OT: DH coming for NL?

Submitted by ScruffyTheJanitor on January 18th, 2016 at 9:18 AM

Per Cardinals GM Jon Mozeliak, there is an increasing (if not certain) sense that the DH could be coming to the National league as soon as 2017. Personally, I am for it. I would rather see professional hitters do the hitting and pitchers do the pitching.

I have never understood the argument that having a pitcher bat adds strategy; it would be like the NFL requiring QBs to also play linebacker or something. Makes zero sense to me. I would rather have uniform leagues, uniform rules, and have players do what they are the best at. 



January 18th, 2016 at 3:45 PM ^

Disagree, for two reasons:

1) the "yay offense!" reason. Sure, seeing a pitcher hit a ball hard is fun. And that happens maybe one of every 8 pitcher plate appearances...

2) the injury reason. If you are one type of athlete (very good at throwing a ball fast and accurately) then you don't have the muscles developed to hit well, and vis versa. Lots of risk for strains, pulls, and the dreaded oblique tear.

Can we at least wait until Bartolo Colon is retired. Watching that man try to hit is worth the price of my cable bill.


January 18th, 2016 at 9:27 AM ^

I know there are plenty of baseball traditionalsts out there who would like to see the DH stay out of the NL, but I personally can't stand it.  Pitchers make millions of dollars to throw a baseball, not walk up to the plate and flail around like a fish out of water.  The NFl doesn't ask kickers to play middle linebacker a few plays a game and the NHL doesn't ask goalies to play right wing on the third line for a period or two.  I hope they make this change ASAP.

Voltron Blue

January 18th, 2016 at 9:49 AM ^

I'm not saying I'm against the change, but these are bad analogies. The NFL doesn't require ANY players to be two way players, why would it require kickers to play middle linebacker? And in hockey, every player plays both offense and defense. Having a DH isn't like asking the goalie to play right wing...it's like subbing the goalie for a better skater on change of possession.


January 18th, 2016 at 12:06 PM ^

The NFL and all other levels of football certainly ask kickers to tackle on punts and kickoffs. They don't allow a designated tackler to run onto the field and make those plays. As an AL fan, I love having pitchers hit. For one thing, it means that teams end up using their bench players more. Also, it does add strategy to the game, both in making decisions about when to pull a pitcher for a reliever, or whether to walk the #8 hitter in the 6th or 7th inning to bring up the pitcher's spot. You miss a lot of that in AL games.

Mr. Yost

January 18th, 2016 at 9:28 AM ^

Good. Baseball has to modernize it's game and sticking to something "just because it's how we've always done it" is a stupid reason, IMO.

Have consistent rules and there's no reason for pitchers to be hitting in one league and not the other.

It would be so stupid if the AFC and NFC played under different rules in football.


January 18th, 2016 at 12:30 PM ^

played through college, and coach now...and I still hate that the leagues have different rules regarding the DH.  

As others have said, it is not having players play both ways or do multiple things, it is the inconsistency that is strange.  

It would be like if the Western Conference of the NBA allowed a team to select a designated foul shooter for one player, but the East did not.


January 18th, 2016 at 5:10 PM ^

I agree that "that's because we've always done it" is a stupid reason to stick with something. Fortunately, that's not the only reason those of us who dislike the DH don't want the NL to change. We enjoy the NL style better. You don't. That's fine. You have the AL.

I understand all the reasons people have for wanting the NL to adopt the DH, but "rule consistency" is one I don't understand. Why do the rules HAVE to be the same in each league? While I prefer NL-style ball, it's fun to see how my Cards would adapt their lineup with a DH. Saying that both leagues have to have the same rules because that's how other leagues do it is just as stupid as saying there shouldn't be a DH because that's how it's always been.

Two Hearted Ale

January 18th, 2016 at 5:36 PM ^

The DH rule is a significant advantage to AL teams who get to have over the hill hitters who couldn't otherwise play the field every day. The overall interleague record is 2,565-2,299 (.527, thatnks Wikipedia) in favore of the AL. In the history of interleague play the NL has only won the interleague series four times, the last time in 2003.

