MLB needs a designated hitter
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Major League Baseball adopted the rule of the designated hitter [DH] in 1973. Ever since, the American League has been a higher scoring, more explosive league than the National League. Back in the 70s and even before, the two leagues were much more independent of each other than they are now. The two leagues never used to play each other until inter-league play became a part of the game in 1997 when the Texas Rangers hosted the San Francisco Giants in a regular season game.
Creating the designated hitter was a sign of how different the two leagues were. But now the leagues play each other and interleague play has expanded from one section of the season to all throughout the season. On any given day, there could be an interleague game taking place.
The only reason why the MLB still has the two leagues now is to have an All-Star Game, and to make sure each league has representation in the World Series. The part that does not make sense to me is why the two leagues essentially play by different rules if they are similar now in every other way.
Baseball has evolved to the point where high school pitchers are not even hitting anymore because they know they have to focus on one craft to give themselves the best shot to make it to college and so on. By the time these pitchers make it to the big leagues, most of them have given up entirely at hitting, giving them no chance against the average pitcher in the big leagues who throws over 90 miles per hour.
I, for one, do not understand why pitchers cannot also work on hitting, but I’m open to the fact that they just cannot hit at the pro level, which is why the DH should be an option in both leagues. What I mean by option is say a National or American League team has a pitcher they want in the lineup, they should be able to keep him in there if they want. But if their other four starters have been determined to be no good at the plate, then the DH should be an option for that club.
So why all the concern over one simple rule which only changes the lineup by one player making it the same in both leagues? The rule should not be changed because National League pitchers are getting injured as a result of swinging the bat. It should be changed for the sake of the game.
Kids today do not have the attention span to watch a game for three hours if they think it is boring. Putting the designated hitter rule into play would make the national league more fun to watch in the sense that now as a coach, you truly can roll out your best nine hitters and engage in a higher scoring affair.
I do not care about Adam Wainwright injuring himself while trying, but failing miserably, to create some kind of offense for his St. Louis Cardinals squad. That is not a reason why the game’s rules should be changed. Max Scherzer, a pitcher for the Washington Nationals, had this to say.
“If you look at it from the macro side, who’d people rather see hit—Big Papi or me?” Scherzer continued. “Who would people rather see, a real hitter hitting home runs or a pitcher swinging a wet newspaper? Both leagues need to be on the same set of rules.”
Scherzer is on to something, but both leagues should be allowed to hit a pitcher or a designated hitter if they choose. This is so that good hitting pitchers like Madison Bumgarner of the SF Giants can partake in the offense if their manager lets them. Bumgarner had this to say according to mercurynews.com.
“It’s a beautiful game to me the way it is,” he said. “That’s obviously the way baseball started and I’m a traditional guy. I’m not much for change. I know people argue both sides, but for me, from what I see, it’s a more challenging game. It’s more challenging for managers. There’s so much more that goes into it in the National League than, `Let ‘em pitch until they can’t get outs anymore.’”
Both pitchers have legitimate arguments and concerns when it comes to the designated hitter. But both leagues could benefit from a rule change; letting managers decide if they want to hit their pitcher, or a designated hitter, could add excitement to the game and incentive to young pitchers who like to hit as well.