Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The National League needs a Designated Hitter

Now, before you point out the proximity of this post to Wang's injury from Sunday, I want to say that I'm all for pitchers having to hit and the strategy that comes along with their spot in the lineup. But even so, the National League needs to add a DH.

However, I'd call it the Designated Fielder and apply it to both leagues. I may be running with an idea that I read a few years ago, but here is what I propose. Each team would select a designated hitter to hit for any fielder on their team EXCEPT for the pitcher. This would allow aging stars and unathletic sluggers to play until they are 45 while adding an exceptional defensive player who will make incredible plays in the field. These defensive specialists rarely crack Major League rosters since they can barely hit above their weight.

This plan would force pitchers to face retaliation for their chin music rather than the team's superstar and the combination of improved defense along with the pitcher batting would speed games along. All of the strategy involved with double switches would still be in effect and offenses would likely produce at a rate greater than the current National League average since a weak hitter would be replaced by an aging star. And to make sure the union is on board, I would raise the roster size to 26 players adding 30 new members to the MLBPA.

It's a plan that works for everyone. Fans get to see better baseball with lots of strategy, 30 new jobs get created, and pitchers will be more accustomed to batting or running the bases that injuries like Wang's will not occur as often.


DasNootz said...

Why not add trampolines to the warning track?

Good fielders are just good athletes in general. Basically you'd be creating the cornerback of the baseball field... the WR that can't catch a ball. Hitting is a fundamental part of playing baseball, and why I think they should do away with the DH.

joe said...

Fun idea but not for a sport steeped in tradition like baseball. I like things the way they are now, and I like that the leagues have different rules. Its part of the charm of the sport.

Michael in New York said...

Let's make one thing clear: the first choice for Pete and I -- and indeed the first choice for Five O'Clock Lightning (it's in the Constitution of the group, look it up) -- is to eliminate the DH. Period. We'd love it and prefer it and will vote for Bob Costas as hed of baseball so he can implement it. Ain't gonna happen, for the simple reason that the players won't allow the elimination of a roster spot -- especially one that brings in so much money for aging veterans. So you CAN'T eliminate the DH. Accept that fact. Can you make pitchers bat? Yep and Pete's come up with a great way to do it that the players would accept. This would also mean having pitchers bat in the minors, college and high school. They'd then be better athletes and better prepared for running the bases. There's nothing "traditional" about separate rules for American League and National League. For most of baseball's history, they were the same. Tradition says dumping the separate rules and dumping the DH or dumping the separate rules and adding the DH to National League parks (the likeliest scenario) OR embracing Pete's tradition-be-darned suggestion that, like wild cards, is heresy but has a lot to go for it. What do you think of it on its merits, as to what it would mean for the game, rather than simply rejecting it because it isn't the way things are?

joe said...

I didn't say its tradition for the leagues to have different rules, I just said I like it.

Oh, and Bob Costas is right behind Michael Kay on my list of arrogent smug know it alls that force me to change the channel. Frankly I'd rather have another 10 years of Bud Selig than 1 year of Costas.