The Pro-“Let the Pitcher Hit” Thread

In this thread, your ONLY comments allowed are those that favor the pitcher being part of the hitting lineup. I will delete any post otherwise. You can put in whatever argument you want to support you. For example:

1. Tradition

2. All nine players should take the field and bat in the lineup: pure 2-dimensional.

3. The gap in talent level means that you have to decide when to bring in a pinch hitter or when to bunt. Extra layer of strategy consideration.

4 to n. You tell me

Related thread: “Anti pitcher-as-batter“.



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DavidCEisen
Guest
DavidCEisen
6 years 7 months ago

The greatest joy in the world comes when an easy out somehow turns into the game changing hit.

I still remember Robert Person hitting three home runs, yet I can’t remember Robert Person doing anything else.

On the flip side nothing breaks your heart like losing because the opposing pitcher hit a home run.

Also Micah Owings’ would likely be out of a job and for some reason I’ve decided I like Micah Owings.

DavidCEisen
Guest
DavidCEisen
6 years 7 months ago

Also by three I meant two.

Brad Johnson
Member
Member
6 years 7 months ago

I was at that game and it was awesome.

Another Phillies moment would be Brett Myers’ dominant 2008 post-season run at the dish. After 7 years of utter futility, Myers pieces together 3 very good hitting games when it matters most.

DavidCEisen
Guest
DavidCEisen
6 years 7 months ago

I also loved when Brett Myers had a month long span when he imitated Gary Sheffield’s batting stance.

Shamwow 'Stache
Guest
Shamwow 'Stache
6 years 7 months ago

The pitcher needs to hit. Otherwise, Matt Kemp will end up batting 9th in each game, like last year when Mark Loretta was the Dodger DH in an AL ballpark, yet somehow Matt Kemp’s name was the one that was penciled into the 9th spot.

For the sake of Matt Kemp’s mental sanity, please let the pitcher hit (ninth).

Paul C
Guest
Paul C
6 years 7 months ago

Hernandez hitting that GS of Johan is one of the funniest moments in baseball history. I think the DH should be abolished simply because all 9 players should have to hit and take the field.

filihok
Guest
filihok
6 years 7 months ago

Designated hitter for the pitcher?

Designated fielder for Adam Dunn?
Designated runner for Benji Molina?
Designated pitcher for Kyle Farnsworth?
Designated training staff for the Mets?
Designated contract for Vernon Wells?
Designated GM for Dayton Moore?

dan woytek
Guest
6 years 7 months ago

what about an Adam Dunn/Adam Everett offense/defense platoon?

dan woytek
Guest
6 years 7 months ago

Here’s and interesting case study in terms of overall value of a pitcher (mound and plate) in a particular season. Although extreme in their examples, it certainly adds statistical fun to the fun argument made above

http://anothercubsblog.net/2010-articles/january/pitchers-batting.html

Brad Johnson
Member
Member
6 years 7 months ago

I’ve tried to explain why there’s a DH several times to my girlfriend and never has the rationale been very convincing. Why should pitchers be treated differently than the other 9 players? I know that’s not a new argument, but it’s how I feel. The strategy element is nice because that’s basically the only thing managers have to figure out once a game starts. Even pitching matchups are predestined.

Tim
Guest
Tim
6 years 7 months ago

Despite the usual out, the pitchers’ at-bats are usually exciting, for one reason or another.

Sure, it’s not great when a pitcher leads off an inning, but in many at-bats you get to see one pitcher completely dominate the opposing batter (the kind of individual superiority that is rare in professional sports). Or conversely you get to see the pitcher get a big hit at an important moment. Nothing is more hilariously awesome or depressingly frustrating, depending on which team you are rooting for, than seeing Randy Johnson bloop a go ahead 2-run single into right field.

Reuben
Guest
Reuben
6 years 7 months ago

watching k rod walk mo this last year was hilarious

Xeifrank
Guest
6 years 7 months ago

#3. More strategy.
#n. Starting pitchers are less likely to start a bean ball war if they are required to hit.
vr, Xei

Jimbo
Guest
Jimbo
6 years 7 months ago

A pitcher having to stand in against the other pitcher, providing a deterrent from head hunting, is more than enough to win my vote on this side.

Poochie
Member
Poochie
6 years 7 months ago

I love it when teams run out of pitchers, therefore I do not like the DH.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
6 years 7 months ago

It was awesome when Nick Swisher pitched a scoreless inning for the Yankees too. This is completely irrelevant.

Poochie
Member
Poochie
6 years 7 months ago

It’s not irrelevant if it enhances my enjoyment of the game.

Tim
Guest
Tim
6 years 7 months ago

I could see ways in which the DH may shorten or lengthen a game in comparison to pitchers batting, but I haven’t been able to find length of game records in the AL or NL. I’m in favor of shorter games.

Kincaid
Member
6 years 7 months ago

There are game duration records in the gamelogs from Retrosheet. AL games are longer on average this decade, but only by 1 minute (175 minutes to 174). Some years, the NL averages longer games, some years, the AL, and some years, they’re the same. They’re generally within a few minutes of each other in average game duration.

