Designated Hitter

Discussion in 'Sports' started by ccrobinson, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. ccrobinson

    ccrobinson
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    Are you for, or against, the DH in baseball? I'm against it. Jayson Stark says it as well as anybody, including me.


    Jayson Stark, April 4th, 2003:
    "It's 30 years down the DH highway, and this rule makes even less sense now than it did in 1973 - if that's possible. Here are 5 reasons baseball should abolish this abomination now."

    1. Once, it was at least slightly intriguing to have two leagues playing the same sport using different rules. Now, with interleague play, it's not intriguing anymore. It's absurd.

    2. Let's take that one step further. The DH rule may have cost the Giants the World Series. This was a team constructed around its bullpen, not its spare bench parts. So Dusty Baker essentially had no DH. In fact, his Game 7 DH — Pedro Feliz — was a guy who had made it through the first six games without an at-bat. No other sport would tolerate a situation this farcical.

    3. The idea 30 years ago was that the DH would allow some beloved older hitters to extend their careers once they could no longer play the field. Whatever happened to that brainstorm? All these beloved older hitters DH'd Opening Day:
    Ken Harvey, Al Martin, Jeremy Giambi, Matt LeCroy and Josh Phelps. Face it: The DH is now just an excuse to be one-dimensional.

    4. The only reason to have a DH rule is that fans allegedly like more offense. Obviously, DHs are better hitters than pitchers. But how much more offense does this rule really generate? The average AL team scored one more run every three games than the average NL team last year (2002) — and got one more hit every four games. So we're talking about two extra runs a week. That'll pack 'em in, all right.


    5. Finally, the game is simply way more interesting without the DH than with it. Period. Ask any manager which is more strategically challenging — managing a game under NL rules or AL rules. It's no contest. It's baseball's cerebral side that separates it from all the other games ever invented. And the game is way more cerebral with no DH than with it. That's one thing that hasn't changed in 30 years — and never will.


    BTW, I think interleague play should be abolished as well.
     
  2. KenH

    KenH
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    1) Amen.

    2) Amen.
     
  3. TomVols

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    I am an NL guy all the way. Love the NL. Yet, I hate the abomination that we have there in not having the DH. I'm torn between debunking Stark's myths or setting out my own arguments for the DH. I'm limited on time right now and this is one of those discussions where rarely are minds changed because it's emotionally based.

    1. The DH isn't about more offense but protecting the pitchers. You can selectively pick stats here and there. So what?
    2. The AL is the better league than the NL by almost all accounts. Why? Buck Showalter points to the DH. In the AL, teams are made up of the 26 best players. In the NL, you have eight starters, some pitchers, and then situational pinch hitters to cover for pitchers not going the distance.
    3. The NL already has the DH...they're called pinch hitters.
    4. This idea that the NL is more strategic is a bromide. If a runner gets on first and the pitcher gets up, my unborn grandchildren know what the pitcher is about to do next. Where's the strategy? Where's the strategy when you have a RP coming up in the 7th inning? You know there's a wasted PH coming.
    5. Pitchers having to hit does not diminish the number of hit batsmen. The idea that the DH makes pitchers in the AL not fear reprisal is a myth. More batters are hit in the NL than the AL, and those guys who get plunked aren't Ps.
    6. Is there anything more audacious in the game than having a P weakly swing thrice, then laughingly walk back to the dugout? People go to the bathroom when pitchers get up to the plate. It's a mockery.
    7. As I stated earlier, the origins of the DH go back as far as the origins of baseball itself in pro form.
    8. 2 leagues on the planet have no DH. This time, the majority (the super-majority) may have it right.

    I have to leave it at that.
     
  4. TomVols

    TomVols
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    Dusty Baker cost the Giants the '02 WS. He couldn't manage his bench. He ran up against a better team, and his arms were given out. Mike outsmarted him.
     
  5. ccrobinson

    ccrobinson
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    You've got to be kidding me with this one.

    When did the DH come about protecting pitchers? It's always been about generating more offense. And the offensive statistic Stark cited isn't exactly a myth.


    So, you're for the DH because the AL has better teams than the NL? But, the reason for the AL having better teams is because of the DH. Circular argument.


    Q. If we call the tail a leg, how many legs does a horse have?
    A. 4, because a tail is not a leg.

    A Pinch Hitter is not a Designated Hitter.


    The majority of opinions from those who played and managed are that the NL offers more strategy. Believe it or don't.


    The evidence I've seen goes back to the early 20th century, not the origins of the game.

    Just because the anti-DH crowd is in the minority doesn't mean we're wrong.
     
