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Monday, March 10, 2014

Phil Rogers: Cardinals’ set lineup presents case for DH in NL

Add the designated hitter to the National League!

Wouldn’t you rather see one of these guys hit than continue to watch the Cardinals send the likes of Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez to the plate? I would but maybe I’m biased, because I grew up watching American League games, not worshiping at the altar of the double-switch and that predictable daily double—the No. 8 hitter being walked to get to the pitcher, and the pitcher giving up an out with a bunt.

Will the NL ever seriously consider the DH, or is this just media talk? I’ve been asking executives that this spring, and the trend I’ve found is the younger the general managers, the more open-minded they are about the proposition. It’s not going to happen in the next few years, but it might have a real chance in five to 10 years.

“It’s something that comes up, but I think that’s sort of idle conversation,” Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said. “I don’t know if there’s any real discussion about it. I always kind of look at it that way.

“When Major League Baseball asks our opinions, and it looks like there’s going to be a rule change, it’s at that point we’ll pay attention. But to date, there’s never been anything like that. It’s always been gossipy, and therefore I assume it’s going to stay the way it is.”

...Dodgers GM Ned Colletti doesn’t rule out a change, but he says he doesn’t expect change in the near future—even though his club is like the Cardinals. The four-outfielder formation with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig, as well as the presence of Joc Pederson in the wings, should make it easy for Don Mattingly to write lineups in AL parks.

“That’s a tough question,” Colletti said. “I don’t know. I don’t think so, but it’s always possible. Probably some people would make a strong argument for it, but it’s almost polarized now with one league not having it, one league going to have it. I don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon.”

Thanks to Butch.

Repoz Posted: March 10, 2014 at 05:58 AM | 113 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mlb

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   1. AROM Posted: March 10, 2014 at 09:22 AM (#4668927)
No. Double no on Wainwright (career .205, 6 homers, 3.0 batting WAR).

Next question?
   2. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 10, 2014 at 09:32 AM (#4668929)
Wouldn’t you rather see one of these guys hit than continue to watch the Cardinals send the likes of Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez to the plate?


No, because the DH is horseshit.
   3. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: March 10, 2014 at 09:49 AM (#4668931)
Will the AL ever seriously consider sh**canning the DH, or is this just poster talk? No one's been asking executives that this spring, and the trend no one's found is the younger the general managers, the more open-minded they are about the proposition. It’s not going to happen in the next few years, but it might have a real chance in five to 10 years.
   4. BDC Posted: March 10, 2014 at 10:01 AM (#4668935)
Is there any separate league governance anymore? IOW what kind of vote would be needed to change the status quo?
   5. Kurt Posted: March 10, 2014 at 10:11 AM (#4668941)
Will the AL ever seriously consider sh**canning the DH, or is this just poster talk?


If a league changes their rule any time soon (and I don't think it will), it's not going to be the AL.
   6. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: March 10, 2014 at 10:16 AM (#4668946)
I like the DH, always have. But keep it out of the NL.
   7. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: March 10, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4668948)
Ditto to #6, especially since NL teams now play plenty of games in AL parks.

edit: looking at the schedule, it's only 10 games for St. Louis this year.
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 10, 2014 at 10:22 AM (#4668949)
I don't ever understand any of the arguments for uniformity. I like the DH in the AL, and no DH in the NL.
   9. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 10, 2014 at 10:46 AM (#4668959)
I don't ever understand any of the arguments for uniformity. I like the DH in the AL, and no DH in the NL.


Some people seem to think there's an inherent disadvantage to not having the DH. There's no evidence of that, but that seems to be part of it.

Others are really bothered by the idea that the leagues play with separate rules.

I'm with the majority here. I like the fact that the leagues maintain at least one difference. Moreover, I don't understand why MLB would want to piss off one group of supporters (pro DH or anti DH) simply for uniformity's sake.

   10. John DiFool2 Posted: March 10, 2014 at 11:11 AM (#4668966)
Some people seem to think there's an inherent disadvantage to not having the DH. There's no evidence of that, but that seems to be part of it.


Well, aside from the fact that AL DH's outhit their NL counterparts much more than NL pitchers outhit AL pitchers, you mean.
   11. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 10, 2014 at 11:19 AM (#4668970)
Well, aside from the fact that AL DH's outhit their NL counterparts much more than NL pitchers outhit AL pitchers, you mean.


The AL has had better players for the last 10 years or so. I would expect they hit better at most positions.

The DH was not advanced as a structural advantage for most of the DH's existence. Of course, for most of the DH's existence, the AL wasn't the superior league (the NL was clearly better for the first 10 years or so, followed by two decades worth of general balance).

There is nothing stopping NL teams from using their resources to build clubs every bit as good as the best AL teams. That they haven't on average, either by choice or by need, has nothing to do with the DH.
   12. PreservedFish Posted: March 10, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4668973)
I like the DH in the AL, and no DH in the NL.


I feel like this is usually a minority opinion on these threads. Maybe it's just that the people that hold this view, like myself, are comparatively thoughtful and reasonable, and the battleground is soon ceded to the frothing authoritarians that demand universal adoption of their own favored set of rules.
   13. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4669000)
I feel like this is usually a minority opinion on these threads. Maybe it's just that the people that hold this view, like myself, are comparatively thoughtful and reasonable, and the battleground is soon ceded to the frothing authoritarians that demand universal adoption of their own favored set of rules.

I don't get the viewpoint that the "middle ground" is always "thoughtful and reasonable" whereas being on one end or the other of an issue is not. Frequently the "middle ground" is worse than either of the "extreme" points of view. For example in doubles tennis the best strategy is to have both players at net. The second best is to have both players at the baseline. The worst strategy is to have one player at each. I'm not demanding that the DH be abolished everywhere in the universe and those who favor it be put to death by lethal injection. I'm just stating my opinion that the world would be a better place without it. Yes, I hate it. Hate hate hate.
   14. PreservedFish Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4669005)
#13 - I was mostly being silly. Although it is true that in many arguments the midde-grounders get shouted out of the room pretty quickly.
   15. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4669006)
Isn't more important that the AL add a second DH so that Jeter can hit for Brenden Ryan?

Or just remove all DH limits and stop forcing players into the unnatural act of fielding AND hitting within the same game? Apparently beer league softball is a better game than baseball, and will be until we tweak MLB rules to add the excitement of lineups full of barrel chested hitters waddling the bases with all the nobility of limited mobility. Jason Kubel could play till he's 50!
   16. Baldrick Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:22 PM (#4669013)
I don't get the viewpoint that the "middle ground" is always "thoughtful and reasonable" whereas being on one end or the other of an issue is not. Frequently the "middle ground" is worse than either of the "extreme" points of view. For example in doubles tennis the best strategy is to have both players at net. The second best is to have both players at the baseline. The worst strategy is to have one player at each. I'm not demanding that the DH be abolished everywhere in the universe and those who favor it be put to death by lethal injection. I'm just stating my opinion that the world would be a better place without it. Yes, I hate it. Hate hate hate.

The middle ground is certainly NOT always the most reasonable position.

On this issue, it is though.

And honestly, I can't really remember reading many vigorous 'DH or bust' people in these threads. Perhaps it's an overgeneralization, but it seems to me that most such threads are people advancing the argument in favor of different rules, or arguing about the economics which drive the DH (without necessarily endorsing that position) aligned against the semi-religious fervor of people who think the DH is among the worst things in the world.
   17. Textbook Editor Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4669022)
My guess--and it's just a guess--is that should the NL ever adopt the DH, fans would basically get over it in about 15-20 years (roughly a generation). The fans of the NL teams that embraced/had success with the DH after its implementation would be the first to be grudgingly OK with it, followed by the others. 30 years out from the adoption of the DH, very few people would be left who would complain.