Since 1973, the average AL game has been 4 minutes longer than the average NL game (170 to 166).

Al Dimond
Guest
Al Dimond
6 years 7 months ago

I’d guess that the extra substitutions and especially pitching changes made in an NL game make up for the extra plate appearances in an AL game.

I tend to be pro-pitcher hitting, but that fact mostly speaks against it — the AL fits more baseball into the same amount of time.

Kincaid
Member
6 years 7 months ago

Actually, I think the pitching changes are more likely what is making the AL games a little longer. There is almost no difference between the number of PAs in an AL vs. an NL game on average (77.34 PA/game in the AL this decade, 77.25 PA/game in the NL). There are more pitching changes in the NL because of the pitcher having a spot in the batting order, but that also means that those extra changes happen between innings because they happen when the pitcher is due up to bat. That deters mid-inning pitching changes in the NL because a manager doesn’t want to use an extra pitcher he’ll just have to pinch hit for after the inning, and because the manager has a greater need in the NL to conserve pitchers for later in the game when each pitcher’s spot in the order comes up.

Because of that, those extra changes in the NL happen between innings when the effect on the pace of the game is marginal. The AL has more mid-inning pitching changes than the NL (2.2 per AL game, 1.9 per NL game), and those are the changes that slow the game down the most.

I think one of Bill James’ proposals for the game was to limit the number of pitching changes a team can make within the inning, and the DH serves as a pseudo-limit, less effective but also less radical than James’ proposal, for this. That can be another point in favour of the pitcher hitting.

Kincaid
Member
6 years 7 months ago

*the pitcher hitting serves as a pseudo-limit, not the DH. The DH would be the opposite.

max
Member
max
6 years 7 months ago

So I am a Seattle Mariners fan. For years I have been going to AL games, with DH’s (including Edgar). However my commissioner-for-a-day thing (after reinstating Joe Jackson) would be to get rid of the designated hitter.

The purity thing applies – a pitcher is in the lineup, so he should hit.
The strategy thing applies – I find NL games more interesting, because of the small ball, sac bunts, double switches, et cetera.
It is more fun – watching these guys who don’t know how to hit step into the batters box is, in my opinion, very exciting. I love the way that they “swing” wildly at curves in the dirt, are way ahead of changes, and way behind high fastballs, but somehow they manage to occasionally slap a ball down the line for a double.

The next-best solution is the following: For interleague games, use the DH in NL parks and have the pitcher hit in AL parks. The change is overall not too big, but the fans win because they get to see a little bit of the other league.

aNdrOss
Member
aNdrOss
6 years 7 months ago

On the switch the DH rule in interleague games thing, I totally agree. It would much more fun to go to an interleague game knowing that the rules were different.

Al Dimond
Guest
Al Dimond
6 years 7 months ago

I really like your last suggestion. It’s like how the NFL does its TV schedule — when an AFC team plays and NFC team, the visiting conference’s network covers the game, so the crews get to visit all the various stadiums.

Would you then switch to AL umps in NL parks and vice-versa? Play the opposite league’s game in every way?

Larry Smith Jr.
Guest
6 years 7 months ago

They no longer use AL and NL umps. A few years ago (maybe more than a few now…..5? 7?) the MLB consolidated all their umpires into just a general pool.

Evan
Guest
Evan
6 years 7 months ago

Baseball is a game of athleticism, skill, and strategy. Batting the pitcher involves all three of those elements. Sure the DH adds more offense, but so do steroids.

Pinch hitting and double switches are fun parts of the game that can be nail biters and can make you curse your own manager. Also, nothing’s cooler than when a pitcher pulls out a great at bat during a big moment.

Jim
Guest
Jim
6 years 7 months ago

I also like it that pitchers who are great hitters are valued more highly because of their hitting skills. While most pitchers are terrible, and the variance is probably small, I think it’s good that the Zambrano’s of the world get their due by being a force at the plate. I like that a player can create value in as many dimensions as possible.

Jim
Guest
Jim
6 years 7 months ago

oh no! improper apostrophe s usage! zambranos.

drbils
Guest
drbils
6 years 7 months ago

a. Marketing (Allowing the pitcher to wear a jacket while on the basepaths; counter argument – the delay caused by this practice.)
b. Dirty jackets (When pitchers slide head first, which is awesome. DWillis! Counter argument – the injuries caused by this practice.)

Fergie348
Guest
Fergie348
6 years 7 months ago

Well, all of the above really. Ultimately it boils down to strategic interest. Keeping pitchers honest (since they know they’ll have to get in the box at some point) is a minor effect, but having the pitcher have to take his at bats puts the manager in a position where he has to, you know, manage.

Since there is such a difference between the hitting ability of the average pitcher and the average position player, there will usually be a point in the game where we all start to wonder if there’s a good run scoring opportunity in the next couple of innings do we pull the guy or let him keep pitching? So many things to consider – game dynamics, bullpen strenth, pitchers hitting ability and fitness to continue. It’s really the only complex decision a game manager has to make, everything else could be done by a computer. And probably eventually will be..