  6. Salty

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  7. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    I confess some confusion here. Earlier you talked of "pitchers meekly and laughingly swing meaninglessly." That doesn't sound like protection. It sounds like mocking. It sounds like you want batters who don't "pitchers meekly and laughingly swing meaninglessly," which is an offensive argument.

    That's simply not true, but again, even if it were think of other sports. The NFL doesn't have the best players. It picks them by positions, as do every other sport. That's hardly a reasonable argument.

    Incorrect. There is a difference between a DH and a PH (besides the letter). A PH is a part of the game. The AL has them too.

    There is much more strategy in things like double switches, pinch-hitting your last catcher or your last player. Take an extra inning game. IN the AL it doesn't matter. In the NL you have to actually think about who bats and whether to bat a pitcher.

    Actually, some pitchers are decent hitters. And it's not a mockery any more than anything else is. In the game you have a lineup and those players have to play the game. There's nothing wrong with that.

    Should have stopped earlier, my friend. :D
     
  8. TomVols

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    I'm short on time but there are glaring inconsistencies I have to point out.

    You're right. Except for one thing: no one's making that argument. The argument is the AL is better and the main reason is the DH and the NL's lack thereof. Period. You extrapolated the ciruclar part. Really doesn't fit.
    I've read just the opposite, esp those who managed in both leagues.

    Those who say this are passive-aggressively making the point. No one talks about SS who are decent hitters, etc. The idea that P who hit is the exception shows that the position is non-offensive in application.

    I have much much more...but not enough time now. More to come, because you guys just keep throwing out myths :)

    BTW, on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being "implement the DH in the NL NOW!" I'm probably about a 3 or a 4. This isn't that big a deal to me. I just get a kick out of the types who think it's heresy...like they did the wild card, IL play, divisional series, etc. :laugh:
     
  9. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Sure they do.

    But if it isn't about offense, why does it matter?
     
  10. Alcott

    Alcott
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    My reason for supporting the DH has always been that a pitcher is not evaluated on his hitting ability. 2 NL pitchers can be equal in the pitching, but if one has a .200 batting average andh the other hits .050, it makes not the slightest difference in his role as starter or reliever, nor his salary, all-star or award status, or trade value. It's all because his complete evaluation is as a pitcher, totally unlike any other position. In hockey, a goalie isn't required to go down ice and help score goals; he is there only to prevent goals scored against his team. I see a pitcher's role the same way.

    As for strategy... if I were a National League manager, I would use some. If the other team's pitcher gets on base, I would instruct my team to slow the game down and keep him out there. If he were to hit an easy grounder, I would have my guys hesitate to give him a chance to make 1st, so maybe he would sprint and overexert something. If he gets 2 quick strikes at bat, I would have my pitcher 'waste' at least 2 just to force him to stay at bat longer, and maybe extend his pitcher arm out trying to hit it. If my team were not hitting against him at all, I might take more severe steps, like put him on base deliberately, not only to keep him out there, but for the chance of knocking him down or hitting him with the ball. My chances of winning would be better if I got rid of him in that game than if I just hoped to he would tire on the mound and I would score on him.
     
  11. Alcott

    Alcott
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    Old Pitcher at the Bat

    The outlook wasn't brilliant for the NL nine that day;
    The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
    And then when Catcher died at first, and Shortstop did the same,
    It was Old Pitcher's time to bat-- they've surely lost the game!

    For in the tightness of the fray, the players on the bench
    Had all been used or hurt that day-- none left to hit as pinch.
    Therefore the Pitcher had to bat, and this was none too nifty,
    For the best that he had ever hit was a minuscule one-fifty.

    "But what the heck?" said all the fans, "It's better than a zero;
    And somehow still he'll win this game-- he's always been our hero!"
    Well, maybe so, but they all need to really understand
    That the mound, and not the batter's box, is the seat of his command.

    The first pitch was a swinging strike; the second was a ball.
    The third another swing-and-miss-- his back's against the wall.
    So in his pitcher's mind he thought: "If our roles were reversed,
    I'd throw a fastball down the pike-- he'd pop it up at worst."

    So Pitcher stood up tall and mean, prepared to take the cut.
    His eyes said "Fire it down down the lane, you belly-scratchin' slut!"
    He looked like he would do just that-- Old Pitcher did observe--
    But the twisting motion of his hand meant an unexpected curve.

    Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
    The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light.
    Somewhere men are honored in their profession's high regard.
    But not the Pitcher on that day; he struck out by a yard.
     
  12. TomVols

    TomVols
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    I realize I left out a word from point 1 in my first post. The DH, despite the protestation of Mr. Stark, isn't entirely about offense, but also about protecting the Ps. Sorry about that.

