Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Why the National League needs the Designated Hitter

There is no one who's more of a baseball traditionalist than I am.

The history of our National Pastime is what sets baseball apart from other sports.

With that stated, it's time for big league baseball to implement the Designated  Hitter in both the American and National Leagues.

                          Awesome!  Daytona Tortugas batting turtle logo

42 years ago baseball started playing two separate games, one, with the new designated hitter in the American League, and one, by the National League, that continued to have pitchers hit in the batting order.

In 1973 the A. L. started allowing a designated batter to hit in place of the pitcher, trying to increase offense, and to allow some older players like Harmon Killebrew and Al Kaline to play a few more years.

Ron Blomberg of the New York Yankees became the first ever DH on April 6, 1973.

In 1989 the DH was allowed during All-Star games in A.L. ballparks only, and in 2010 MLB instituted the DH as a permanent part of every All-Star Game.

In 1976 the designated hitter made its debut in the World Series, with Dan Driessen of the Cincinnati Reds becoming the first DH in Series play.

In 1997 MLB started inter-league games, having A.L. and N.L. teams play each other in the regular season.

The A. L. uses the DH at home, their pitchers must hit in N.L. parks.

The DH needs to be adopted for use in the N.L., and it's real simple why.

It's unfair to the American League.

That's it.

That's the bottom line.

At no time, in any game, is the National League ever at a disadvantage when it comes to using the DH.


The A.L. pitchers have to hit in every N.L. ballpark, giving the N.L. teams the advantage because the A.L. pitchers are terrible   hitters.

But, when the N.L. teams go to the A.L. ballpark, the DH is used...therefore, the A.L. has lost any advantage it has.

The N.L. pitcher doesn't have to hit, allowing the manager of that team to insert a position player who can hit.

Advantage National League.

Every time.

In the World Series the rule is the same.

Ask any Tigers fan who's had to watch their pitchers hit in Interleague and World Series play if there should be a DH only rule in baseball.

Here's  a great great article on the DH and why the NL needs to get in line.

All the talk lately about keeping the game traditional is understandable, and I'd agree to keeping pitchers in the lineup, if that were plausible, which it is not.

The MLB Players Association will never allow a roster deletion of a player, because it will be eliminating a big league job, and a big league salary.

If the American League went back to allowing pitchers to hit, and teams added a extra roster spot, creating a even playing field, I'd be fine with that as well.

I doubt that scenario will ever happen.

The DH, once a gimmick to keep aging veterans in the lineups of the A.L. has produced some of the greatest hitters of the past 30 years.

Hitters like Dave Winfield, Reggie Jackson, Paul Molitor, Jim Thome, Frank Thomas, Edgar Martinez, and Harold Baines, have given American League fans many thrilling memories of gave winning base hits in big games.

The last time I was excited about a pitcher getting a base hit in a ballgame was when the Tigers Justin Verlander got a hit against the Padres... ending an 0-26 career mark of futility.

Its time for baseball to play with the exact same set of rules for all its players, coaches, and fans.

Play Ball!

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