Dan
Guest
Dan
6 years 7 months ago

Here’s the reason: Dae-sung Koo against Randy Johnson!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esyiOB6kMNM

Honestly, though, I lean toward the pro side, as I find increased specialization a little boring. I’m ok with the leagues having different rules on thw whole.

LorenzoStDuBois
Guest
LorenzoStDuBois
6 years 7 months ago

I’m surprised the following hasn’t been mentioned:

Is there any difference between the NFC and the AFC? Any difference in the NBA or NHL*?

What the DH does is create a unique situation in baseball where the two leagues are still distinct from each other. Selig ruined much of this with interleague, but with the DH it still remains. I think the end result is that MLB is much more interesting than it otherwise would be.

*I assume not but I have no idea. I know nothing about hockey.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
6 years 7 months ago

I would say that no, there are no rule differences between the NFC and AFC.

But *substantial* rules differences between the NBA and NHL…

LorenzoStDuBois
Guest
LorenzoStDuBois
6 years 7 months ago

That was pithy, but I think my prepositions are in order. Though to be fair that could have been a bit of a parallelism fail….

Richard
Guest
Richard
6 years 7 months ago

I may be missing the point entirely, but isn’t this Pro-DH and not Pro-Letting the Pitcher Hit?

Klatz
Member
Klatz
6 years 7 months ago

For it’s it boils down to

1) more strategic importance to replacing pitcher. Is the pitcher doing well? Is the benefit of a hitter worth more than the potential loss of the pitcher?

2) Consistency. Same nine players play offense and defense (to start the game), which distinguishes it from football, soccer, etc (but similar to basketball). Would you allow a designated free throw thrower? And it makes both leagues have the same rules.

3) Discourages specialization. Are field goal kickers, punters etc that interesting?

4) If I was a pitcher I’d want to hit.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
6 years 7 months ago

If I was a pitcher I’d want to hit.

You would want to do something against the opponents at the highest level, while essentially never practicing it?

I’d like to see a lot of guys at this forum just stand in the box against a 93mph without pissing themselves … especially when the pitcher “claims the inside corner”. Entertaining.

Certainly, hitting at the professional level ain’t fun and games.

jpdtrmpt72
Guest
jpdtrmpt72
6 years 7 months ago

this is the pro pitcher as hitter thread, you know

neuter_your_dogma
Guest
neuter_your_dogma
6 years 7 months ago

I thought soccer players played both ways.

funketown
Guest
funketown
6 years 7 months ago

I’m a big fan of the additional layer of complexity it adds to decision-making by NL clubs. I find the AL game to be a bit more monotonous.

I don’t think it’s fair to compare watching the DH hit versus watching the pitcher hit. Sure, there are the Jim Thomes of the game who would lose the bulk of their at-bats without the DH rule (if they could even find a roster spot), but in most cases DH’s would be thrown onto the field, with the other position players moving to accommodate this shift. The result of this would not be the elite DH’s being put on the bench, but rather the marginal 7-8-9 batters who struggle in the field.

While I would probably rather watch David Ortiz bat than Jeff Suppan, I would not sacrifice the enjoyment I get out of the additional decisions that must be made in the NL, along with the enjoyment of watching the occasional Yovani Gallardo homer, in order to see the Jamey Carrols of the world take their hacks.

Then again, maybe I’m just biased because I had to endure the pain of watching Ned Yost let Tony Gwynn Jr. DH for a game.

Craig Tyle
Guest
Craig Tyle
6 years 7 months ago

1. Offense is at an all-time high. Eliminating the DH will help bring the game back to historical norms. This should also help shorten games.

2. It must be remembered that, because of pinch-hitters, pitchers do not bat as frequently as other batters anyway. (2.3 PA/G for NL in 2009.)

3. Some pitchers are (relatively) proficient at batting. They should benefit from this proficiency, just as in the case of pitcher fielding ability.

Ott
Guest
Ott
6 years 7 months ago

I’m going to offer something a little different – I advance that baseball is more than the sum of its parts. Baseball is not merely competition, although we compete, and it is not merely a struggle for victory, although one team will prove victorious. Baseball, in fact, is life. Thus, my argument will draw from the ancient trifecta of truth, goodness, and beauty.

Truth. Life is messy, disorderly, and not ideal. Plato, in his ideal state, foresaw exactly one task for each citizen. The shoemaker makes shoes, and nothing more. The guardian guards, and that’s all. This ideal was dramatically reintroduced with the assembly line and modern factories. A man stands in line and does one thing, and one thing only. He does only that, and thus does it better, quicker, more efficient. And it is soul-crushing.

This is exactly why baseball, the embodiment of pastoral within the urban, springs to such popularity. It is not a factory. It allows men to escape that soul-crushing sameness, that dullness of efficiency. On the baseball field, a man is joyously complex. He must throw, hit, run, and catch all with skill. All things are required of him, not just one motion, repeated over and over. Plato had it wrong – man is more than just a wielder of a single tool. His arms, legs, fingers, toes, eyes, and heart all yearn for something more. The DH is not true.

