Many compelling arguments have arrayed the sports pages throughout the years both for and against the continuation of the 1973 baseball rule that allows a “designated” player to officially bat for the pitcher every time it became his turn to be the hitter. It is hard to imagine why the subject of the “Designated-Hitter” is so controversial, especially to any logical, rational-thinking, baseball-loving person. The Pitcher is the hardest worker on the field! Let him focus on his primary job by letting him rest when his turn to bat comes up.In a not so recent game with the Arizona Diamondbacks hosting Los Angeles Dodgers, all the commentators were ruefully speaking about how Dan Haran’s scoring run from First Base to Home affected his pitching dramatically for the rest of the game.
Although Major League baseball has made some big changes that have obviously improved its image from a too conservative, slowly played, slow to respond to clientele-based needs, and slow to evolve with changing times attitude, it could stand to improve itself in other areas. It’s hard to dispute the success of the theatrical nuances that seem to have brought a different type or quality of clientele into the ballpark, (new, expensive stadiums, luxury boxes for the financial elite, extravagant dining facilities, diverse vending operations, and an exterior, cosmetic elegance). However, more attention, by Baseball Organizers, should be concentrated on the rules that regulate play, specifically the “Designated Hitter” (as well the “Bean-Ball”-3/19/15 & 4/21/15). Many people balked at the more recent ideas to change the format for the pennant races, and inter-league play. But those changes have boosted gate receipts and proved more exciting for fans throughout the country than possibly could have been imagined by most of the “dinosaurs” of the “old-school” of Baseball thinkers. Now, of course, everyone’s on that bandwagon.
The National League needs to get rid of its “die-hard” advocates, who insist that the American League’s innovative genius to inspire the introduction of the designated hitter is but a sham on the game’s integrity. The D.H. was the first solid attempt by Baseball to get rid of any superficial or perfunctory aspects of a game whose otherwise proud and purposeful intent was being undermined. The National League “Dinosaurs” continue to insist that the D.H. removes a distinct strategy that is integral to the Sport’s identity. All it does is remove a “little-skilled” or “no-skilled” hitter for a competent one, thus allowing for more competency where it is appreciated by all observers of the game. A pitcher (now-a-days) can’t even bunt properly, and stands a good chance of smashing a finger, or two. Why run the risk? Ask Kevin Brown if he would rather have had someone batting for him when he smashed his fingers and couldn’t pitch for a good while. Or A. J. Burnett whose right eye might have given solid testimony, and any of the others who have pulled hamstrings while running bases, when they could have been resting comfortably while mentally preparing to pitch the next inning? It doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out the logical, and rationally sound alternative to a pitcher batting. And two of the more recent incident s with Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong breaking his hand while swinging at a pitched ball, and most recently a “relief” pitcher (Santiago Casillas ) pulling a hamstring legging an infield out, thoroughly exacerbates an intelligent person’s perspective on what is meaningful in Baseball. Is it going to take a serious injury to Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, or Stephen Strasberg, or their likes (Adam Wainwright for another)to finally come to the ultimate conclusion? I know that Kershaw, Strasberg, Greinke, Wainwright, and a few others think they have “batting prowess,” but their pitching is much more highly needed, without the risk of unnecessary injury.(C.- Ming Wang wishes he didn’t have to run the bases.)
Although the “DH” does force the pitcher on the mound to work a little harder, when he obviously would have accepted a respite from the challenge of the previous formidable eight batters, things even out since the pitcher can rest as the DH bats for him. The late innings’ penchant to remove a pitcher for a pinch-hitter is an offensive ploy whose importance is of minimum significance compared to the maximum benefits of the D.H. The “old guard” calls it strategy. It’s like the “Stall” that intelligent people of Basketball got rid of long ago. The extension of a “Great” hitter’s career as a D.H. is another reason for admiring the American League initiative. Babe Ruth hit three home runs in his final game, before he was virtually forced into retirement. Just think of what it would have done for the fan-base as well as the extension of personal, individual worth to such Hall- of- Famers like Ruth, Jimmy Fox, Ted Williams, Yogi Berra, and many others, to be able to continue their careers even while subjected to a somewhat limited fielding capacity, but still highly productive offensively. The whole process only improves the quality of team performance, and adds continually to the appreciative adulation of fans. Everyone benefits by innovation, even the stagnant thinker, once he accepts the inevitable aspects of positive change.
Coming Soon: Specificity of Movement, Preceded by Specific and Consistent Thought – Key to Successful Endeavor!