The American League’s Designated Hitter rule

Discussion in 'Sports' started by Alcott, Jul 15, 2004.

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If you favor the Designated Hitter rule, what are your reasons?

  1. I am a fan of an American League team

    27.3%
  2. I prefer games with more scoring, as opposed to low-scoring pitching duals

    4.5%
  3. I hate to see a pitcher taken out just because he can’t hit

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Other sports have special rules by player position (like football has rules about hitting the QB tha

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. A good pitcher having to bat or run the bases is a target for injury by the opposing team

    4.5%
  6. I like the fact that a player can be a DH and still bat if he is incapable of playing the field

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. There is actually more strategy in a game <i>with</i> the DH rule than in a game without it

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. I rather like the 2 major leagues having this one major rule difference in their play

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  9. Other reason

    4.5%
  10. None of these—I am indifferent to the DH rule

    59.1%
  11. None of these—I <i>oppose</i> the DH rule

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Alcott

    Alcott
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    This is the 32nd year in which the American League has been under the Designated Hitter rule, where a hitter not playing a position in the field can bat for the pitcher. At the time this rule was adopted, there was sound reasoning behind it—the A.L. had less hitting and fewer star players than the N.L. and less attendance at its games. The DH rule did begin to rectify these things; so much so, in 1973, that the original rule— initially put in only as a “3 year experiment”—was made permanent after its first season. There were more hits, more homeruns, greater game attendance, and the effect of allowing some players, whose fielding skills had diminished, to continue their careers longer.

    But one of the main arguments against the rule was that it removes ‘strategy’ from the game by taking away a manager’s choice as to whether to keep a pitcher in the game, when batting skill, which the vast majority of pitchers did not have, was urgently needed. On the other hand, supporters of the rule contend that a pitcher who still has ‘good stuff’ should not have to be taken out of the game because of not having a skill that his position with the team is not evaluated upon in the first place. And even though the National League has continually refused to adopt the DH rule, all the minor leagues and most amateur leagues also use it. Thus, at first the A.L. was the anomaly, but for 30 years the N.L. has been.

    Today, however, are there still reasons to have the Designated Hitter rule? With the greater size and strength of today’s athletes, including baseball players, there is no lack of power hitting in either league-- though this is also largely because of expansion, meaning that pitching talent is much more diluted than when there were fewer teams. Fan attendance, as well as TV revenues and corporate sponsorships have made the money coming into sports astronomical compared to 30+ years ago. So, if there is no lack of offense and no lack of attendance and revenues, should the Designated Hitter rule be scrapped?

    Note: the last 4 questions are quizzes based upon the current major league statistics for this year as of this date.
     
  2. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    32 years?? Boy does THAT make me feel old!?
     
  3. WallyGator

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    Yup, C4K, is seems just like last year. Really, I don't think about it very much anymore, except, in World Series.
    Wally Gator [​IMG]
     
  4. Alcott

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    As there seems to be such limited interest in this subject, I will give the quiz answers now:

    How much higher is the AL batting average than the NL batting average?
    + .009... AL b.a. is .271; NL b.a. is .262.

    How many more runs per team has the AL scored than the NL?
    + 33; about 0.38 more runs per game... AL average is 4.92 runs per game; NL average is 4.54.

    How much higher is the AL E.R.A. than the NL E.R.A.?
    0.32... AL e.r.a. is 4.59; NL e.r.a. is 4.27.

    How many more homeruns per team has the AL hit than the NL?
    2.4... AL average is 95.4 per team; NL average is 93.1 per team.
    ~~~~~~
    The popular 'wisdom' for a long time (and it was very close to being true) was that "the D.H. adds 10 points to your team batting average and a half run to your team E.R.A." The recent figures have closed a little from that perception because of interleague play (16 games) and because of greater hitting power with stronger athletes, and less effective pitching, with so many teams now.

    My position on the D.H. is that I still support the rule, though not really as much as I used to. In 1968 the AL as a league batted .230, and the batting champion was Carl Yaztremski with a .301 average. An offensive showing like that today seems unbelievable. But it was in response to this that the pitcher's mound was lowered 6 inches, and the talk began of using a player who could bat in the pitcher's place, while the pitcher could stay in the game not having to bat. It took a few years, but finally there was enough support to make such a major rule change.