Goodness. When I instruct my son, I instruct him in many things. He will only “be” one of them in a career. Maybe a baseball player (oh, how I dream!), but perhaps a CPA, or a mailman, or a dairy farmer. I don’t know. But when I instruct him, even if I knew what he would be, I would impart to him many skills. This is how you look at the stars, this is how you read a book, this is how you change a headlight on a car. Do I think he’ll master every skill? No. Nor should I. But that’s not the point. The point is that learning, exploring, discovering, and practicing things is good. It helps him grow, discover his own strengths and weakness. And when he discovers a weakness, does that mean he gives up? No – now he learns how to work with that weakness. In doing so he because more well-rounded, he learns how to work through adversity, he learns how to face the inevitable frailty that all mankind shares. The DH fails in this regard. It gives up. There is no growth, no facing adversity. It turns from richness to pale simplicity. The DH is not good.

Beauty. Some may find beauty in starkness. Some may find beauty in a plain white room – and there is some. There can be beauty in simplicity, but it is nothing to the splash of color on a great man’s canvas. The subtle weaving together of disparate parts to create harmony in music is greater than the hum of a single note. Baseball is built on such beauty. Nine men come together to form a team. All must play, and all must play equally. If one man fails to excel in one part, his teammates must support him. It brings out the nobility of human endeavor. The hitters support the pitchers, the fielders and pitcher support the hitter. There is a perichoretic union between offense and defense. To take this away robs the game of its beauty, returns it to the factory that the men of this land originally fled. There is beauty in this game, and every time the DH steps to the plate, it dims.

So there you have it. Somewhat subjective? Yes. And it won’t appeal to everyone, I know that. But that’s why I dislike the DH.

Xeifrank
Guest
6 years 7 months ago

Did you write this yourself? Pretty impressive.
vr, Xei

china dave
Guest
china dave
6 years 7 months ago

that was nicely stated

pounded clown
Member
pounded clown
6 years 7 months ago

I remember soaking the leather with glove oil, then form fitting the pocket by leaving a baseball in the glove and putting it under my mattress at night…I remember hours spent throwing the ball into the pocket to break that glove in…I remember how my buddy and I who both had the same exact gloves never got them confused because if we accidently switched them we could tell by feel that it wasn’t our glove….I also remember that I always had a chance to redeem a bad AB with a great play in the field….

Rut
Guest
Rut
6 years 7 months ago

I don’t like the DH either, but I don’t know what your point is.

Geoffrey
Guest
Geoffrey
6 years 7 months ago

Just wondering if anyone has ever bothered to factor in what a pitcher contirbutes (or doesn’t as is often the case) to their overall value (WAR or something similar) by hitting?

It would be interesting to see how it would effect a pitchers overall value, or would their lack of PAs mean that the value is marginal regardless of performance?

Getting back to the point at hand, pro pitcher hitting because I like the extra strategy involved, its how the game was intended to be played. Would also probably limit older players wanting to prolong their careers from being able to do so. Also Edgar Martinez would probably get a lot more HoF support because he probably would have played 1B instead of DH and thus there would be no more ridiculous is it right to put a DH in the hall arguments.

TJ
Guest
TJ
6 years 7 months ago

I agree with many people here, seeing the pitcher pull out big hits in those rare situations is wonderful. I recall an interleague game in which 20 year old rooke pitcher, Rick Porcello, goes 2-3 with 2 doubles vs. the Pirates. Wether the at-bat results in a hit or not, it presents a good bit of comic relief that only heightens the enjoyment of the game for me. Furthermore, I love the stratagy and tratition associated with letting the pitcher hit. It’s the only time we get to see the sac-bunt and the double-switch, these elements of the game become lost with the DH in the lineup.

Tim
Guest
Tim
6 years 7 months ago

Variety>Uniformity

David MVP Eckstein
Guest
6 years 7 months ago

The DH is BS because it reduces the balance between leagues. It promotes unathleticism and overpaid, one-dimensional guys. It’s called natural selection and at some point, your body says retire

David MVP Eckstein
Guest
6 years 7 months ago

Also, saying I hate the DH is odd on some level because its like saying I do not believe in the distribution of labor.

On the other hand, AL pitchers are a bunch of wimps and the DH’s are a bunch of old, fragile “men.”

JayCee
Guest
JayCee
6 years 7 months ago

I’m for the pitchers hitting because I want “small-ball” to always remain a part of baseball. HGH is threatening the small-ball elements of the game, so I favor elimiating the DH for that reason.

