for NL teams signing superstar players. Would an NL team have given Pujols his mega-deal? (Well, the Marlins may have, but they would have traded him to Toronto after one season.) Don't you think the Giants might like the DH to help protect their recent investment in Buster Posey?
   71. Esoteric Posted: April 01, 2013 at 10:34 AM (#4400748)
would the dh rule be taken out as a marketing play, and because it allows owners to cut salary?
As I said right up in comment #1, no the DH is almost certainly never going to disappear from the AL because the Players' Association would never allow it: it would be tantamount to guaranteeing that at least 15 players lose their Major League jobs (either the DHs themselves or whomever gets pushed from their position/roster spot to accomodate the former DH's move to a position), as well as closing an avenue that aging sluggers have come to think of as a lifeline for extending their careers. I can't even imagine what sort of concession the owners could offer in return that would make the MLBPA not put up a massive fight about it.
   72. BDC Posted: April 01, 2013 at 10:54 AM (#4400773)
I've never liked seeing the pitcher bat, and I've never liked having a DH in the lineup (mainly because it's cognitively hard to match the lineup to the defensive alignment, particularly when you follow a team that uses different DHs all the time).

I guess I hate every option, except for the eight-man order, which just inertially is unlikely to be seriously proposed. Overall, I'm ready for all-DH baseball. It makes for a tougher challenge for the defensive team, to accentuate the positive about it.
   73. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: April 01, 2013 at 10:58 AM (#4400776)
I like pinch hitting and defensive substitutions and bunting and such.
   74. SoSH U at work Posted: April 01, 2013 at 11:05 AM (#4400787)
But doesn't the new "interleague every day" schedule change the equation now? I can't imagine that teams are going to like the steady roster juggling. I know you can argue that teams don't necessarily need to change their roster for interleague, but they will. I could see the universal DH proposal getting much strong this season.


Have teams reconfigured their rosters now to accomodate interleague play, or do they just take what they have and use it (Big Papi gets a few extra days rest and some fourth outfielder or aging NL starter gets slotted into the DH hole). I don't see this as a big deal.

Now the other point might be true, that NL teams are less inclined to sign sluggers to long-term contracts. But as long as NL teams continue to battle NL teams for playoff berths, I'm not sure that's a negative.

I've never seen a compelling argument that leads me to believe that the DH is a competitive advantage for AL teams. Thus, I don't understand why baseball would want to piss off a group of fans with strongly held beliefs for no real benefit. A single rule governing all play nets MLB nothing, while possibly turning off (and losing, if their threats are valid) the Vlads and Lisas of the world.
   75. spycake Posted: April 01, 2013 at 11:59 AM (#4400839)
Thus, I don't understand why baseball would want to piss off a group of fans with strongly held beliefs for no real benefit.

Baseball has a whole history of doing this. They almost certainly pissed off more fans with the original DH rule. Possibly even with interleague.

And not to question the threat validity of Vlad or Lisa, but honestly: where are these baseball fans going to go if the NL adopts the DH? Are they going to join all the multitudes of fans turned off by the original DH rule, divisional playoffs, the strikes, realignment, the wild card, and interleague play? Because MLB seems to be doing just fine without that group.
   76. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 01, 2013 at 12:07 PM (#4400851)
Baseball has a whole history of doing this. They almost certainly pissed off more fans with the original DH rule. Possibly even with interleague.

And not to question the threat validity of Vlad or Lisa, but honestly: where are these baseball fans going to go if the NL adopts the DH? Are they going to join all the multitudes of fans turned off by the original DH rule, divisional playoffs, the strikes, realignment, the wild card, and interleague play? Because MLB seems to be doing just fine without that group.


But most of the changes have been made to make MLB more money. They don't mind pissing people off to make themselves richer.

I just don't see how the DH in the NL makes MLB one penny more. It should actually cost the teams money, since that's one more "regular" you have to pay. Is there one single person who doesn't watch/follow baseball b/c the NL has no DH?
   77. Bob T Posted: April 01, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4400855)
There's no other Major League Baseball to watch if you feel that a National League with a DH is unacceptable to you. Are you going to go to the door of Bud Selig's office and ask to debate 95 theses about how baseball should be run? And they go found your own religion and/or baseball league?
   78. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: April 01, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4400857)
I grew up watching NL baseball primarily, and I still "feel" like an NL fan. The DH feels wrong to me, but I'm aware that this isn't a rational reaction so much as an it's-what-I'm-used-to sort of thing. Emotionally, I'm against it.

