Pitchers & Catchers Report to Ft. Myers

Monday, January 25, 2016

To DH Or Not To DH?

That is the question. For the National League anyway.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred recently said that NL owners are beginning to warm to the idea of making the designated hitter part of the rules of the road in their league, thus making it universal throughout MLB.

MLB has a new collective bargaining agreement with the players union to negotiate by the end of 2016, and it looks like the DH has a possibility to become part of the National League will be high on that agenda.

Now the debate begins.

Many fans like the traditional NL style of pitchers hitting, no matter how bad they look at the plate, and they always point to the fact that it adds more "strategy" to the game.

I'm generally a "traditionalist" when it comes to baseball, but I am all in favor of the NL getting the DH. Interleague play appears to be part of MLB for good now, and it makes sense to bring the NL on board with it. It's always been unfair to AL teams to have their DHs sit in NL parks, especially come World Series time.

And let's face it, who really wants to see pitchers hit? With rare exceptions, most are near automatic outs (guys like Madison Bumgarner come along very rarely). Everyone knows how entertaining Bartolo Colon is at the plate, but he is another rare exception. Pitchers have suffered devastating injuries on the bases recently. Remember what happened to Adam Wainwright last year, tearing his Achilles, or Yankee pitcher Chien Ming Wang getting hurt running to the plate many years ago in Houston? (His career was never the same.)

For years I have heard NL fans asking when the AL was going get rid of the DH return to "traditional baseball." That will never happen, as the players union would never approve it, as it would turn a full time job into a part time one. And in the baseball world, can you name me another league in the world that DOES NOT use a DH? The only league I know that doesn't use it is Japan's Central League. Just about every other professional league in Asia, Latin America, Europe and Australia uses it, not to mention all minor leagues, colleges and high schools.

So a better question to ask these NL fans is: when is your league going to adopt the DH?

We may now have an answer to that question, and it may well be 2017.

And it's about time.

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