David MVP Eckstein
Guest
6 years 7 months ago

Very true; the DH reduces the role of the pinch hitter and eliminates the switch/dbl switch which adds an element of game theory to baseball

Mark C. O'Connor
Guest
6 years 7 months ago

Roster construction in the NL (it seems to me) is quite different than in the AL. There’s a need for a more versatile player, and I like that. Teams have to place a premium on hitting or fielding when making decisions about a no glove/big bat type or an all glove/no bat type. I like that tension–what’s the right thing to do when you’ve only got 25 spots? I’m biased toward the “all-rounder” when watching a game, and I’ve a soft spot for those “super-sub” types that teams plug in to a variety of hitting and fielding situations. I think it is because I like all the parts of the game, and anything that encourages ballplayers to contribute with their bat AND their glove AND their feet has to be better than that which does not.

algionfriddo
Guest
algionfriddo
6 years 7 months ago

I hate the DH. I like to see the manager have to decide late in a close game… do I PH or let my out-machine pitcher stay in? This exposes the bench as well as the pen. Guys like Smokey Burgess, Jerry Lynch and Manny Mota are of real value in the NL setting, not so in the AL.
I also feel the AL pitcher carries a greater burden… he faces better hitters (DH over pitcher) and stays in longer with no need to PH. I like the strategy. If I want brute strength, I’ll watch a tractor pull.

obsessivegiantscompulsive
Member
6 years 7 months ago

I think both leagues should play by the same logical rules.

If you are going to DH, then I think it should be like pro football, where you have a defensive team and an offensive team, though there would be some cross-overs. That would be the logical thing to do.

But then stats would take a totally different bent as specialization would made certain stats not applicable to certain players.

Thus, I think we should get rid of the DH. Part of the beauty and interest in baseball is the ability to take the teams of our youth and compare them to the players today, in our minds. Yes, tradition.

DH-ing everything would change the game upside down. Removing the DH would not, the last 40 or so years would be just a burp in the history of baseball.

Also, having the pitcher bat creates strategic options that the manager will need to consider. He has to wrestle with what is worth more, getting another inning or two with the current pitcher or using up one of his few bench players to try to capitalize on a scoring opportunity or to start a scoring opportunity. Or is the pitcher good enough with the bat to advance the runner or is he so lousy with the bat that a PH would be better. He also has to worry about whether replacing the pitcher with a reliever might make things worse for the defense. Lots of things a manager needs to process and decide on relatively quickly.

With the DH, you only have to worry if he’s getting tired and/or ineffective. In which case, do you really need a manager? Just program the lineup analyzer on Baseball Musing with your best hitters to get the ideal lineup, start your best pitchers, have the pitching coach take out pitchers when the pitcher appears tired or ineffective. You rarely need to PH since your best hitters are in the lineup, though on some occassions if you have an extreme platoon hitter who hits best from one side, he could PH though then it would be countered with a reliever throwing the other way, so why bother then?

I also like forcing pitchers to bat. Why not reward those pitchers who kept up their hitting and can hit as well as a replacement level position player or better. A good hitting starting pitcher can add about two wins to his seasonal total by hitting as well as the poorer position starters.

I calculated the difference between a .500 pitcher and a pitcher on the same team with similar pitching stats but who can hit as well as a poor hitter (roughly high-.600 OPS; I used Omar Vizquels’ last season with the Giants in the lineup calculator). Whereas the first pitcher is 16-16 (or 15-15), the good hitting pitcher would be 17-15 (or 16-14). Seems like just a little difference, but over 5 seasons, one pitcher would be 80-80 while the other would be 85-75.

In other words, a starting rotation of average pitchers on a .500 team that learns how to hit like a poor position player can change themselves into a near contending team by learning to hit.

Jon
Guest
6 years 7 months ago

Exactly right. On all points.

OB
Guest
OB
6 years 7 months ago

1 or 2.

DJacobs
Guest
DJacobs
6 years 7 months ago

I want great defense to get more credit. Removing the DH will lower defensive standards, particularly at all corners. It wouldn’t be a huge effect, but it would be real.

Josh
Guest
Josh
6 years 7 months ago

When an AL team plays at an NL park, the AL team gets to put its least valuable starter on the bench. But when an NL team plays at an AL park, the NL team is forced to start a bad hitter against an AL lineup full of starters. No NL team will ever have a ninth-best position player as good as the Yankees’ or Red Sox’s ninth-best position player, because to compete in the regular season, an NL team only needs eight competent hitters. The problem is that to compete in the World Series, it needs nine.

Xeifrank
Guest
6 years 7 months ago

… and conversley the AL team must sit one of their best hitters and the NL team can put one of their best gloves in the field. I think you have to take it on a team-by-team basis, as in many cases the NL team benefits more playing in an AL park than an AL team playing in a NL park.
vr, Xei

Josh
Guest
Josh
6 years 7 months ago

At an AL park, the AL team sends up nine competent position players, while the NL team sends up eight. But at an NL park, both teams send up eight competent position players, and the AL team gets to have a better pinch hitter available than the NL team (see Hideki Matsui in game 3).

The player that the AL team must bench is someone to whom the NL team has no equivalent – the NL team does not have a defensive specialist that they only use in NL parks, in the way that AL teams have an offesnive specialist. The AL team has an offensive weapon that the NL team simply does not have. Forcing the AL team to bench this offensive specialist does not give the NL team an advantage; at best it evens the playing field.