    Again, I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this because there's rarely any light but lots of heat. I was once an avid anti-DHer and I had not one shred of evidence for my belief. Not one. Just wanted to cling to the past, to what I was used to as a Red and a lifelong NLer. I'm still somewhat that way with the DH, but there are more facts now and support for it. Baseball has become a game of accepted specializations (PH, PR, LR, SR, setups, save guys...the list goes on) and no one blinks in the NL save for the precious DH. It's what's done: if you play good offense, you're taken from the mound and put in the field. That says a ton. Todd Helton is a great example. As a P, he was a standout in the SEC and helped get the team to the College World Series. However, they discovered he had a great bat. A very great one. So they put him at a position. He's only one of about a thousand guys that happens to every year. Strausburg would be an OF if he could hit. Argue it if you want, if you've been in baseball one day you know it's the truth. Remember, the DH is optional in the AL, yet they use it every day. And the PH=DH? Remember when the DH was first introduced, it was called the DPH for...you guessed it....designated pinch hitter. For clarity and uniformity, the P was dropped.

    Alcott is right on both counts. As a former HS scout and having dealt with the MLB scouts, I know this for a fact. NL teams couldn't care less about batting. SPs will bat three or four times a week. They just don't care. The strategy myth is just that so no need to rehash that.

    And Stark needs to make up his mind here he cites where the ERAs and WHIPS are higher in the NL than the AL because there's better pitching in the AL, not better hitting in the NL, and how all else equal the AL hitters fare better against better P than their NL counterparts. Typical ESPN IMHO.

    Like I said, except for union, revenue or fan interest, we won't see the DH in the NL. Selig's too gutless and the homage to the hackneyed past will win out - until ESPN says otherwise. And to an extent I'm okay with that. It's not the biggest crime in the world. But if we do see it, we'll all get over it. Baseball is the greatest game in the world, and no way will a DH ever change that. If it can lessen it, it wasn't the grand ole game we thought.
     
  13. ccrobinson

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    Look at your own arguments before you start calling everybody else inconsistent.


    This isn't an argument that supports your pro-DH stance. It's a statement of fact that supports neither position. Your argument is that AL teams are better because of the DH, therefore you're in favor of the DH. If we add the DH to the NL teams, then the leagues are on a level playing field by comparison. If we take away the DH from the AL teams, then the AL teams have nothing that make them inherently better. The variable between leagues is the DH. You can't use the DH variable as support for your pro-DH position.


    Would you care to share some sources? I've got mine ready.


    No one? No one talks about Hanley Ramirez? Derek Jeter? Troy Tulowitzki? Jose Reyes? Did anyone talk about Nomar Garciaparra when he was good? How about Alex Rodriguez before he joined the Yankees?


    Let's not pretend that you've busted any myths here.


    Not necessarily. Rick Ankiel wasn't put in the field because he could hit. He was put in the field because he couldn't pitch. Carlos Zambrano can hit, but he still pitches.


    Again, let's not pretend that you busted any myth here.


    "The average fan comes to the park to see action, home runs. He doesn't come to see a one-, two-, three- or four-hit game. I can't think of anything more boring than to see a pitcher come up, when the average pitcher can't hit my grandmother. Let's have a permanent pinch-hitter for the pitcher." - A's Owner Charlie O. Finley

    "The DH was originally installed because American League owners thought attendance needed a boost — actually, what the American League needed was better owners — and they thought that more runs would lead to more fans." - Rob Neyer, ESPN.

    It's not now, nor has it ever been about protecting the pitchers. If it were about protecting pitchers, then why doesn't the NL protect their pitchers by not making them hit?

    Myth Busted.


    I don't know what you're talking about here. You're arguing against something that Stark says, but I don't know what he said to know what you're arguing against.
     
  14. Andy T.

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    Good point here. The best argument pro-DH is that the vast majority of pitchers are not professional hitters. MLB is about watching professionals. It is pathetic to see a guy go up there who hits .100. The AL and NL need to get on the same page with each other. If the NL wants to hang on to "no DH," then it needs to show that more than just a few token pitchers (like Zambrano) are actually professional hitters. You know what, that will never happen, because virtually every baseball league in America - college, minors, etc. has the DH and pitchers are never expected to be professional hitters. And it doesn't change when they enter the NL. And shame on the NL for not expecting their pitchers to be professional hitters.

    So you can complain all you want about the evils of the DH, but the fact is, it is now a part of baseball across the country, and the fact that the NL keeps sending up guys hitting .100 in a professional baseball game means the joke is on them.
     
    #14 Andy T., Jun 24, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2010

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