It doesn't make sense to handicap half your teams. There needs to be rule continuity and DH is more popular than no DH so that's probably the way to go.


January 18th, 2016 at 9:42 AM ^

I disagree....many of football rule changes are in the name of safety...and the peach basket, well thats just a lazy ass reference because you really dont have an argument to stand behind. The DH/no DH change is not for the sake of making the game better...it is simply to create change. Baseball to me is a classic sport that has held on to many of its origins and this seems unnecessary.


January 18th, 2016 at 11:10 AM ^

Not really....it was really to force them to actually play the game, because the Four Corners offense was starting to become a thing.  Eventually, pitchers will pitch the ball because their team can't win if they don't.  Basketball teams were starting to figure out they could get a lead early in the first half and then let the entire game bleed away.


January 18th, 2016 at 11:23 AM ^

Okay, give me a few decades to post youtube clips of every flat-out embarrassing performance of NL pitchers at the plate. Hell, it would take me years just to get every completely botched bunt job by a pitcher, or every at bat where the pitcher didn't even lift the bat off their shoulders, or every at bat where the pitcher actually managed a slow rolling pathetic grounder to short, and ran like a paraplegic tortoise and made it about 8 feet toward first before being thrown out.

Come on. Kershaw, Willis (back in the day) and Hampton (back in the day) could still take at bats if their manager wanted them to. Of course they wouldn't though.

snarling wolverine

January 18th, 2016 at 12:32 PM ^

No one disputes that pitchers are generally bad at hitting.  But for a lot of us that's just part of the game, kind of like how big men are usually bad free throw shooters and punters usually can't tackle in the open field.  

Having a group of players be bad at something doesn't necessarily make the game worse.  It can add drama.  When your center can't hit free throws, that forces your coach to make tough decisions about whether he should be in there at the end.  When your pitcher can't hit, the manager has to decide in the late innings whether or not to keep him in there or pinch hit.   

In the AL, if a pitcher is hot, you just leave him in, no questions asked.  But in the NL if the game's tied or you're behind, you have to decide whether it's worth it to pull him to get productivity out of the 9 spot in the order, or if that's too high a cost.  I like that added element of strategy.  

His Dudeness

January 18th, 2016 at 10:13 AM ^

Completely changes the dynamic of the game.

If you have an "automatic out" at the bottom of your line-up (which I would contend isn't the case) it forces you to utilize speed on the basepaths and manufacture runs more often. 

Speed is valued more in the NL than a guy like... Mo Vaughn, Adam Dunn, etc.

I enjoy the fact that there is a place in baseball for a player like Mo Vaughn, but that space should not be increased IMHO.

The NL (wihout the DH) is actually how baseball was meant to be played. If you aren't a fan of baseball that is fine, but please don't try to change the game to "make it more entertaining" when you aren't a fan to begin with. I love baseball. I love that you have the pure form (NL) and the "more entertaining" form (AL).

The strategy behind a dominant NL lineup is just as important and entertaining to baseball fans as the "wanna watch me hit some dingers?"  AL lineups are to  the casual fan. I like both and I dont want to see pure baseball changed because some casual fans want to make a gam e they dont understand and arent a fan of "more entertaining."


January 18th, 2016 at 10:55 AM ^

The strategy argument does not convince me.  Pitchers coming up to bat in a later innings almost forces a managers hand.  Its not really strategy if the manger doens't have a choice but to double switch.  

Futhermore, NL fans like to see speed on the basepaths.  That's fine.  Do they also like to see starting pitchers on the bench?  Its so frustrating to have a guy pitching a good game get taken out a full two innings earlier than he should because he's up with 2 men on in the 6th.

And Adam Dunn playe in the NL for years.  As did Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and tons of plodding home run hitters.  


Fortuantely there is an easy solution to this debate.  Let the NL play without the DH in NL vs. NL games.  All interleague and WS games will be played with the DH.  Problem solved.  


January 18th, 2016 at 12:39 PM ^

I feel like it gives NL teams an advantage.  AL rosters are constructed differently because of the DH.  I don't think its fair to take one of a team's best hitters out of the lineup because they are playing in an NL park.