Xeifrank
Guest
6 years 7 months ago

Josh, I think you misread my post or just didn’t read it. I said you have to take it on a case by case basis. My point still stands though.
vr, Xei

The Nicker
Guest
The Nicker
6 years 7 months ago

In reply to Josh: If we assume that there are equal resources in sum between all the teams in each league, this argument makes little sense because the resources used by the AL team to acquire another “competent position player” could be used instead to attain that much better players at the eight positions and among the pitching staff.

Brown
Guest
Brown
6 years 7 months ago

Todd Stottlemyre running the bases. AL pitcher, NL rules, highest stakes possible and the result? Of course the Jays still won the Series and TS wasn’t injured so much as mortifiedly embarassed and dirt-goteed (and more recently the Yankees lost a lot more with Wang running the bases in a needless inter-league game) but in general, the rule and league-discrepancy leads to more unexpected situations and outcomes and, of course, unexpected situations and outcomes are the bread and butter of the (at least my) fan experience.

popfly
Member
popfly
6 years 7 months ago

I realize that this is professional baseball, but we all learned to play the game as children and the pitcher was in the batting order. The National League has carried that tradition forward as it should be. I’ve always wondered why the American League had to change the rules and bring in the Designated Hitter. It must have been to create a competitive edge on the National League. I would not be sorry to see the DH removed from the game (sorry Edgar Martinez).

Dan Greer
Guest
Dan Greer
6 years 7 months ago

I want the pitcher to bat because of the off-chance he reaches base, and then decides to steal 2B with a nice fadeaway slide. The TV viewers are then treated to panning shots of everyone on both teams cracking a smile – with the possible exception of the battery that just got embarrassed.

B
Guest
B
6 years 7 months ago

In 2008, I was down in San Diego (only time I’ve ever been to SD), and just decided to go to the Padres game that night to check out their park and enjoy a night at the ballpark. They were playing the Braves, I don’t much care about either team, but it turned out to be a pretty good game and trip to the ballpark for a lot of reasons. What I remember most about that game? Seeing Greg Maddux steal second base after a single, becoming the oldest pitcher to ever steal a base. I’m always going to remember that.

Big Steve
Guest
Big Steve
6 years 7 months ago

I like the strategy involved. This makes the game a bit more exciting and nuanced. I also like to see how many managers fail with their strategy. Compared to most sports I think that baseball has very little in the way of strategy. Doing away with a large portion of it was a mistake.

kardo|afk
Guest
kardo|afk
6 years 7 months ago

Let me propose a more extreme idea, why stick with 2 dimensional when you can have 3 dimensional? Disallow substitutions all together except for injuries. When you want a pitcher substituted, make sure you have a relief pitcher on the field. For fielding it won’t matter much if the slow horrible fielding left fielder is a slogger or a closer. Batting standards will drop slightly as all hit no field guys have less spots left on the starting 9, but so will pitching standards as you have to make sure a pitcher can field and hit. Probably result: more hits, more walks, fewer home runs, less random, more exciting game.

Jon
Guest
6 years 7 months ago

The DH rule dumbs down baseball. We are all attracted to the game of baseball because it’s a thinking man’s game. Football is the other great American pastime, but we aren’t fanatics of that game because no matter how many good coaching decisions are made or how many fantastic athletic plays are pulled off, the game eventually comes down to the fat guys on the line of scrimmage who shove other fat guys for a living. Whichever team’s fat guys shove harder throughout the game is the team that usually wins. Football is a game of mindlessly smashing heads together, while baseball is at it’s best a game where you have to constantly use your head to succeed. When you have a DH, the manager doesn’t have to decide when to pull the pitcher for a pinch hitter, or how to approach a critical at-bat with a genuinely weak hitter at the plate. If you give managers the luxury of a DH, there’s less managing to be done. Games are decided by on the field talent with little or no input from the great minds managing the teams. There’s no thought required in asking David Ortiz to swing away in any situation, but deciding how Adam Wainwright should approach the same at bat depends very heavily on the situation. It requires the manager and the player to make some important choices. I’d much rather watch a game where the outcome was decided by a clever or gutsy managerial decision than one where the winner is decided by who has more people on their team who can hit the ball really far.

The DH rule robs the game of athleticism. David Ortiz is not an athlete. He’s a big strong guy who can channel his strength into one thing: hitting a ball over the right field fence. He can’t run, he can’t field, and he can’t throw. He’s barely a baseball player, but because of the DH rule he’s been one of the greatest offensive forces in baseball since he moved to Boston. And on the flip side, you have some pitchers in the AL who are fantastic at pitching, but are never asked to swing a bat, never asked to run the bases, and never even asked to lay down a bunt. Without playing offense, AL pitchers are barely baseball players as well. I cringe at the thought of a professional baseball player who can’t even swing a bat. Another thing to consider is players like Jason Marquis, Micah Owens, and Carlos Zambrano. They are capable major league pitchers who are definitely not automatic outs at the plate. With a DH system, the true value they bring their team is unrealized and their athletic talents are wasted. Even if you let them hit in place of the DH when they pitch, the competitive edge is lost because the other team’s weak hitting pitcher is replaced at the plate with a DH. A universal DH rule would secure spots in a professional sport for non-athletes while wasting the ability of the truly talented.