    I do think that by 2010-2015 there is going to be either a major league rule that make the game the same for either league (more likely abolishing the D.H. in the AL than of the NL adoping it), or else by that time interleague play will have ceased, so the only 'conflict' in the rules would again involve just the World Series and the All Star Game. The owners will probably try to keep interleague play (and maybe even expand it) because it does draw fan interest. The players and coaches do not like it very much because it forces them to scout and evaluate more teams and a lot more players.
     
  5. go2church

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    It doesn't matter if the AL numbers where lower, pitchers should hit and managers should have to manage rather then waiting for a poor fielding player to hit a bomb. Lou Pinella who managed the Red's to a championship and Seattle to the playoffs admitted that managing in the AL was easier then in the NL. End the DH and let's get back to real baseball! Do you really think Edgar Martinez or Rapheal Palmerio would still be around if they had to play the field everyday. Martinez wouldn't have lasted 5 years with his bad knees and Palmerio would have retired 5 years ago. Good guys but helped by the DH rule, without a doubt.
     
  6. Alcott

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    I can't find the site now, but a few days ago I read an article with quotes from 3 major league managers who say having the DH rule increases the strategical facet of managing. What they were referring to mostly was the situation of late in a tight game, with runner(s) on base and the pitcher coming to bat. In the large majority of such cases, there really is no strategy-- the move to pinch hit is automatic. The pitcher is removed without regard to whether it is logical to keep him in for the next batter, who he matches up well againt. But with the DH, the decision of when to change pitchers is not forced, so logic is carried out according to the matchups.

    Anyway, there seems to be a fan-pleasing novelty of seeing pitchers bat; similar to a football game where an offensive lineman scoops up a fumble and tries to run with it. That will get a fan reaction because he is doing something not within the normal description of his job, which he is probably too slow to do, and for which there would be greater acclamation than for those who normally carry the ball if he is successful. Fans tend to like rarities. So opponents of the DH don't care if the average pitcher has a .133 batting average; at least there is the possibility of a pitcher getting a big hit or a homerun, which would stimulate that anomolous applause.
     
  7. go2church

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    Baseball is baseball and hitting is part of baseball. In our era of speciality guys (three pitches every other day) we sorta get used to not seeing well rounded ball-players, which is unfortunate, the game is so much better when all aspects of the game are in play (so to speak). Those managers that said managing a game is harder with the DH are idiots! Are you kidding me? Torre is a great AL manager, but where did he play and first manage....that's right folks the NL. Where real men go to play ball!
     
  8. Alcott

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    "Baseball is baseball and hitting is part of baseball."

    And football is football, and tackling is part of football. But offensive players don't do it, unless they turn the ball over, and then they often look silly in trying. But they are not evaluated on their ability to play defense, so they are not required to play it or leave the game.

    Hockey is hockey, and scoring goals is part of hockey. But the goalie doesn't score any, and he doesn't even run with the offense unless the final seconds are winding down and the game will be lost if his team doesn't put everybody up to score the goal to tie.

    In baseball, the pitcher is even more a one-player force than a football quarterback or a hockey goalie. So it does make sense that he not be required to perform part of the game that his ability is not evaluated upon.

    "...the game is so much better when all aspects of the game are in play (so to speak)."

    "So to speak" is generally right in most pitchers trying to hit. Running the bases can be even worse, as most of them wear a jacket even in hot weather to keep their arm from cooling off.

    "NL. Where real men go to play ball!"

    Bah!humbug!
     
  9. Alcott

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    How about seeing this from the angle that the pitcher can hit a batter and in the AL and he [the pitcher] is not going to be hit when he is batting, as he doesn't bat? "Revenge" may come in the form of another opponent who bats. This question is spurred by the NY Yankess - Boston game of 7-24-04, also remembering their playoff series last year.

    And since this is a Baptist board, what about a Christian player -- I think there are a few-- taking part in the 'bean ball' game? or grabbing a hit batter who is going to attack your pitcher?

    I just read on another message board (about sports) one poster, in referencing yesterday's game, said that when he was in high school the 2 batters before him were hit by the pitcher and the catcher was calling for inside pitches. He yelled to the pitcher that if HE gets hit too that he is going to slam the catcher's legs with his bat, because he can not charge the mound and expect to reach the pitcher before someone grabs him or the pitcher cowers away. He was hit by a fastball near the head and he did what he said he would do, injuring the catcher, while he himself is mostly deaf in the ear near where he was hit.

    So what about the DH in relation to revenge, and a Christian's stand in this as a player or a fan?
     
  10. go2church

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    That is the wonderful thing about baseball, when played correctly everyone has to do everything! The DH takes that away.