And, of course, I believe the DH is technically "optional," right? In that--should they choose to do so--AL teams are more than welcome to let their pitcher hit. So any NL team that was fundamentally opposed to the idea of the DH could simply choose to let the pitcher continue to hit. [/kidding]

I suspect it would take much more AL dominance over the NL for the rule to actually ever change--like the AL winning 65% of interleague games (in all parks) over a good number of years, or winning 15 straight World Series or something like that--otherwise I don't see any reason the NL teams would want to increase their payrolls to add on 15 real DHs instead of a AAAA OF/UI-type.
   18. Astroenteritis Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4669030)
No, because the DH is horseshit.


That's pretty much how I feel, but I've gotten somewhat used to the AL having the DH over the years since its inception. It probably bugs me more now that the Astros are in the AL. However, the DH is likely of more use to a team like Houston in helping to give major league "tryout" ABs to guys like Chris Carter. Eventually I may only despise the DH, rather than hate it with a passion.
   19. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 10, 2014 at 12:58 PM (#4669041)
Putting limits on the DH to find a middle ground is probably the only way to standardize it across leagues..

One example is to apply it to a specific player, instead of a position. When the player comes out, your DH is also done for the day. That wouldn't directly affect much, since when your starter is done its typically pinch hitting time anyways, but it makes late innings more NL like, and reduces value of DH. It also adds to value of good hitting starters. If you have a starter who can hit a little, esp. if he has a handedness advantage that day vs. the other starter, you can DH for your light hitting shortstop instead and get 3-4 PAs for your DH instead of just two.

So I like this kind of approach, because it still provides for managerial strategies, and rewards good athletes instead of specialists. I don't want pitchers devolving any more closer to NFL kickers.

I'd prefer a more extreme approach, where a manager can DH once per game for one AB, like a super PH opportunity. The player being DHd for can stay in the game, and the DH can come back in the game, either as a position player or one time as a regular pinch hitter. That way managers can essentially PH for their starter once Ina critical spot, but the starter still has to hit once or twice a game. He can't just be a somnolent sedentary arm that never has to run or swing a bat, spending most of the game disengaged on a bench.
   20. Gaelan Posted: March 10, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4669045)
Like most here I like the diversity of the status quo.

What I particularly dislike is the dishonest arguments in favour of the DH and the idea that all pitchers are terrible hitters and all DH's are David Ortiz.

On most teams in the AL the DH is an utterly forgettable fourth outfield type player. The DH doesn't give you more at-bats of David Ortiz, it gives you more at-bats from Nate Mclouth.

It's also patently false that all pitchers are terrible hitters. A pitcher who can hit is a joy to watch because it shows the athletes in their full plenitude of their skills. Wainwright is a good example.

Baseball is not a specialization contest. The more it becomes one the less interesting of a sport it becomes. This is the natural law of baseball.
   21. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: March 10, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4669052)
We are in the final years of pitchers batting. Prep yourself. They have taken everything else, it's the final nail into the coffin of the baseball if my youth.
   22. SoCalDemon Posted: March 10, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4669064)
Oh, they could always keep adding nails. You could have 9 DHs and 9 entirely defensive players, like in football. While I think that would be pretty terrible in the regular season, I'd actually like to see something like that in the all-star game; if it is entirely meaningless anyway, I'd rather watch awesome offense AND awesome defense.
   23. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 10, 2014 at 02:28 PM (#4669084)
I prefer the DH, but it doesn't bother me much if baseball is played without it. That doesn't make for a very interesting internet post, as this post demonstrates.

Setting aside my own petty preferences, I'm surprised the DH hasn't come to the NL yet and there's no particular movement to make it so. The number of people who strongly prefer no DH is still large enough that no one wants to fight them over it.

My own anecdotal impression is that, like a lot of political holy wars, one side (pro-DH) has a significant majority of supporters, while the other (anti-DH) has fewer but much more vehement supporters.

Five years ago I'd have told you I expect the DH to come to the NL before 2020. Today I still think it will inevitably happen, but may still be fifteen or twenty years off.
   24. Long Time Listener, First Time Caller Posted: March 10, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4669091)
Having Phil Rogers on your side for a sports issue is a lot like having Michael Moore on your side for a political issue
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: March 10, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4669095)
I'm of the mind that the DH is coming to the NL eventually, but many on here like to remind me, that people have been saying that for 30+ years and it hasn't happened yet.

One example is to apply it to a specific player, instead of a position. When the player comes out, your DH is also done for the day. That wouldn't directly affect much, since when your starter is done its typically pinch hitting time anyways, but it makes late innings more NL like, and reduces value of DH. It also adds to value of good hitting starters. If you have a starter who can hit a little, esp. if he has a handedness advantage that day vs. the other starter, you can DH for your light hitting shortstop instead and get 3-4 PAs for your DH instead of just two.


I like that. It will never happen of course, but I think it's a genuine middle ground solution that will probably placate most of the naysayers. (occasionally you will have an ineffective starter that gets knocked out in the first inning or two, that might lead to some complaints, but overall it would be one of those solutions that few a completely happy with, but happy enough)

   26. Walt Davis Posted: March 10, 2014 at 03:48 PM (#4669134)
I like the DH in the NL and no DH in the AL ... just to be contrary.

Maybe we can alternate by year, with David Ortiz floating between leagues.
   27. Sunday silence Posted: March 10, 2014 at 03:54 PM (#4669139)
Isnt the solution to all of this for managers just to get more creative with how they construct rosters?

I mean given that we know see the value of 12 pitchers out of 25. That limits the position players to say 13.

But if say you have a pitcher or two who can hit (as some claims upthread) then wouldnt it be an advantage to start using that guy as a PH/loogy or PH/spot reliever?

Or say you have a guy like Ankiel who pitches and can field; well let's pretend he can pitch. So a guy like that might be really valuable to use to stick in LF for an inning, bring him into face someone, then put him back in LF.

I'd say that before we see the DH in the NL we might see more creative use of guys like this.

Or maybe not because I think the very act of pitching (overhand motion) often throws you off when you try to bat (underhand motion). I think this is probably why its so difficult to both in the same game. I tried that once in little league I couldnt bat at all after pitching.
   28. cardsfanboy Posted: March 10, 2014 at 04:03 PM (#4669145)

But if say you have a pitcher or two who can hit (as some claims upthread) then wouldnt it be an advantage to start using that guy as a PH/loogy or PH/spot reliever?

Or say you have a guy like Ankiel who pitches and can field; well let's pretend he can pitch. So a guy like that might be really valuable to use to stick in LF for an inning, bring him into face someone, then put him back in LF.

I'd say that before we see the DH in the NL we might see more creative use of guys like this.


Brooks Kieschnick never really caught on.

I keep hoping that the days of old will will happen and that starting pitchers are used as relievers on their throw day. You can then have 5 starting pitcher (each one is a reliever on their third day) and reduce one of your relief pitchers to have another lineup spot.

It's not going to happen of course, but I don't really see a problem with it.

(of course I'm all for the radical idea of having a 28 man roster....or a 25 man roster with a 3 man 'non-dress' roster per series....so my course of actions on this is much different than most people)
   29. Cat Named Manny Posted: March 10, 2014 at 04:06 PM (#4669146)
This story has been circulating for a while, so maybe everyone here knows it already, but it's worth bringing up, if only to point out how arbitrary the rules difference really is:

According to Giles, in the mid ’70s after the American League had introduced the DH, the National League met to decide whether they too would use it. There were 12 teams in the league at the time and a simple majority vote was all that was needed for passage. Six teams were for it. Four were against it. The final two teams to vote were the Phillies and Pirates, bitter rivals at the time.

The Phillies knew the Pirates would vote however they voted. Phillies owner Rudy Carpenter wanted the DH. His reasoning was simple, they had Greg Luzinski in left and a youngster named Keith Moreland pressing for playing time. Both were good hitters, not so good in the field. So Giles was sent to the meetings with the instructions to vote for the DH.

