There's been a lot of discussion on Twitter today about the designated hitter rule, and whether the National League would benefit from instituting it instead of having pitchers hit. The article that led to this discussion came from Yahoo writer Anna Hiatt - here's an excerpt from her article:
Don't pay attention to decades' worth of howling from baseball purists. The DH doesn't ruin America's national pastime. Forcing pitchers to hit is essentially just adhering to tradition for tradition's sake. When the AL succumbed to reason in 1973, the rule change — which takes pitchers out of the batting lineup and replaces them with a designated hitter who doesn't play in the field — did baseball a world of good. Batting averages rose. So did attendance. The games were far more exciting. Baseball became less a battle of managers and more a competition of athletes.
Craig Calcaterra of NBC Hardball Talk then responded, reluctantly in agreement:
Though I prefer pitchers batting, I don’t believe the National League’s rules in this regard are objectively better. Indeed, when I take my personal preferences out of the equation and look at the matter rationally, I cannot escape the logic of the DH in today’s game and the futility of pitchers batting.
The DH vs. pitcher-hit debate has been fought ever since 1973, the year in which the DH was adopted in the AL, so these arguments are certainly nothing new. But it's a fun discussion to have nonetheless.
Personally, I think both situations are less than ideal. I don't like the idea of a player who does nothing but hit, but I also don't like the idea of a spot in the lineup that is basically useless. I will love watching baseball regardless of the DH rule, but in the end I think it's best for both leagues to have the same rules.
Questions for Discussion:
- What is your personal preference? Do you enjoy the extra strategy that comes with pitchers having to hit, or do you prefer to see a DH in that spot?
- What option do you believe is best for baseball? Does the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", apply here? Or is it better in the long run for both leagues to have the same rules?