Rationally, I think the DH is probably better overall because 99.99% of the time, watching a pitcher at the plate is just agony. It's an automatic out the vast majority of the time. When my team is rallying but has two outs, and the pitcher comes up (because it's only the 4th inning), I cringe.

I expect it will happen eventually, and I am certainly not going to stop watching. I do admit, however, that a small part of me will be a little sad when it does.
   79. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 01, 2013 at 12:12 PM (#4400859)
When my team is rallying but has two outs, and the pitcher comes up (because it's only the 4th inning), I cringe.

But when the other team is rallying with two outs and the P comes up, you get the offsetting relief.
   80. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: April 01, 2013 at 12:15 PM (#4400866)
I just don't see how the DH in the NL makes MLB one penny more.

Maybe not directly, but it might have an effect indirectly. First, it could conceivably increase offense, which casual fans seem to like as a whole. Second, it could let "fan favorite" sluggers hang on for longer, again potentially raising attendance.

Not saying these things would happen; you'd have to study it. And that's just off the top of my head; there may be other ways it helps too. Also, it could be something as simple as a bargaining chip, e.g. MLB wants to implement some new policy that the MLBPA resists, and offers the NL DH as part of the negotiations.
   81. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: April 01, 2013 at 12:17 PM (#4400870)
But when the other team is rallying with two outs and the P comes up, you get the offsetting relief.

That's certainly true, but my overall point was that watching pitchers bat isn't all that much fun for me. YMMV and all that.
   82. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 01, 2013 at 12:19 PM (#4400874)
Maybe not directly, but it might have an effect indirectly. First, it could conceivably increase offense, which casual fans seem to like as a whole. Second, it could let "fan favorite" sluggers hang on for longer, again potentially raising attendance.

Not saying these things would happen; you'd have to study it. And that's just off the top of my head; there may be other ways it helps too. Also, it could be something as simple as a bargaining chip, e.g. MLB wants to implement some new policy that the MLBPA resists, and offers the NL DH as part of the negotiations.


OK, but it immediately costs team significant payroll filling an extra spot. Guys are going to get more money as FAs and in arbitration if they are "full-time" players at DH, rather than being 4th OFs or backup 1B/3B.

If the cost is immediate and the return speculative, there's no reason to piss off a bunch of fans.
   83. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: April 01, 2013 at 12:30 PM (#4400890)
If the cost is immediate and the return speculative, there's no reason to piss off a bunch of fans.

The return is speculative because you and I and the rest of BTF, etc., don't know what it might be.

I would expect MLB to have a non-speculative reason before offering it as a bargaining chip to the MLBPA, and I would expect it to be a reason that impacts the bottom line in a positive manner, because generally speaking, that's what MLB does.
   84. spycake Posted: April 01, 2013 at 12:33 PM (#4400896)
How did MLB make more money when they instituted the original DH rule?

Players won't get significantly more money as "full-time" DHs if the teams don't use them that way, and many AL teams don't use players that way now.

And again, who are this bunch of fans who will be so pissed off at MLB fully adopting a rule they've already partially adopted and is used universally everywhere else? Why, we have two of 'em right here on this very message board! And they are going to post endlessly about their displeasure with MLB every time a DH thread comes up, I'm sure, but I don't see MLB actually losing any fans over this.
   85. SoSH U at work Posted: April 01, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4400908)
There's no other Major League Baseball to watch if you feel that a National League with a DH is unacceptable to you. Are you going to go to the door of Bud Selig's office and ask to debate 95 theses about how baseball should be run? And they go found your own religion and/or baseball league?


They may not abandon the product entirely, but they may not be as committed as they were in the past. They may go to fewer games. They may watch fewer games on TV. They may turn to minor league ball, or the local college nine or the little league diamond for more of their baseball fix than they did in the past. I used to be more invested in the NFL than I am now. I used to have a modicum of interest in the NBA. There's nothing that guarantees once a baseball fan always a baseball fan.

How many reduce their consumption of MLB as a result? I don't know, but any number more than zero is not good for MLB. Because they shouldn't be expected to gain any from the switch.

If you hate the pitcher hitting, you have an option for that style of baseball every day. Going to the DH was something new and different, but if an American League fan was so incensed by that bastardization of the game he could find a perfectly acceptable alternative in the National League. That won't exist if the DH is instituted league wide.