Carpenter goes fishing. When the measure comes up for a vote, a slight change was made saying that the DH would not go into effect for at least a year. The change made Giles pause. He wanted to contact his boss and ask if this changed his position on the DH. But it’s the 1970s. Tracking someone down who has gone fishing was next to impossible. So Giles (and the Phillies) abstained. The Pirates, following orders, did as well. The vote for the DH was 6-4-2.

Giles figured the next time they met, the owners would take up the matter and with eight teams wanting it, eventually the DH would become a part of the National League game. The owners never brought it to a vote again.


One vote, and it turned on a fishing trip. Otherwise, we'd be well into our fourth decade with a sport-wide designated hitter, and I doubt anyone would be complaining about it (I certainly don't hear many AL fans pining for the days when pitchers used to hit).
   30. Ulysses S. Fairsmith Posted: March 10, 2014 at 04:06 PM (#4669148)
. . . good hitting starters . . .


These things do not exist.
   31. cardsfanboy Posted: March 10, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4669158)
These things do not exist.


Micah Owings had a case as one for a while.
   32. Karl from NY Posted: March 10, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4669165)
It's also patently false that all pitchers are terrible hitters.

This. The DH robs you of so many cool things. Like when a pitcher does get a hit, especially for extra bases or an RBI. Or even just a picturesque perfect bunt. Two-way players like Owings and Kieschnick, who'd never work on their hitting if pitchers never batted. Double switches and other fun oddities - anyone remember the Mets-Cards 20-inning game where TLR managed his way into the pitcher's spot "protecting" Pujols for ten innings?

There's plenty of aesthetic appeal in pitchers batting. The DH addicts are too barbaric to notice and can't hear us over a creaky Ortiz clubbing another baby seal home run.
   33. Cleveland (need new name) fan Posted: March 10, 2014 at 05:24 PM (#4669182)
No, having different rules in one sports league doesn't make any sense. Applying this to baseball seems to be an after the fact rationalization.

If having different rules is so popular, why don't we ever see anyone argue that the NBA should have one conference adopt the Olympic or NCAA rules or that the NFL should have one conference using Canadian football field lengths. The one team sport that I am aware of other than baseball which had such a rules issues eventually split into two different leagues (Rugby League and Rugby Union). So can anyone posting in this thread about the joys of having multiple rule sets in one league give examples of changes that the NBA, NFL etc can make in a single conference that would increase the enjoyment from watching that sport.
   34. Baldrick Posted: March 10, 2014 at 05:38 PM (#4669190)
If having different rules is so popular, why don't we ever see anyone argue that the NBA should have one conference adopt the Olympic or NCAA rules or that the NFL should have one conference using Canadian football field lengths. The one team sport that I am aware of other than baseball which had such a rules issues eventually split into two different leagues (Rugby League and Rugby Union). So can anyone posting in this thread about the joys of having multiple rule sets in one league give examples of changes that the NBA, NFL etc can make in a single conference that would increase the enjoyment from watching that sport.

Those would be cool!

But really, most of those examples are about rule changes that would radically affect the style of play - not just WHO plays. Forcing people to adapt their styles to different regimes is very different from creating slightly different models for sorting out who is on the field.

That said, the various soccer leagues around the world absolutely have different interpretations of the rules if not explicitly distinct rules. The way refs call the game in England is quite different from Italy, for example. And the old NASL definitely experimented with different rules, which was neat.
   35. Cat Named Manny Posted: March 10, 2014 at 05:43 PM (#4669194)
The DH robs you of so many cool things. Like when a pitcher does get a hit, especially for extra bases or an RBI. Or even just a picturesque perfect bunt. Two-way players like Owings and Kieschnick, who'd never work on their hitting if pitchers never batted. Double switches and other fun oddities - anyone remember the Mets-Cards 20-inning game where TLR managed his way into the pitcher's spot "protecting" Pujols for ten innings?


I've read this three times, and I honestly can't tell if this is serious or not.

These things do not exist.


Exactly. Wes Ferrell is as good a candidate as any for best-hitting pitcher of all time, and his OPS+ is 100. When that's your ceiling, it's pretty clear there's no such thing as a "good-hitting starter."

And, true, not all DHs are David Ortiz, but that seems like something of a strawman. DHs as a whole in the major leagues did have a tOPS+ of 103 in 2013, compared to pitchers' -6. In raw OPS terms, DHs hit 400 points better than pitchers. I mean, pitchers' OPS was .333, just 10 points better than DHs' on-base percentage alone. I'd think that would be a significant difference in value from 11 percent of your lineup, but maybe I'm missing something obvious. It's been a while since I really delved into statistics on a regular basis, and I'm a little rusty.

I'm (obviously) partial to the DH, but if the NL wants to continue handicapping its teams (and I'm not making a claim as to how much that handicap is, but its existence seems pretty obvious) by making pitchers bat, I'm not going to force them to do otherwise. I just find arguments based on anything other than history or tradition to be a bit underwhelming.
   36. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 10, 2014 at 05:52 PM (#4669198)
Putting limits on the DH to find a middle ground is probably the only way to standardize it across leagues.


You can make a sandwich that's half chicken salad and half chicken #### if you want, but I'm not going to be in any hurry to take a bite.
   37. cardsfanboy Posted: March 10, 2014 at 05:52 PM (#4669200)
I'm (obviously) partial to the DH, but if the NL wants to continue handicapping its teams (and I'm not making a claim as to how much that handicap is, but its existence seems pretty obvious) by making pitchers bat, I'm not going to force them to do otherwise. I just find arguments based on anything other than history or tradition to be a bit underwhelming.


I think the primary argument against the DH is not history or tradition, but the fact that there is no reason to have a dh. You have nine players, you have nine batters. The only logical arguments is 1. they should all be the same player on both offense and defense or 2. there should be a separate defensive team and separate offensive teams. The "half" measure of just having the pitcher replaced is non-sensical from a strictly logical point of view.

I mean the argument you are presenting is that DH's hit better than pitchers... well DH's hit better than shortstops also, so lets replace them, etc. Outside of "I like to see good hitters hit and not bad hitters hit" there isn't much argument for the DH, and I find that argument to be underwhelming.

Mind you, I'm fine with the current setup. I'm also fine with the eventual day that the NL goes to the DH, I just find the argument "DH's hit better than pitchers" to be about the weakest argument in favor of something ever.
   38. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 10, 2014 at 06:04 PM (#4669203)
I'm (obviously) partial to the DH, but if the NL wants to continue handicapping its teams (and I'm not making a claim as to how much that handicap is, but its existence seems pretty obvious)


It is not obvious. In fact, I don't believe it exists at all. I have not seen any evidence the competitive advantage the AL has enjoyed over the last 10 years is the byproduct of the existence of the DH, nor is there a logical reason to believe that to be the case.

   39. Srul Itza Posted: March 10, 2014 at 06:05 PM (#4669204)
No, having different rules in one sports league doesn't make any sense.


Differences were actually not uncommon, once.

The AFL always had the two point conversion. The NFL didn't, when they first started playing the Super Bowl.

The ABA had the three point shot when the NBA didn't.

The AL and NL had difference umpire crews using different equipment, leading to the AL being the "high strike" league.

Some folks value tradition. Some are too young to remember that there ever were traditions.

   40. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 10, 2014 at 06:07 PM (#4669205)

If the anti-DH people were consistent, they'd demand a rule forbidding non-pitchers from pinch-hitting for the pitcher. That they don't shows how the whole debate is mostly tribal silliness.
   41. Cat Named Manny Posted: March 10, 2014 at 06:09 PM (#4669206)
Well, I was responding specifically to the argument claiming that supporters of the DH act as if there are no good-hitting starters and every DH is David Ortiz, implying that the difference is not as extreme as all that, and in fact the difference is really extreme.

