Friday, January 22, 2016

To DH or not to DH?

To DH or not to DH, that is the question facing Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred and the National League as we inch towards the owners meetings later this month. While there is no traction just yet and nothing seems imminent in the department of the National League adopting the DH like the American League the two sides are talking about it and that, in my opinion, is progress.

The St. Louis Cardinals GM John Mozeliak echoed these statements recently telling reporters that he has heard the discussion about the adoption of the DH more so in the last year than ever before in his time as the GM. That doesn’t necessarily mean he is in favor of it though as he quickly stated that he liked the way things were and honestly, I do too.

I will preface that statement with a small disclaimer. I prefer the DH and I do not find watching an automatic out come up to the plate four or five times a night, sometimes more if you’re 8th hitter is just there for defense, and I don’t think the whole “strategy behind the game” thing sells itself enough. How many times a night do you see a true situation where a strategy needs to be employed? Not as often as the traditional baseball and NL fans would like you to think.

Is there more strategy in the NL? Sure there is but that can be counterproductive. Sometimes you have to take out a pitcher prematurely because you’re down on the scoreboard while sometimes a pitcher is left in for too long simply because he’s pitching a nice game. Is the game more boring because of the pitcher’s hitting? In my opinion, yes it is. What draws more casual fans (because truth be told the hardcore fans are going to watch regardless) to the game, offense or 1-0 games that are won in the 8th inning by a suicide squeeze with a pinch hitter hitting for the pitcher? As exciting as that is many of the fair-weather or casual fans have already turned the game off and gone to bed by then anyway and don’t even get to see it.

Do I think the DH would be good for the NL? Absolutely. Do I think the DH should be pushed and forced on the NL? No, absolutely not. There are still pitchers that truly like to hit and managers that truly like the old school version of the game. Who am I, or anyway for that matter, to take that away from them? Do I think eventually it will come to a DH in both leagues if anything to boost offense, ratings and to protect the pitchers? Yes, absolutely I do. Maybe as soon as the next collective bargaining agreement.

It starts with discussions and it ends with action. The discussions are happening now as we speak. 


  1. How many players would have longer careers if there was a DH in the NL?

    Think about it, there have been many who become DH-only players, and instead of there being 32 teams with possible interest, that number is cut in half.

    1. I'm with you Bryan. I'm not old enough to remember the AL without a DH and the National League truly bores me without one. I love extending players careers at the DH position if they can hit.


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