More and more discussion has ensued during this MLB offseason about the prospects of introducing a designated hitter for all 15 teams in the National League. It really does seem like a matter of time before this happens, and I’m all for it.
We know that Major League Baseball, much of the time, moves like a snail to adapt and amend components of the game of baseball to modern day life. Listen, I understand how traditional this game is as America’s pastime, but the MLB front office moves slower than my mother who has peripheral neuropathy in her feet. But overall, I think fans want more offense and so does the league.
Rob Manfred, Commissioner of MLB, and his office have seen and come to understand the recent dip in offense as something that could be problematic for the league in the future. People want to see runs. Yes, while a no-hitter is something quite awe-inspiring to witness, I’m convinced the average baseball fan would rather see a 10-8 game score rather than a 2-0 score. One of the mechanisms to boost scoring – aside from legalizing steroid usage – would be for the National League to take the 15 pitchers’ spots out of batting orders and replace them with players who can really hammer the ball into the stadium stands and around the park.
While it doesn’t happen too often, pitchers get injured running the bases or swing a bat. What managers or owners out there want to be put into a predicament where a starting pitcher – a potential true asset on the team – is done for weeks or months because of something unrelated to throwing on the mound? It’s one thing for a pitcher to lose a season to Tommy John, but it’s something else if the guy shreds up his knee running the bases.
Also, on a more personal note, I’m just so sick and tired of watching pitchers inside the batting box and almost always predicting the inevitable out. How many more years do we all have to see another Phillies rally die because the pitcher in the 9th spot is up at bat? It’s continuous, and it doesn’t just happen to the Phillies, of course. All 15 National League teams and their fans go through it. It’s an old, arcane component of the game that has been around since 1973 that we should say good-bye to.
Hypothetically speaking, it’s interesting to think how the Phillies – as well as other teams – and their personnel may have performed differently over the past five or so years if a DH had been implemented in the NL. I wonder how Ryan Howard and his career might have been affected by it. Perhaps it would have preserved his career and extended his power hitting into his latter years? We’ll never know, but moving forward it’s yet another advantage for players. Extending batters’ careers isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
There are pros and cons as MLB moves forward with the possibility of creating continuity with a DH in the NL. In the end, I love baseball and just want better baseball. Giving the National League a DH would do just that.