That said, there's a pretty big difference in talent level between shortstop and pitcher. Shortstops had a 91 tOPS+ in 2013. I think there's a pretty wide gap between -6 and 93 through which to draw a line without resorting to maximalist arguments about letting a DH replace any traditionally poor-hitting position. Heck, we could even make a rule – "If the OPS+ of any position falls below 50 for three consecutive years, teams may replace their representative from that position with a designated hitter for his turn in the lineup" – and it would only ever apply to pitchers. Also, the best-hitting shortstops of all time (Wagner, Rodriguez, Ripken) blow the best-hitting pitchers of all time out of the water.

But you make some good points. It's a weird half-measure where one of the nine players on the diamond does not bat in the lineup. On the other hand, I don't see any evidence that even the best-hitting pitchers are rewarded for being great hitters, in which case it seems like the baseball world has already accepted what the rulebook for half the game has not: that pitchers are not actually expected to contribute any value once they step off the mound. I'm not sure I'd want to risk the future of my ace starter at the plate or on the basepaths performing an activity no one expects him to perform competently in the first place. Maybe that's not how it should be, but it's how it is.
   42. cardsfanboy Posted: March 10, 2014 at 06:12 PM (#4669209)
It is not obvious. In fact, I don't believe it exists at all. I have not seen any evidence the competitive advantage the AL has enjoyed over the last 10 years is the byproduct of the existence of the DH, nor is there a logical reason to believe that to be the case.


The only way that there is a competitive advantage to the DH, is if a team is willing to develop/pay for a DH hitter like Ortiz AND maintain the same salary structure for every other player. I do believe that the better teams in the AL do this, but not all teams.

(I also think with the addition of the Astros, that the competitive advantage in the AL has been mostly wiped out) (right now the best argument for the discrepency in quality in the leagues is that the high paying teams in the AL are much more competently run than the high paying teams in the NL)
   43. Srul Itza Posted: March 10, 2014 at 06:15 PM (#4669211)
if the NL wants to continue handicapping its teams (and I'm not making a claim as to how much that handicap is)


It's such a bad handicap, that they've only gone 7-6 in the last 13 World Series. It looks worse before that, largely due to the Yankee juggernaut. Whatever issues existed in the past, though, the NL seems to have overcome them.

As to Interleague play -- who cares?
   44. Walt Davis Posted: March 10, 2014 at 06:16 PM (#4669212)
Brooks Kieschnick never really caught on.

I know we see a parade of horrible relievers every year but I think Kieschnick (and Owings) can't catch on as pitcher/hitters because teams aren't willing to burn their last bullpen spot on guys who really can't pitch very well. We think "he's the guy in the back-end of the pen, use him to mop up, get some pinch-hits." But, for a 12-man staff, teams still need to average about 70 IP per reliever slot; if that guy is on the team the whole year (and you're carrying a 40-50 IP LOOGY too), that guy needs to pick up about 70 innings of relief. Kieschnick's just not good enough for that.

Now if he could hit/field/be versatile enough to legitimately hold a regular bench position job and soak up 20 pointless innings a year without embarrassment, then I think you've got a useful player for the 13th position player slot.

Sorry, maybe not clear. I think a Kieschnick type seems to make lots of sense in theory ... yet nobody's been able to pull it off in a long time. So there should be a reason it doesn't work.
   45. cardsfanboy Posted: March 10, 2014 at 06:18 PM (#4669213)
That said, there's a pretty big difference in talent level between shortstop and pitcher. Shortstops had a 91 tOPS+ in 2013. I think there's a pretty wide gap between -6 and 93 through which to draw a line without resorting to maximalist arguments about letting a DH replace any traditionally poor-hitting position. Heck, we could even make a rule – "If the OPS+ of any position falls below 50 for three consecutive years, teams may replace their representative from that position with a designated hitter for his turn in the lineup" – and it would only ever apply to pitchers. Also, the best-hitting shortstops of all time (Wagner, Rodriguez, Ripken) blow the best-hitting pitchers of all time out of the water.


And with that being said, it boils down to the argument that "we prefer to see better hitters hit.(or we prefer to see major league quality hitters hit, which is probably more accurate)" Which is fine in it's self, but it's not any stronger argument than trumping out the historical argument, it's just a different argument.

   46. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: March 10, 2014 at 06:43 PM (#4669229)
I like the DH in the AL, and no DH in the NL.....I feel like this is usually a minority opinion on these threads.


Really? I reckon most of us like it the way it is. Though the DH is a relatively new change to MLB compared to the overall age of the professional league, there is some inherent tradition there as it's been 40+ years and now it feels "right" somehow. Then again I loathe interleague play so count me in the quasi traditionalists camp. I'm nearly 50 and can't really remember the AL without the DH, so it feels "traditional" to me.

Many of the arguments here for all DH or no DH can be quite convincing and as a lover of cricket, I like to see all the guys on the field eventually bat, no matter how poor. In saying that it is very satisfying watching a Papi or Edgar go about their business with the stick in the manner that a hired gun will accomplish their assigned task; without watching try to field a position. Though saying that, Papi seems to do ok whenever assigned this task in very limited opportunities.

If I had to make a "gun to the head" decision though, I'd probably make pitchers bat as the traditionalist in me doesn't really like the migration towards a homogenous league.

Now get the f*ck off my lawn!
   47. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: March 10, 2014 at 06:50 PM (#4669232)
It is not obvious. In fact, I don't believe it exists at all. I have not seen any evidence the competitive advantage the AL has enjoyed over the last 10 years is the byproduct of the existence of the DH, nor is there a logical reason to believe that to be the case.

Last I checked, the AL's home-field advantage in interleague play (which is where you would expect any DH advantage to show up) was slightly smaller than home-field advantage in non-interleague games. It's been at least a couple years since I looked, though.
   48. Kiko Sakata Posted: March 10, 2014 at 06:59 PM (#4669236)
If the anti-DH people were consistent, they'd demand a rule forbidding non-pitchers from pinch-hitting for the pitcher. That they don't shows how the whole debate is mostly tribal silliness.


No, the pro-DH side is the side that divides the baseball world into "pitchers" and "non-pitchers". The anti-DH position is that there is one class of "baseball players" who should all be capable of contributing in all facets of the game as necessary.
   49. zack Posted: March 10, 2014 at 07:18 PM (#4669243)

Would you guys rather have a DH, or just have the lineup be the 8 fielders? I think I'd lean toward the latter, save for the fact that 27 is not a multiple of 8. That really only matters in perfect games, though, so only like 25 times a year.

My own anecdotal impression is that, like a lot of political holy wars, one side (pro-DH) has a significant majority of supporters, while the other (anti-DH) has fewer but much more vehement supporters.


Anti-DH is only more vehement because they're in real danger of losing their choice soon. The pro-DH crowd have no such worries.
   50. Morty Causa Posted: March 10, 2014 at 07:33 PM (#4669247)
I'd like to see some experimentation in the pre-season.
   51. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 10, 2014 at 08:09 PM (#4669253)
Would you guys rather have a DH, or just have the lineup be the 8 fielders? I think I'd lean toward the latter, save for the fact that 27 is not a multiple of 8. That really only matters in perfect games, though, so only like 25 times a year.


That will never happen, since it would violate the sanctity of counting stat records.
   52. Howie Menckel Posted: March 10, 2014 at 08:17 PM (#4669255)

Mike Leake is a .251-hitting pitcher for his career, with AVGs from rookie year on of .333, .200, .295, .180. So he's streaky.

63 career OPS+, and his 2014 Topps card is an action shot of him batting, not pitching

these same Cardinals gave 448 PA to a 54 OPS+ SS last year in Pete Kozma. Did anyone want to see HIM hit?

:)

   53. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 10, 2014 at 08:19 PM (#4669258)
I think I'd lean toward the latter, save for the fact that 27 is not a multiple of 8.