    Stupidty on the part of a few doesn't justify ruining everything for everyone else.
     
  11. Alcott

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    That is the wonderful thing about baseball, when played correctly everyone has to do everything! The DH takes that away.

    Is that so? Have Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Todd Helton, ... had to pitch, or did they have Designated Pitchers?
     
  12. Pastor Larry

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    I think this is nonsense. There is no way it increases the strategies. I would imagine if you compare pinch hits ABs in the AL vs NL you will see a great difference. An NL manager has to decide whether or not to pull a pitcher with two outs when he has given up a couple of hits and will be the first, second, or third batter in the next inning. If he pulls him, brings a pitcher in for one batter, and then pinch hits, he was wasted two players. An AL manager doesn't even have to think about it. The NL manager is thinking double switches to get the pitcher to the 9th spot in the order. An AL manager doesn't have to worry about it.

    The DH is a travesty in baseball. It needs to be gotten rid of.
     
  13. robycop3

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    The rule has its pluses & minuses. It extended the careers of some players who didn't have enuff left to play in the field every day, such as Hank Aaron. But there are some pitchers who haven't forgotten how to hit. Don Gullett, Tony Cloninger, & Jim Palmer were three pitchers I remember being used as pinch-hitters.
     
  14. Alcott

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    If he pulls him, brings a pitcher in for one batter, and then pinch hits, he was wasted two players.

    Evidently you like for a pitcher to be jerked because he can't hit, which his value is not predicated upon in the first place. For me, if a pitcher is jerked, I want it to be because he can't pitch, the facet on which his value is predicated.

    But there are some pitchers who haven't forgotten how to hit. Don Gullett, Tony Cloninger, & Jim Palmer were three pitchers I remember being used as pinch-hitters.

    Jim Palmer had a career batting average of .174, with a high of .224 in 1972. Tony Cloninger had a career b.a. of .192, with a high of .241 (for a full season) in 1964. Don Gullett had a career b.a. of .194, with a high of .238 in 1974. So these were among the best hitting pitchers; therefore, if a team had run its roster and needed a pitcher to pinch hit, they were the probable choices. [Every team, including AL, has a pitcher who is first in line to come in to bat or run or play infield or outfield in an 'emergency' situation.]
     
  15. WallyGator

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    When it comes to "hitting" pitchers, what about Don Newcombe? The Dodgers used him to pinch hit quite often. Even today, theres Brooks K from Milwaukee, who pitches and pinch-hits. Personally, I enjoy seeing the pitcher get a hit, like yesterday, Milwaukee's pitcher was 0 for 20(26)or whatever and got his first major league hit [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  16. Alcott

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    Do you consider 0 for 20/26 a major league level performance?
     
  17. Pastor Larry

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    It is a part of the game. There are some players in baseball who are kept in teh lineup because their good fielding outweighs their bad batting. Some players are kept in the lineup because their good batting outweighs their bad fielding. You routinely have late inning defensive replacements, pinch hitters for regular batters. Why is it different for pitchers? Batting and playing the field are parts of the game.
     
  18. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Never have liked the rule, ever since it was conceived (I still can't beleive it was 32 years ago ;) ) I have disliked it. Have always been a NL fan so that just added to my feelings. I hate inter-league play and hate them moving teams from the AL to the NL.


    Now, can I tell you how I really feel about AL baseball ;) [​IMG] ?
     
  19. go2church

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    Designated pitcher...are you kidding? Bonds, Helton all play in the field and participate in all aspects of the game, namely fielding and throwing out runners and playing the infield. The DH is fan friendly but baseball poor.
     
  20. Alcott

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    They do not "participate in ALL aspects of the game" if they don't pitch. Pitching, in fact, is most of defensive baseball. A team with mediocre, at best, fielding will still likely win if they have excellent pitching-- consider many Dodger teams, especially of the 80's and early 90's. The idea that pitchers don't contribute enough to a game if they don't also step up to the plate and try to do an aspect of the game they can't afford to work on, just doesn't make sense.

    The DH is fan friendly but baseball poor.

    I'm not sure if that's true. Certainly many fans do support the DH, but those opposed seem more impassioned about their position, as this thread indicates. I think fans of AL teams generally support the rule because they are accustomed to it, and canceling it would be a major change; which is something always opposed. Still, some AL fans would like to see it changed. But NL fans are more solidly behind their current rule (it seems). And NL teams outnumber AL teams 16 to 14. So I don't think the DH is "fan friendly" overall. I also don't think it's "baseball poor."
     

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