Thursday, July 17, 2008

Quick Thoughts on the DH

In the days leading up to the all-star game there was a lot of talk about how much better the AL is than the NL (both in terms of interleague, WS, and All-Star game records in the last 15 or so years). Much of it is attributed to the DH. The logic is with the DH the pitchers had to get better in the AL, which then forced the hitters to do likewise.

A lot of NL fans whine about how the NL is more pure and it involves more strategy. Do we take out the pitcher in a close game in later innings or keep him in? Who cares. First of all, pitchers hitting has become as gimmicky as the hotdog racing the popcorn at minor league stadiums. Oh look folks, the pitcher is trying to hit. Isn't he cute? Nobody wants to watch pitchers hit. Crappy hitting does not equal strategy, just a far less competitive league. That's my take, how about yours?


Fred Trigger said...

I think that sums up my thoughts exactly. I hate watching the pitcher hit. Its an automatic out, pretty much. Just like Lugo.

Fernando Alejandro said...

I wonder of Lugo is a nasty pitcher.

Fred Trigger said...

he's good when he keeps the ball down. Otherwise, it just sails over the catchers head and to the backstop, Ankiel style.

raven said...

At least Ankiel can hit.
The ball, not his wife.

raven said...

Pitchers can be good hitters.
C.C. got himself two homers this season, Roy Oswalt got two hits off Wang, and King Felix got a Grand Slam off Johan the Great.
It's so much fun to watch pitchers swing the bat with their eyes closed and honestly, hotdog racing the popcorn is quite a sight.
The thing bothers me is that pitchers may get hurt while running around the bases. So I'm 100 percent for "Designated Runner".

Fernando said...

I suppose it is fun watching the pitchers hit a homerun. But I'd rather see pitchers hit homerun hitters like they do in the AL.

bigjf said...

I couldn't agree more with your original point, Fernando.

Yes, you get the exceptions here and there, like Dontrelle Willis (who is a better hitter now than pitcher, maybe the Tigers should convert him into an outfielder), but for the most part having the pitcher hit basically creates an 8-man lineup.

It's not that I completely disagree with the "baseball purist," but the thing about baseball is the game is always evolving. There is a reason why the NL is the only league in all of the baseball world that doesn't use the DH. In the world of big contracts, role specialization, and the player's union, I'm shocked that the NL hasn't adopted the DH yet. I thought Wang hurting himself on the basepaths would be a catalyst (still might be), but then that damn Sabathia and King Felix had to go hitting dingers. Those pricks.

Sure, letting the pitcher hit involves strategy to the game that wouldn't be seen anymore. No more double switches? Oh no! But most managers in the game will tell you it's actually tougher to manage in the AL because they can't use the pitcher's spot in the lineup as an excuse for taking out a starting pitcher. In the AL, you have to pay attention to his stuff, his performance, how he's holding up, etc., as well as the situation. Is that not also strategy?

And for you baseball "purists," the ones who thought Jackie Robinson Day was a disgrace, there would still be hope that you'd see the pitcher's spot come up in the lineup on the rare occasion that the DH gets put into the field. Just like seeing Wade Boggs pitch in extra innings, you'd be glued to your TV.

One of the reasons I love baseball is because the game is not afraid to admit that it's not perfect. Take instant replay as an example. Maple bats as another. Baseball is not afraid of these discussions. I get the feeling the NL will have the DH before too long. Some folks won't like it, but they'll live with it. And I guarantee, when that first NL DH hits a home run, those purists will be cheering.