That will never happen, since it would violate the sanctity of counting stat records.

I don't care too much about the counting stats, but I would hate to see an 8-man lineup. I love baseball's balance - 3 outs, nine batters, nine innings. Each guy is guaranteed three trips (and only three trips) to the plate.* If you make the last out of the sixth, you need someone to get on to get up again in the ninth.

That balance and order is a crucial part of baseball's exquisite, almost perfect, construction. I would hate to see its removal from the game.

* OK, you're not guaranteed three trips in a home win or a rain-shortened contest, but the former is extraordinarily rare and the latter is a perfectly understandable, if unsatisfying, exception.

   54. CrosbyBird Posted: March 10, 2014 at 08:21 PM (#4669259)
If the anti-DH people were consistent, they'd demand a rule forbidding non-pitchers from pinch-hitting for the pitcher. That they don't shows how the whole debate is mostly tribal silliness.

That's really silly, because as Kiko says, it creates an artificial dichotomy between pitchers and non-pitchers, which is precisely what the DH does. I primarily hate watching the DH for three reasons, but I freely admit they are all aesthetic.

1) A non-DH league feels like "9 hitter/fielders" while the DH-league feels like "8 hitter/fielders, 1 hitter, 1 fielder." One is not intrinsically better than the other, but one is more symmetric.

2) The DH has a small, but significant, negative effect on strategy. There are some situations that are very close to 50-50 (pinch hit or keep the pitcher in), and I find the after-the-fact discussions to be interesting. Roster management is a bit more difficult because you use up both relief pitchers and pinch-hitters in the late and extra innings, and that extra difficulty is more interesting as well.

3) Low-scoring games are more interesting to me than high-scoring games, and the DH increases offense.

People could argue that the added joy of watching a more competent hitter outweighs all of the above, but people also eat mayonnaise, so I'll never completely understand everyone.

Anti-DH is only more vehement because they're in real danger of losing their choice soon. The pro-DH crowd have no such worries.

In the past, as an NL fan, I practically never needed to see it or worry about it. If the Mets were using a DH, it meant they made the World Series, and I could live with that. Now I see the Mets use a DH every year.
   55. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 10, 2014 at 08:26 PM (#4669262)
No, the pro-DH side is the side that divides the baseball world into "pitchers" and "non-pitchers". The anti-DH position is that there is one class of "baseball players" who should all be capable of contributing in all facets of the game as necessary.

Unless you're claiming the average anti-DH fan expects Joey Votto to pitch on at least a semi-regular basis, this seems like an inaccurate characterization of the two sides.

NL teams typically utilize a de facto DH multiple times per game (with non-pitcher pinch hitters), with zero outcry from the alleged anti-DH purists.

***
That's really silly, because as Kiko says, it creates an artificial dichotomy between pitchers and non-pitchers, which is precisely what the DH does.

Yes, and so do NL managers, who utilize non-pitcher pinch hitters about 99 percent of the time when they pinch-hit for the pitcher.
   56. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 10, 2014 at 08:31 PM (#4669264)

NL teams typically utilize a de facto DH multiple times per game (with non-pitcher pinch hitters), with zero outcry from the alleged anti-DH purists.


This is ridiculous. A pinch-hitter is not a DH. He comes into the game to bat, at which point the pitcher is removed from the game. When it's time to take the field, the pinch-hitter is removed (or someone else is) in order for the new pitcher to enter. The rules governing pinch-hitters for the pitcher in the NL are the exact same as they are for all substitutions on the baseball diamond, which is why there's "zero outcry."

The rules governing the DH are not the same as you'd find anywhere else on the diamond.

This singular exception is what offends the alleged anti-DH purists.

Why this is difficult to understand is perplexing.

   57. CrosbyBird Posted: March 10, 2014 at 08:34 PM (#4669266)
Yes, and so do NL managers, who utilize non-pitcher pinch hitters about 99 percent of the time when they pinch-hit for the pitcher.

They're just "players." It's no different that pinch-hitting for your starting SS with a player that can't field the position, forcing you to replace him in the next half-inning (burning two players). Nothing stops that pinch-hitter from pitching, and in fact, until you replace him, he IS the pitcher.
   58. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 10, 2014 at 08:48 PM (#4669268)
This is ridiculous. A pinch-hitter is not a DH. He comes into the game to bat, at which point the pitcher is removed from the game. When it's time to take the field, the pinch-hitter is removed (or someone else is) in order for the new pitcher to enter. The rules governing pinch-hitters for the pitcher in the NL are the exact same as they are for all substitutions on the baseball diamond, which is why there's "zero outcry."

Yes, the pitcher is removed for a hitter, and then the hitter is removed for a new pitcher — or, exactly the same as the "divid[ing] the baseball world into 'pitchers' and non-pitchers,'" about which Kiko, et al., complained above.

***
They're just "players." It's no different that pinch-hitting for your starting SS with a player that can't field the position, forcing you to replace him in the next half-inning (burning two players). Nothing stops that pinch-hitter from pitching, and in fact, until you replace him, he IS the pitcher.

And you called my position "really silly"? What percentage of "players" do you believe could pitch, let alone are expected by their NL managers to be able to pitch (i.e., in a world in which all baseball players are just "players")?

Like it or not, baseball players were long ago divided into "pitchers" and "non-pitchers," which we see in just about every NL game in which a pitcher doesn't throw a complete game.

The anti-DH people are putting way too much emphasis on the nomenclature — DH vs. PH — while ignoring that a non-pitcher PH has essentially if not exactly the same on-field role/impact as a DH.
   59. Morty Causa Posted: March 10, 2014 at 08:55 PM (#4669272)
Yes, the reason for the DH, which became more increasingly undeniably more obvious with time, is that the pitcher became the original designated player. And it still applies now more than ever.
   60. Eddo Posted: March 10, 2014 at 09:01 PM (#4669275)
Nothing stops that pinch-hitter from pitching, and in fact, until you replace him, he IS the pitcher.

This is one of the arguments I really have no strong opinion on (I only "prefer" the DH since I follow the AL more closely), but I don't think this statement is true. Otherwise, you'd see a good amount of pitching wins attributed to non-pitchers every year.
   61. McCoy Posted: March 10, 2014 at 09:04 PM (#4669276)
Switched the NL to a DH league in OOTP when I had 3 first basemen who were rated 78 to 80. My DH has won the RoY award and has been a 3 time MVP. Love the DH in OOTP. Makes things so much easier. Nothing is worse than having to change 4 lineups when a player goes down with an injury.
   62. cardsfanboy Posted: March 10, 2014 at 09:16 PM (#4669279)
My own anecdotal impression is that, like a lot of political holy wars, one side (pro-DH) has a significant majority of supporters, while the other (anti-DH) has fewer but much more vehement supporters.


That is the exact opposite of what I have seen. I guess it really depends if you come from a NL city or AL city, but if you ask 100 casual St Louis fans which they support, I would be shocked if you could find 15 who support the DH.

I'd like to see some experimentation in the pre-season.


I will continue to argue that the second game in interleague play should be played by the visitor rules. Considering that Bud supports this, it's a surprise that after 5 years of talking about it(Stark talked about this a while back with Bud) that it still hasn't happened.

these same Cardinals gave 448 PA to a 54 OPS+ SS last year in Pete Kozma. Did anyone want to see HIM hit?

Nobody who is a fan of the Nationals did. :)

This is one of the arguments I really have no strong opinion on (I only "prefer" the DH since I follow the AL more closely), but I don't think this statement is true. Otherwise, you'd see a good amount of pitching wins attributed to non-pitchers every year


Correct, technically he's a pinch hitter until he goes out to the field. If the team was losing and took the lead for good in the inning the pinch hitter appeared, the win would go to the last person to "pitch". And as you pointed out, that means the guy pinch hitting is technically not the pitcher.


