Oh, the designated hitter.
One of those positions that people either love or hate and the opinions will differ as strongly as what those people think.
Personally, I’m a traditionalist. And being a fan of the Phillies and the National League, I think you can see where I am going with this.
I don’t like the designated hitter.
Look, in amateur sports or adult league softball – I have no issues. In some instances, it’s a great thing as it allows maximum participation. However, when you are getting paid to play the game …
Pitchers throughout time have hit for themselves. And they’ve done it well.
In 1973, that changed for the American League with the addition of Major League Baseball Rule 5.11, which allows teams to have one player (the designated hitter) to bat in place of the pitcher.
The DH has extended people’s careers. It probably got some people into the Hall of Fame, and it hurt other candidates by likely keeping them out. But it’s been a part of the game, that’s for sure. Alas, not everybody likes this rule.
I’m sure, eventually, the National League will adopt this rule as well. I can hope that it’s not something I will see.
The designated hitter prolongs careers. Take David Ortiz as one recent example. But it doesn’t mean it’s something one has to like.
These players are professionals being paid millions of dollars to play a game. There are a lot of pitchers who hit well and who love to hit. Others you can tell don’t love it at all.
But you are paid to play baseball.
As noted in Bull Durham, there are three aspects to the game – you hit the ball, you catch the ball, you throw the ball.
It’s time to stop worrying about getting rid of an intentional walk process to speed up games and start going back to the game how it used to be. Make the pitchers hit!
What say you on the DH? Yay or nay?