   86. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 01, 2013 at 12:47 PM (#4400912)

And again, who are this bunch of fans who will be so pissed off at MLB fully adopting a rule they've already partially adopted and is used universally everywhere else? Why, we have two of 'em right here on this very message board! And they are going to post endlessly about their displeasure with MLB every time a DH thread comes up, I'm sure, but I don't see MLB actually losing any fans over this.


Even if only 5% of fans go to 1 fewer game a season, or watch 20% fewer games on TV, that's a ####-load of money.

What's the upside? Smart companies don't piss-off customers unless they stand to benefit tangibly.

Uniformity doesn't mean #### to the owners. They'd dress half the players in clown suits and half in tutus if it would make them an extra $1M.
   87. Squash Posted: April 01, 2013 at 12:51 PM (#4400920)
the DH is almost certainly never going to disappear from the AL because the Players' Association would never allow it: it would be tantamount to guaranteeing that at least 15 players lose their Major League jobs (either the DHs themselves or whomever gets pushed from their position/roster spot to accomodate the former DH's move to a position),

I've always thought this position was overblown. Roster sizes wouldn't change, so all you'd have is a different guy at the bottom (someone who can play multiple positions) rather than another 4A 1B pinch hitter type like we have in the AL now. The salary thing isn't really huge either - there are really only a handful of full-time DHs making big money (maybe only one right now in David Ortiz?) and nobody's dropping a guy who can hit like a star DH b/c they aren't good on the field.

I think the point about older players seeing it as a lifeline to extend their careers is more apt, but I'd also bet this is more of a perception thing than reality.

Maybe the ones who are the dicks are the guys who keep trying to force their barely-held preference down others' throats.

Who's forcing anything? It's not like the Mongol hordes of the AL are going to take over the NL and force them to institute the DH over taserpoint. If the NL adopts the DH it will be because the NL owners want to adopt the DH for financial/injury prevention/want to see some dingers reasons. It's not going to be because anybody forced anything on them.
   88. SoSH U at work Posted: April 01, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4400942)
I've always thought this position was overblown. Roster sizes wouldn't change, so all you'd have is a different guy at the bottom (someone who can play multiple positions) rather than another 4A 1B pinch hitter type like we have in the AL now. The salary thing isn't really huge either - there are really only a handful of full-time DHs making big money (maybe only one right now in David Ortiz?) and nobody's dropping a guy who can hit like a star DH b/c they aren't good on the field.


Agreed. Teams can, and do, pay as much or as little for their talent as they choose, depending on a lot of factors. I don't see why the presence of a possible extra regular should tip the balance. The NL's Dodgers are going hog wild on spending this year, while the AL's Astros are cutting to the bone. The DH don't seem to have nuthin' to do with it.

   89. Dan Posted: April 01, 2013 at 01:05 PM (#4400945)
Uniformity doesn't mean #### to the owners. They'd dress half the players in clown suits and half in tutus if it would make them an extra $1M.


This is why the impetus will be a $25M/year pitcher tearing an intercostal muscle swinging a bat or tearing up a knee or ankle running the bases rather than a desire to actually have the DH. The rule will eventually happen because NL teams don't want to risk losing guys like Kershaw, Cain, Verlander, etc. to a non-pitching injury.
   90. cmd600 Posted: April 01, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4401029)
We've run the gamut here many a time about whether or not the NL should adopt the DH. We know where everyone stands. What I wonder is how long do you give NL teams to prep. I can't imagine any NL GM is going to be fine with Bud telling him he has one year to figure out how to add a DH to his budget that already contains many long-term deals.
   91. spycake Posted: April 01, 2013 at 03:19 PM (#4401226)
Even if only 5% of fans go to 1 fewer game a season, or watch 20% fewer games on TV, that's a ####-load of money.


And I don't think it would be nearly that many . We've got a terrible sample of revenue-generating fans here on BBTF. Think about the millions of casual fans, the $9 beer drinkers, the ESPN commenters, the corporate seat buyers. 5% of them might notice and express an opinion, but they might account for 2% of the revenue, and I'm guessing virtually none of them would actually make any effort to modify their behavior because they could no longer see pitchers hit. Remember all those fans who were supposed to permanently turn away from the game after the '94 strike? Canceling a World Series pissed people off a million times more than this would, and baseball had no serious issues recovering.