I will state, the more this thread goes on, the more I like the idea proposed at the top of the thread. Let's have the DH represent one particular player, if that player leaves the game, then the DH has to leave also. I like this proposed rule a lot.
   63. bjhanke Posted: March 10, 2014 at 10:45 PM (#4669306)
It's worth mentioning that the Cardinals' problem here is partially their own work. They knew at the end of the season that they had Matt Adams and Allen Craig on the same roster. But they were more willing to try to get Craig to play RF than to let go of a player who can hit like that and is still cheap. Adams is there because he's really cheap. No one really thinks that Craig will be a GOOD defensive RF. So, this is not entirely the result of the DH rule disparity. - Brock Hanke
   64. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 10, 2014 at 11:14 PM (#4669317)
Switched the NL to a DH league in OOTP when I had 3 first basemen who were rated 78 to 80. My DH has won the RoY award and has been a 3 time MVP. Love the DH in OOTP. Makes things so much easier. Nothing is worse than having to change 4 lineups when a player goes down with an injury.


I did the same thing for the same reason (the annoyance with changing four lineups part, not the having too many Hall of Fame first basemen part).
   65. boteman is here Posted: March 10, 2014 at 11:25 PM (#4669320)
these same Cardinals gave 448 PA to a 54 OPS+ SS last year in Pete Kozma. Did anyone want to see HIM hit?

I won't wade too deep into the DH discussion other than to say

FÜCK PETE KOZMA!!
   66. just plain joe Posted: March 11, 2014 at 08:40 AM (#4669379)
these same Cardinals gave 448 PA to a 54 OPS+ SS last year in Pete Kozma. Did anyone want to see HIM hit?


Mike Matheny would not be displeased if Kozma had the occasional base hit.
   67. Barnaby Jones Posted: March 11, 2014 at 10:55 AM (#4669461)
If the anti-DH people were consistent, they'd demand a rule forbidding non-pitchers from pinch-hitting for the pitcher.


This is dumb, and you knew it was dumb when you wrote it.
   68. Rusty Priske Posted: March 11, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4669469)
I much prefer AL games to NL games and the DH is a big part of it.


BUT, put me in the camp of NOT adding it to the NL. I like that the leagues are slightly different.
   69. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 11, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4669588)
The anti-DH people are putting way too much emphasis on the nomenclature — DH vs. PH — while ignoring that a non-pitcher PH has essentially if not exactly the same on-field role/impact as a DH.]


You are really confused by pinch hitters. There is no PH position, a pinch hitter is just a substitute player who is obligated to take the field unless he also is replaced.

There IS an actual DH position. They are never obligated to take the field, in fact, the are forbidden from pitching or fielding a position.

Pinch hitting is what baseball should be. No artificial positions for specialists, just ball players treated equally, whatever their limits and warts.
   70. Jay Z Posted: March 11, 2014 at 02:09 PM (#4669618)
The DH/anti-DH argument is passe at this point. It's been superseded by the parade of one inning relievers. Every team, NL and AL, uses substantially the same pitcher usage pattern. Now I think the one inning reliever parade is an optimal strategy; it's also a boring strategy.

Long relievers are a thing of the past. No matter how bad the starter is getting pounded, he's going to pitch his innings because the staffs are set up that way now.

When every team is using the same boring strategy as a route to victory, perhaps it's time to shake up the game somehow. Perfection is boring. I like the change in college basketball this year, removing the hand check, because it produces more plays around the basket instead of endless three point shooting.
   71. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 11, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4669633)
This is dumb, and you knew it was dumb when you wrote it.

Nope. "Dumb" is the tribal outrage at the DH while cheering non-pitcher PHs.

***
You are really confused by pinch hitters. There is no PH position, a pinch hitter is just a substitute player who is obligated to take the field unless he also is replaced.

There IS an actual DH position. They are never obligated to take the field, in fact, the are forbidden from pitching or fielding a position.

I'm not "confused" at all. You, on the other hand, just did exactly what I said anti-DH types do.

The idea that pinch-hitting Joey Votto for Aroldis Chapman is exactly the same thing as pinch-hitting Raul Ibanez for A-Rod is absurd. In the latter case, a hitter is hitting for another hitter, roughly akin to bringing in a lefty reliever to face a lefty. In the former case, however, a hitter is hitting for a non-hitter. Call it what you want; the net on-field, offensive effect of a non-pitcher PH in the NL is roughly if not exactly the same as the AL DH.

Pinch hitting is what baseball should be. No artificial positions for specialists, just ball players treated equally, whatever their limits and warts.

LOL. "Ballplayers treated equally," "whatever their limits and warts," is an argument against non-pitcher PHs. (And PH was often a "specialist" position long before the DH arrived in 1973.)
   72. CrosbyBird Posted: March 11, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4669638)
It's been superseded by the parade of one inning relievers. Every team, NL and AL, uses substantially the same pitcher usage pattern. Now I think the one inning reliever parade is an optimal strategy; it's also a boring strategy.

I don't think it's an optimal strategy at all, especially with the regular reservation of the best reliever for the 9th inning.

Baseball is incredibly conservative in strategy changes, though. You would think teams that are already all but out of the postseason before the season starts would be experimenting with different things: four man rotations, six man rotations, long relief, etc.
   73. PreservedFish Posted: March 11, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4669642)
I am curious about the baseball of pure specialization, just as a thought experiment. If you completely removed the need for any hitting ability at all, how much better would the standard of fielding get? Would a solid fielder like Jay Bruce be good enough to ever play in the field? There might only be a handful of two-way players, guys like young Ken Griffey Jr. Or would you bench Mike Trout to preserve his health?
   74. cardsfanboy Posted: March 11, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4669654)
The idea that pinch-hitting Joey Votto for Aroldis Chapman is exactly the same thing as pinch-hitting Raul Ibanez for A-Rod is absurd. In the latter case, a hitter is hitting for another hitter, roughly akin to bringing in a lefty reliever to face a lefty. In the former case, however, a hitter is hitting for a non-hitter. Call it what you want; the net on-field, offensive effect of a non-pitcher PH in the NL is roughly if not exactly the same as the AL DH.




A pinch hitter is a conscious decision to sacrifice a bench bat for ONE plate appearance. A DH is a non-decision that sacrfices nothing. There is zero similarity to it.

   75. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 11, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4669678)
A pinch hitter is a conscious decision to sacrifice a bench bat for ONE plate appearance. A DH is a non-decision that sacrfices nothing. There is zero similarity to it.

Zero similarity?

In the NL, one or more of those bench bats typically exist almost exclusively to PH for a P. A non-pitcher PH is a difference in name, but hardly a difference in kind.
   76. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 11, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4669686)
Zero similarity?


You are right here. There is a similarity between a PH and a DH in terms of their function.

There is a significant difference between a PH and a DH in terms of how they can be deployed (and, correspondingly, how the pitcher can be used).

Ignoring the latter, which you've consistently done since Post 40, is in fact, quite dumb.

   77. cardsfanboy Posted: March 11, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4669702)
Zero similarity?

In the NL, one or more of those bench bats typically exist almost exclusively to PH for a P. A non-pitcher PH is a difference in name, but hardly a difference in kind.


I'll stick with zero similarity.

A dh is a position in which a player is chosen to be the designated batter for a fielding position, in which the player at that position will remain in the game in the field. (in the majors, that position is only allowed to be the pitcher positions, at other levels that rule isn't always required to be a pitcher)

A Ph is another player taking over a spot in the lineup at the time of that players at bat. The player being pinched hit for is removed from the game. The pinch hitter is now one of the nine lineup spots in the field when it comes time for the team to go out to the field(in which he might be replaced by another guy, but at that point in time he cannot reappear in the game)

   78. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 11, 2014 at 03:42 PM (#4669706)
There is a significant difference between a PH and a DH in terms of how they can be deployed (and, correspondingly, how the pitcher can be used).