The DH rule is really odd and arbitrary, if you think about it. In baseball you have nine players on the field. They play defense and offense. Except when a DH is involved. The Designated Hitter rule, in the American League, allows one (and only one) player to hit in place of a defender (the pitcher). Why is only one player allowed be a full time hitter? And why is the pitcher the only player that can be DH’ed for? In football, everyone is a specialist. You have eleven guys on each side of the field and through infinite substitutions you can have kickers, quarterbacks, tailbacks, O-linemen, linebackers, etc. on the field in the proper position for the situation. In pretty much every other sport everyone must play on both sides of the ball. So why does baseball have just one oddball guy who only has to hit? And why a Designated Hitter? Why are there no Designated Runners who run the bases in place of the catcher? The people who came up with the DH rule didn’t have logic or order in mind. They were after one thing: higher scoring games, which brings me to my last point…

The DH rule is tantamount to juicing. The AL has been juicing the game since 1973 when the DH was introduced. The DH rule was concocted for the sole purpose of increasing offensive numbers. People wanted to see higher scoring games and more home runs, so the men in charge lowered the mound 5 inches and let a lumberjack bat in place of the pitcher. It worked (of course). The game became more accessible to the causal fan who just wanted to see someone hit the ball really far. You know what else brought us higher scoring games and lots of balls hit clear into next week? The Steroid Era.

Casadilla
Guest
Casadilla
6 years 7 months ago

Wow, I could not finish that first paragraph. Ever thought you might not know anything about American Football?

B
Guest
B
6 years 7 months ago

That’s a shame because while I didn’t like the first paragraph either, the rest of the comment was pretty good.

Garrett
Guest
Garrett
6 years 1 month ago

He’s oversimplifying, obviously, but the point stands.

American football is by and large decided by the strength and physical prowess of the offensive and defensive lines. Yes, a good team needs speed at wideout and back; accuracy and acumen from the QB. But ultimately wins and losses are determined by physicality in a way that they are not in baseball.

That’s not a knock on football, just a difference between the sports.

TonyPenaforHOF
Guest
TonyPenaforHOF
6 years 7 months ago

The reason for letting the pitcher hit is not for the pitcher – it is for the strategy that is employed as a result of the pitcher hitting. What makes the game interesting is the cerebral nature of the late inning choices. From creating the team before spring training to in season pick-ups there is a constant variable that makes the game much more interesting. Managers in the NL have to manage the entire game – managers in the AL have to manage pitching and defense. This makes it more like an adult softball game than baseball.

I gave my take yesterday about how to get the best of both worlds. Keep the DH – just don’t let them hit for the pitcher. If a team chooses to use a DH let them hit for another player. It gives the fans what they want – on offense and defense. It gives true baseball fans a chance to love the game again by giving real players a chance to break our steroid inflated records. It gives the fans the chess match we all enjoy. How many of us have watched a baseball game trying to think ahead in regard to matchups that could happen depending on who the manager uses and the situation? I know I do – and it makes the game so much more satisfying.

gorillagogo
Guest
gorillagogo
6 years 7 months ago

A lot of people have mentioned how enjoyable it is to see the occasional hit by a pitcher (or how frustrating it is to see your opponent’s pitcher get a hit) but I think it’s even funnier or more frustrating to see the pitcher draw a walk, particularly a lead-off walk. Another great scenario is where the pitcher just mowed down the first two guys in the inning, walks the opposing pitcher when he could’ve been out of the inning and that winds up starting a rally.

Daniel
Guest
Daniel
6 years 7 months ago

1. Sure nobody likes to watch bad hitters hit, but seriously, pitchers get like two at-bats a game. Then someone pinch hits for them and for the rest of the game it’s just more PHs. So it’s not like half the game is spent watching pitchers flail at 85 MPH fastballs.

2. I like the NL better because bench players get to play more, so depth is more important. In the AL bench players rarely get into the game and there is very little in the way of pinch hitting, pinch running, and defensive replacements. In the NL the whole 25-man roster gets used.

Mike Green
Member
Mike Green
6 years 7 months ago

The DH does tend to result in older one-dimensional players taking up a (scarce) roster spot that could be used in more interesting ways (from a fan’s perspective). I would like to see more strategic variety- some teams with smaller pitching staffs and longer relief outings, more use of platooning…Death to monoculture.:)

Vlad
Guest
Vlad
6 years 7 months ago

The absence of the DH allows for hybrid pitcher/position player roster spots, like Brooks Kieschnick. Which are awesome.

Brown
Guest
Brown
6 years 7 months ago

I Know! Micah Owings in LF and Tony Pena Jr on the mound!

Vlad
Guest
Vlad
6 years 7 months ago

Actually, as far as roster management goes, the DH also encourages the continued existence of the ridiculous 7-man bullpen, since there’s less tactical value to carrying extra bench players in a league where you never hit for the pitcher, and therefore more marginal tactical value to that third left-handed reliever when you’re filling the 25th roster spot.