What's the upside? Smart companies don't piss-off customers unless they stand to benefit tangibly.

Uniformity doesn't mean #### to the owners. They'd dress half the players in clown suits and half in tutus if it would make them an extra $1M.

The teams would stand to benefit somewhat: eliminating a small but real injury threat for pitchers.

I don't care for the DH either, but it's basically tradition and novelty at this point, good message board fodder but little else. I'm not predicting its demise, but I wouldn't be surprised if a change was discussed in the near future.
   92. SoSH U at work Posted: April 01, 2013 at 03:29 PM (#4401249)
The teams would stand to benefit somewhat: eliminating a small but real injury threat for pitchers.


How many NL pitchers (or AL pitchers in interleague, to account for all those Wangs out there) are hurt in a given season doing offensive-type stuff (pitching, running the bases, sliding) vs. position players doing likewise? Perhaps my memory is faulty, but this real injury threat doesn't seem to manifest itself much. While pitchers may be more vulnerable to injury doing offensive stuff, they're also less likely to be in a position to get hurt because they're not on base as frequently and don't generally take risks when they get there.

Now, I suppose that a pitcher getting hurt on the offensive side of the ball hurts, on a purely psychological level, more than the same fate befalling a position player. I'm not sure that there's any genuine difference from the club's point of view, however. Pitcher gets hurt, he goes on the DL, you've got to replace him. Position player (or DH, to allow for the direct comparison) gets hurt, goes on the DL, you've got to replace him.

   93. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 01, 2013 at 03:32 PM (#4401255)
The teams would stand to benefit somewhat: eliminating a small but real injury threat for pitchers.

And they would incur a small but real increased cost.

AL teams average higher payrolls than the NL, even though the NL is in bigger markets, on average. There is nothing comparable to David Ortiz making $14M, on an NL roster. They don't pay their bench players more.

   94. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 01, 2013 at 04:23 PM (#4401355)
Anti-DHers are the Westboro Baptist Church of sports fans.

   95. SoSH U at work Posted: April 01, 2013 at 04:34 PM (#4401377)
Anti-DHers are the Westboro Baptist Church of sports fans.


In contrast, I'd say hardcore pro-DHers (the guys who are determined to see the NL adopt it) are the gay marriage foes of the sports world. It's not good enough they've got their league that plays by the rules they prefer. They won't be happy until the other league does too.

   96. spycake Posted: April 01, 2013 at 04:48 PM (#4401408)
The teams would stand to benefit somewhat: eliminating a small but real injury threat for pitchers.

And they would incur a small but real increased cost.

Snapper: obviously it's all just opinion and speculation, but your "cost" of "pissed off fans" actually changing their viewing/attendance habits because of the DH seems a lot less "real" to me. Far more serious changes/disruptions to the game have elicited less action in response.
   97. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 01, 2013 at 04:51 PM (#4401410)
I agree with #95 and strenuously disagree with #94
   98. spycake Posted: April 01, 2013 at 04:56 PM (#4401421)
How many NL pitchers (or AL pitchers in interleague, to account for all those Wangs out there) are hurt in a given season doing offensive-type stuff (pitching, running the bases, sliding) vs. position players doing likewise? Perhaps my memory is faulty, but this real injury threat doesn't seem to manifest itself much. While pitchers may be more vulnerable to injury doing offensive stuff, they're also less likely to be in a position to get hurt because they're not on base as frequently and don't generally take risks when they get there.

So why are we trying to preserve, against every other organized league at every level, the wonderful entertainment that is these batters who don't reach base much and don't take risks when they get there?

I'm guessing Wang's injury alone cost team(s) more money than the great boycott that would arise from the NL adopting the DH.

If my favorite team had a starting pitcher worth protecting, I'd prefer just to skip his at-bats and let the worst bench bat take his place, no problem.
   99. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: April 01, 2013 at 05:09 PM (#4401445)
AL teams average higher payrolls than the NL, even though the NL is in bigger markets, on average.

Small sample size. Is this because of the DH, or is this because of the Yankees (and, to a lesser extent, Red Sox) spending far more than the others?
   100. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: April 01, 2013 at 05:23 PM (#4401454)
I'd be upset if the DH corruption traveled to the NL. I'd probably yack and moan about it from then on. I'd continue watching baseball, but perhaps without quite the same fervor... until the next great Mets team.

I assume this is how most NL fans would probably react to the DH.
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