Ignoring the latter, which you've consistently done since Post 40, is in fact, quite dumb.

I believe decisions about pitcher/hitter match-ups tend to be more important than the "Do I or don't I pinch-hit for the pitcher?" decisions in the NL. The former is underrated and the latter overrated. (Likewise, double-switches aren't exactly rocket science, either.)
   79. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 11, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4669711)
I'll stick with zero similarity.

A dh is a position in which a player is chosen to be the designated batter for a fielding position, in which the player at that position will remain in the game in the field. (in the majors, that position is only allowed to be the pitcher positions, at other levels that rule isn't always required to be a pitcher)

A Ph is another player taking over a spot in the lineup at the time of that players at bat. The player being pinched hit for is removed from the game. The pinch hitter is now one of the nine lineup spots in the field when it comes time for the team to go out to the field(in which he might be replaced by another guy, but at that point in time he cannot reappear in the game)

Strange that so much focus/emphasis is placed on the PH coming out of the game rather than on his role when he's in the game.

Also strange how the anti-DH types gloss over the fact that a PH who hits for the P and then comes out of the game is just as much a "specialist" as those dreaded AL DHs.
   80. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 11, 2014 at 03:47 PM (#4669713)
I believe decisions about pitcher/hitter match-ups tend to be more important than the "Do I or don't I pinch-hit for the pitcher?" decisions in the NL. The former is underrated and the latter overrated. (Likewise, double-switches aren't exactly rocket science, either.)


Good for you.

It still doesn't keep Post 40 from being dumb.

   81. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 11, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4669718)
Good for you.

It still doesn't keep Post 40 from being dumb.

Call it dumb all you want. Doesn't make the anti-DH tribalists any more consistent.

NL teams generally play without a DH until around the 6th inning, and then both teams deploy a bunch of de facto DHs. It's a difference in name, not of role or effect.
   82. cardsfanboy Posted: March 11, 2014 at 03:54 PM (#4669720)
Strange that so much focus/emphasis is placed on the PH coming out of the game rather than on his role when he's in the game.


Because part of the game is about roster management. You have a 25 man roster and it's a tactical decision to decide when you are going to use those bullets.

It would be like if you were in the NFL and we are talking about using time outs but not talking about the number remaining. It's a big part of the decision making process.

Also strange how the anti-DH types gloss over the fact that a PH who hits for the P and then comes out of the game is just as much a "specialist" as those dreaded AL DHs.


Strawman argument. Nobody has ever in the history of anti/pro dh arguments talked about specialist. It's about a 9 position players batting for themselves. That is all. You can have a specialist relief pitcher, runner, etc... but that means removing a player for another player. A DH doesn't do any of that.
   83. Baldrick Posted: March 11, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4669721)
I am curious about the baseball of pure specialization, just as a thought experiment. If you completely removed the need for any hitting ability at all, how much better would the standard of fielding get? Would a solid fielder like Jay Bruce be good enough to ever play in the field? There might only be a handful of two-way players, guys like young Ken Griffey Jr. Or would you bench Mike Trout to preserve his health?

If playing defense as well as Mike Trout (while having no ability to hit major league pitching) could earn you a couple million dollars a year, there would certainly be dozens (and I would actually guess more like hundreds) of people capable of taking the job.

I can't really see the point of ever playing a two-way guy in that hypothetical world. The minor gains that could be possible just wouldn't be worth the injury risk.

   84. cardsfanboy Posted: March 11, 2014 at 03:56 PM (#4669723)
Call it dumb all you want. Doesn't make the anti-DH tribalists any more consistent.


There is literally one Anti-DH argument put out there, the rest is just extraneous crap.

and the argument is.

There are nine position players, those players should have to play offense and defense.

That is it. No other argument exists or needs to exists, because that is the entire argument. If you want to talk about your personal fetish with specialists, then you need to argue against a 25 man roster and not about the DH.
   85. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 11, 2014 at 04:00 PM (#4669728)
Because part of the game is about roster management. You have a 25 man roster and it's a tactical decision to decide when you are going to use those bullets.

Yes, and as I just said, such decisions tend to be very overrated by the anti-DH types.

Strawman argument. Nobody has ever in the history of anti/pro dh arguments talked about specialist. It's about a 9 position players batting for themselves. That is all. You can have a specialist relief pitcher, runner, etc... but that means removing a player for another player. A DH doesn't do any of that.

Strawman? The word "specialist" was used right in this thread, and others (oddly) complained about the sport being divided into "pitchers" and "non-pitchers" (as if that isn't just as true in the NL as it is in the AL).
   86. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 11, 2014 at 04:03 PM (#4669731)
There is literally one Anti-DH argument put out there, the rest is just extraneous crap.

and the argument is.

There are nine position players, those players should have to play offense and defense.

This goes right to the heart of my #40, which people keep saying was "dumb."

If you really believe the above, you'd be outraged that hundreds of NL relief pitchers have never logged a plate appearance.

That is it. No other argument exists or needs to exists, because that is the entire argument. If you want to talk about your personal fetish with specialists, then you need to argue against a 25 man roster and not about the DH.

I have no "personal fetish with specialists." Not sure where you're getting this. I'm pro-DH and have no problem with NL managers using non-pitcher PHs. I've simply been discussing the inconsistency of the anti-DH people's position.
   87. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 11, 2014 at 04:06 PM (#4669733)

Call it dumb all you want. Doesn't make the anti-DH tribalists any more consistent.


NL fans believe baseball is played by nine individuals at a time, each expected to perform in an offensive defensive capacity (regardless of ability). If it is determined that a team does not want to use a player on one side or another, such as a pitcher at the plate, that pitcher must be removed from the game in order to use someone with a better set of skills. Similarly, to reinsert a pitcher back into the game, that hitter (or someone else) must be removed from the contest. But at all times, the game is played by nine men per side.

There is a cost associated with employing a professional hitter in place of your pitcher. It is a cost that is not present in DH ball. You can keep spouting your difference in name nonsense all you want, but you can't escape this simple truth.

You're free to not care about the distinction. A lot of AL fans don't.

But your continued assertion that there's something inconsistent about the NL fans' views on the PH vis-a-vis the DH is simply foolish.
   88. cardsfanboy Posted: March 11, 2014 at 04:06 PM (#4669734)
I really hope you aren't seriously this dense.

A pinch hitter replaces, a designated hitter doesn't.

   89. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 11, 2014 at 04:10 PM (#4669740)
I really hope you aren't seriously this dense.

A pinch hitter replaces, a designated hitter doesn't.

LOL. You think I don't understand that? My point is those PH decisions and the double-switches aren't remotely the rocket science that anti-DH types tend to think they are.

"We're down 2-1 in the 8th, the pitcher's spot leads off the next inning, and we have six relief pitchers and a bench full of guys who actually know which end of the bat to hold. Gee, what should we do?"
   90. CrosbyBird Posted: March 11, 2014 at 04:12 PM (#4669743)
In the NL, one or more of those bench bats typically exist almost exclusively to PH for a P. A non-pitcher PH is a difference in name, but hardly a difference in kind.

The idea that you get to hit for the pitcher while still using the pitcher moving forward with the DH makes it a difference in kind. The fact that you don't then need to replace that hitter with a different pitcher moving forward also makes it a difference in kind.

With a 25-man roster, in the NL, you've got essentially 12 players to manipulate (because you've got 9 starters, plus 4 pitchers set to start the next 4 games). At least six of those slots will be pitchers and you'll have a backup catcher, so the bench gets really thin really quickly. If you need to give a player a day off but don't want to put him on the 15-day DL, your bench is even smaller.

In the AL, you've got a shorter bench because you have 10 starters but you have fewer of the so-called "automatic" pinch-hitting situations. You can make a defensive or platoon substitution without fear of using up a thin bench that you'd almost certainly need later.