Clete6
Guest
Clete6
6 years 7 months ago

Back in old Yankee Stadium, when the monuments were on the field, Mel Stottlemyre once had an inside-the-park home run when a ball he hit went behind the monuments. (I guess he was a better runner than his non-eponymous son.) On the other hand, my favorite player of all time, Celerino Sanchez, went 5-for-8 in the doubleheader where Wilbur Wood started and lost both games. He was the DH that day. Two great memories for me.

N_yount
Guest
N_yount
6 years 7 months ago

I think what is more important is the advantage that this gives to the pitcher who is pitcher rather than the one hitting. Nearly all rule changes in the game having to do with pitcher-hitter interaction have taken advantages away from pitchers and given them to hitters (lowering of mound, shrinking strike zone, etc.). The DH just provides one more thing to make a pitcher’s life hell.

Also the obvious inconsistency by having different rules for one player, but I believe that has been well stated here.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan
6 years 7 months ago

The strike zone factor…
When a P doesn’t have to step in the box, he becomes much more difficult to hit. He can more freely change the hitter’s eye level, go up and down, in and out without concern for plunking the batter.

Daniel
Guest
Daniel
6 years 7 months ago

Having a DH would ruin baseball for Tony LaRussa! What would he do all game. He could no longer bat the pitcher 8th. He would have no use for all the double switches. If he couldnt double switch he would have no other excuse to bring in random defensive replacements late in every game. I think he would only keep 3 bench bats(1-infielder, 1- outfielder, 1-Catcher) with schumaker he may only need 2. That way he could carry 2 extra lefty on Lefty relievers. II’m telling you with a DH think Tony would slit his wrists by May 1st. Without the double switch Tony has no reason to live!

James
Guest
James
6 years 7 months ago

V. funny although I think Tony would be safe as he started off managing in the AL (oakland) . In the book men at Work la Russa said that strategy wasn’t easier in the AL becausein the NL the decision to pull a starter who is starting to weaken is usually decided by when he is due up in batting order. . Whereas in the AL this isnt a factor to help the manager decide.

Hope I havent broke the pro- anti- thread divide. Is there any hope for an ecumenical thread .

Also how many NL team fans want a dh and how many Al fans want to get rid of the DH.

Does the lack of a DH slightly increase the home field advantage in the NL as if after 6 innings both pitchers feel they can go one more inning but the pitcher slot is due up in the 7th. The home team manager has no problem (starter pitches then is pinch hitfor ) but the road team manager either has the pitcher bat and then pitch or else use a pinch hitter and a presumably weaker reliever come in.

Mike Green
Guest
Mike Green
6 years 7 months ago

There are some useful ideas in the anti- thread for potential rule changes which will allow the pitcher to not hit while encouraging strategic diversity with pen and bench usage.

You can certainly argue that some hybrid between the NL and AL rules would be best.

Ben
Guest
Ben
6 years 7 months ago

I was always a fan of the pitcher batting because it really gets the fans involved in the strategy. Obviously, baseball is a game of thinking, anticipation, evaluation, etc.. Not knowing who will be on the mound/at the plate for the last out is part of the thrill for me. Knowing that Mo will be pitching against Papi because he is due up in the order 3rd lacks excitement. Anticipating what TLR will pull out his..hat… has always been an aspect of the game that I have felt connected to.

philkid3
Guest
philkid3
6 years 6 months ago

Hopefully this post is not deleted.

I think very simply, watching someone who can’t hit every 9th PA is pretty boring. I want to see a pitcher-hitter match-up that can end in success at a reasonable rate for either side, and that’s just not true with the pitcher hitting.

But, I also like tradition and I like the strategy and I like forcing everyone to play both offense and defense for balance.

So, frankly, I think the absolute best solution is to have a league where pitchers don’t hit and a league where they do. Then, you can see games of both varieties.

Samuel Lingle
Guest
Samuel Lingle
6 years 6 months ago

Not sure if this was mentioned, but…

Wouldn’t pitchers get better at hitting if the DH was removed from the AL?

It would probably take years for it to really permeate the environment but if pitchers knew they would have to hit in the majors from the beginning they would need to include more batting practice in their training regimens. Eventually, the average hitting ability of a pitcher will most assuredly rise.

Also, the DH penalizes those special pitchers who are also talented hitters. It’s unfair to the Carlos Zambranos and Micah Owings’ of the world to remove a significant part of their game. I know Owings was already mentioned, but I think it’s worth stating again. It seems odd to reward one-dimensional players like Adam Dunn while simultaneously penalizing pitchers who can play both ways.

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6 years 5 months ago

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6 years 4 months ago

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AntonioBananas
5 years 4 months ago

Having a pitcher hit is just so “baseball” if you know what I mean. It’s quirky, you’re best defensive player (from the perspective of purely who can keep the other team from scoring, not necessarily with the glove) is also your worst (usually) offensive player. It’s strategic, it’s poetic, it’s fun. The DH isn’t fun. It’s so that fat unathletic pieces of shit like Ortiz can claim to be a pro athlete. That too, however, added some poetry that we love in baseball at the All Star game last year when his American League build got him thrown out in a critical situation.

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