Of course, NL teams are also disadvantaged when they go to an AL park, but its not the same.  They probably won't have a big bopper at DH like the AL team will have but its still better than a pitcher.  


January 18th, 2016 at 4:56 PM ^

I grew up watching Tony LaRussa manage the Cardinals. Believe me, the strategy argument is real. For those who grow up with the DH, it's easy to oversimplify the strategy as, "Pitchers up = bunt or pintch hit." It's far more complicated and nuanced than that (unless you have an idiot for a manager, which many teams do unfortunately).

As for pulling a pitcher when he's on a role. Just because it's the eighth inning doesn't mean you have to pull him. It's a risk-reward strategy where you balance the chance you score by using a pinch hitter and the chance you will give up more runs if you bring in the bullpen.

Also, managing your bench within the game becomes a much bigger deal in each game in the NL. Do you want to use your best pinch hitter in the 6th inning? Or do you want to use him in a later situation? 

I understand I'm not going to convert anyone, which is why the system is perfect as is. You don't like the DH? Welcome to the NL. You love the DH? The AL is perfect for you. Plus, you get a little taste of what the other side has to offer during inter-league play.

Mr. Yost

January 18th, 2016 at 11:13 AM ^

So if you prefer todays rules of football or basketball more...you're not a true fan of the game?

I get your point, but your argument is awful.

Changing the rules has nothing to do with allegiance to the sport. That's such a dumb rationale. I get the stuff about speed and how changing the rule would change the GAME. You're spot on there. But don't tell someone they're not a true fan just because they want to see a rule changed.

I wanted a 30 second shot clock in college basketball. I like the 3-point line. The forward pass in football, to me, is a GOOD thing.

Doesn't make me less of a basketball or football fan because I like the changes they've made to the sport. And it doesn't make you any more of a fan because you like the original rules to the game.

Mr. Yost

January 18th, 2016 at 11:18 AM ^

Another point you're completely missing because you're too emotional about it.

Some people (like me) don't care about the DH one way or the other...we just want to see it be the same in BOTH leagues.

So there are some that would be equally excited if you said "the DH is going away in the AL"...you're lumping everyone together like we're all making the same point.

My point, as I stated above, is simply that it's stupid (IMO) for two different leagues/divisions/conferences in the same sport to play under different rules. So if this is the way to make it consistent across the board...I'm all for it. If you want to eliminate the DH in the AL, I'd be for that too.

Now I personally like the DH...but I'd much prefer to see it be the same in both leagues, even if that meant getting rid of it in the AL.

So is the game "supposed to be played" with a DH in the AL now that it's been around for awhile? How does that work?


January 18th, 2016 at 5:17 PM ^

Why do they have to be the same? I think it makes the game stronger. Look at the conversation here. There are different segments of the fanbase that prefer different styles. By having the AL adopt the DH and keeping the NL "traditional", you are able to appeal to both factions of the fanbase. Furthermore, for those of us who prefer one, but don't hate the other, we get to have a little taste of what it's like in the other league. That doesn't seem stupid at all. That seems pretty damn smart.


January 18th, 2016 at 1:49 PM ^

the AL's adoption of the DH in 1969, baseball has been an essentially one-platoon sport, as was football until Fritz Crisler intiated the shift to the two-platoon system ca. 1945. Baseball has not made this transition despite the asymmetric and hybrid institution of the DH starting in 1969 in the AL only.

Otherwise, this aspect of baseball remains essentially the same it has been for the last 167 years. Perhaps this is just a holdover; it makes the professional game look more like the sport Americans grow up playing in the streets and in their back yards.

If the argument is that people don't want to watch adult professionals pretending to be amateurs, then why stop with the pitchers? Why should a terrific batter be held back because he can't throw or catch at any position. The ultimate reduction of your argument would be a complete two-platoon system such as there is in professional and college football (although, to my knowledge, not among 10-year-olds playing in their back yards and in the streets).

Why not basketball as well? Who wants to watch a magical 3-point shooter flounder on defense?