I believe decisions about pitcher/hitter match-ups tend to be more important than the "Do I or don't I pinch-hit for the pitcher?" decisions in the NL. The former is underrated and the latter quite overrated. (Likewise, double-switches aren't exactly rocket science, either.)

We're talking about something on the order of one non-obvious decision* every five games with the starter, but that's still around 30 times in a season. Then you've got some interesting decisions when you're dealing with an extra inning game once in a while. I wouldn't say we're talking about an enormous number of decisions but we aren't talking about insignificant ones either.

I'm counting situations like "should I let my struggling starter finish this inning and then pinch-hit for him in the next half-inning, double-switch, or bring in a specialist reliever and pinch hit for him in the next half-inning?" as non-obvious.
   91. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 11, 2014 at 04:17 PM (#4669748)
NL fans believe baseball is played by nine individuals at a time, each expected to perform in an offensive defensive capacity (regardless of ability). If it is determined that a team does not want to use a player on one side or another, such as a pitcher at the plate, that pitcher must be removed from the game in order to use someone with a better set of skills. Similarly, to reinsert a pitcher back into the game, that hitter (or someone else) must be removed from the contest. But at all times, the game is played by nine men per side.

No, they don't believe that. Among other things, if they did, they'd be demanding that a PH who hits for the P be credited for a win in games in which the PH's team took the lead for good during the inning in which that PH hit for the P. Under the above "nine individuals" logic, how does it make sense for a player to get credited for winning a game he's no longer in?

But your continued assertion that there's something inconsistent about the NL fans' views on the PH vis-a-vis the DH is simply foolish.

Not foolish at all. A lot of religious types don't like it when their inconsistencies and hypocrisies are exposed. The DH debate is no different.
   92. cardsfanboy Posted: March 11, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4669753)
LOL. You think I don't understand that? My point is those PH decisions and the double-switches aren't remotely the rocket science that anti-DH types tend to think they are.


Not really calling it rocket science, saying that it's something completely different than a dh. Again, there is only one real argument against the DH, it's a logically sound argument. Now people might then talk about their personal preferences, the feel of the game etc... but ultimately the argument boils down to either logic or aesthetics.

Logic: every player on the field plays both defense and offense.
aesthetics: I don't want to see really crappy players bat.

Both are valid arguments, but only one is logical, the other is about personal preference.
   93. cardsfanboy Posted: March 11, 2014 at 04:25 PM (#4669762)
Not foolish at all. A lot of religious types don't like it when their inconsistencies and hypocrisies are exposed. The DH debate is no different.


The second you make a reasonable argument that exposes anything I don't think anybody would have a problem with it. So far you haven't presented anything that makes anyone think you are making a lick of sense.

DH and PH are absolutely 100% completely different jobs and non-similar unless you just don't have a functioning brain. A ph is a player replacing another player, which if you have a roster over 9 players makes sense. A DH is a guy replacing a function of another guy while keeping the other guy in the game. Other than them batting there is no similarity. If we are going to use that as an argument for a similarity, then on the same ridiculously stupid analogy scale that you are using, the pitcher batting for himself is similar to a dh...because the pitcher is batting.
   94. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 11, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4669765)
Logic: every player on the field plays both defense and offense.
aesthetics: I don't want to see really crappy players bat.

Both are valid arguments, but only one is logical, the other is about personal preference.

"Every player on the field plays both defense and offense"?

Hundreds and hundreds of NL relief pitchers have never logged a plate appearance.
   95. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 11, 2014 at 04:33 PM (#4669771)
DH and PH are absolutely 100% completely different jobs and non-similar unless you just don't have a functioning brain. A ph is a player replacing another player, which if you have a roster over 9 players makes sense. A DH is a guy replacing a function of another guy while keeping the other guy in the game. Other than them batting there is no similarity. If we are going to use that as an argument for a similarity, then on the same retarded analogy scale that you are using, the pitcher batting for himself is similar to a dh...because the pitcher is batting.

LOL. "Other than them batting there is no similarity"? Seriously? The key part of being a "designated hitter" or a "pinch hitter" is the hitter part, not this "replacing" business you're so hung up on.

The idea that NL teams forgoing the DH for the first ~6 innings of each game before deploying a litany of de facto DHs for the rest of the game is more pure than it is for AL teams to use the DH all game is very much "personal preference" [#92] rather than "logic."

If you like one better, fine, but until relief pitchers start grabbing bats a whole lot more often, the idea that NL baseball is more logical or more pure is silly.
   96. cardsfanboy Posted: March 11, 2014 at 04:33 PM (#4669772)
"Every player on the field plays both defense and offense"?

Hundreds and hundreds of NL relief pitchers have never logged a plate appearance.


Wow you are ####### dumb.

That is a function of 25 man rosters and the rules that allow you to replace players in game, if you want to have a problem with that, then take up that argument. It has nothing to do with the dh argument.
   97. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 11, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4669777)
Wow you are ####### dumb.

That is a function of 25 man rosters and the rules that allow you to replace players in game, if you want to have a problem with that, then take up that argument. It has nothing to do with the dh argument.

What do the rules and the roster size have to do with it? If it was understood that pitchers hitting was part of baseball, then NL tradition would call for pitchers to always hit, regardless of situation, roster size, rules, etc. That NL managers — and NL fans — have absolutely no problem with non-pitchers pinch-hitting for the pitcher puts the lie to the idea that in the NL, there are no "pitchers" and "non-pitchers" but, rather, only "players," as people tried claiming above.

The rules aren't forcing NL managers to use non-pitcher PHs in almost every NL game. Common sense is. The AL simply decided that common sense called for using actual hitters starting in the 1st inning rather than the ~6th.
   98. cardsfanboy Posted: March 11, 2014 at 04:41 PM (#4669778)
If you like one better, fine, but until relief pitchers start grabbing bats a whole lot more often, the idea that NL baseball is more logical or more pure is just silly.


Let's see, how to explain this to a person with the intelligence of an 8 year old who has never seen a baseball game (which is what I have to assume at this point in time)

Teams have a roster of 25 player. When a game starts, a manager choose 9 of these players to fill out a lineup card. At the same time, he assigns each of these players a position on the field. If some point during the game, the manager decides that one of the players is ineffective at his job for whatever reason, he can replace that guy. If the team is on the field, the replacement player takes the lineup spot of the guy that he was replaced for. The player removed from the game is no longer allowed to play again in that game. The manager can do this as much as he wants in the game (with one minor exception if he replaces the pitcher with a relief pitcher, that pitcher must pitch to one batter) as long as he has players to do this with. Some teams have discovered that it's best to take their team of 25 players and make some of them relievers. These guys will come in a pitch an inning, and then be replaced by a better bat when their turn to bat comes up.


This has zero to do with the DH. This is about roster construction.
   99. cardsfanboy Posted: March 11, 2014 at 04:44 PM (#4669780)
What do the rules and the roster size have to do with it? If it was understood that pitchers hitting was part of baseball, then NL tradition would call for pitchers to always hit, regardless of situation, roster size, rules, etc. That NL managers — and NL fans — have absolutely no problem with non-pitchers pinch-hitting for the pitcher puts the lie to the idea that in the NL, there are no "pitchers" and "non-pitchers" but, rather, only "players," as people tried claiming above.


Again, you keep pulling these strawman arguments out and acting like these are the real argument. When people talk of tradition, they are talking about personal preferences, and not an actual argument on the merits against the dh. Again, the argument against the dh is extremely simple (anyone with a brain should understand this...if you are a member of the tea party...it's too complicated)

The reason to not have a dh, is that you have 9 players and they both play offense and defense. If you want someone to bat for someone else, then remove that player from the game when it comes their time to bat.

All other comments about anti-DH is just talking about what they like. It's not a real argument, it's just sharing their personal preferences.
   100. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 11, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4669781)
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