"The game has evolved and one thing that has never ever evolved is the level of hitting talent a pitcher brings to the plate..."
It’s almost baseball season! The teams have converged to Arizona and Florida for spring training and my big baseball loving heart is getting excited for another season of America’s National Pastime. It’s also at this time of the year that I ask myself the same question… why the hell is there not a universal DH rule in Major League Baseball yet?!?
Now hold on, I see you National League fans getting ready to wave your fist at me and tell me to get off your lawn with my crazy idea but hear me out! It is long overdue for this to happen. Yes, I have been a fan of an American League team my entire life (Go Yanks!) which makes me a bit bias, but I’d argue it’s a different perspective to the game. It’s a much more entertaining perspective. Not all NL fans are against this idea, many get it. Others have this romantic obsession with pitchers hitting and argue that it's the way the game was meant to be played (sort of). No current version of any sport is what it was when it was created. The game has evolved and one thing that has never ever evolved is the level of hitting talent a pitcher brings to the plate. Don’t think so? Here’s my argument:
Pitchers can’t hit…Straight up. They just can’t. National League starters basically get a free out every nine guys for 6 innings. No wonder their ERAs are lower than American League pitchers. (I’m kidding, kinda…) National League pitchers as a group, batted an atrocious .115/.144/.149 last year. TRASH. Literally, the worst hitting position player on every team had a higher batting average than a .115. If MLB seriously wants to appeal the game to a younger generation, then they have to consider this move. It’ll give those at bats to a thirsty hitter who needs them to prove himself but can’t because there is an overpaid vet in his position and an automatic out batting 9th in the lineup. While there are a few pitchers out there that can hit, they’re not really that good. No one is going to tell a guy who can rake he can only do it for a few innings once every 5 days. That’s why guys like Shohei Ohtani choose the route he did of being a full-time hitter and a part-time pitcher. If you can hit, you need to be hitting every day. I know many NL fans get excited over 3rd inning bunts and late game double switched, but you know what gets everyone excited, homers.
Pitchers aren’t trained to hit. From the time a pitcher steps on to the field for the first time in Little League and continue throughout high school, college and the minors, they are playing with a DH on their squad. What blows my mind is that even the minor league affiliates of the NL teams use a DH. By the time pitchers have to actually hit, they may have actually done it in game a hand full of times since Little League. This poses many more serious issues than the fact these pitchers are going to embarrass themselves at the plate. They don’t practice hitting every day so they look ridiculous and it can cause some devastating injuries. While pitchers are athletic, so much of running the bases and sliding is muscle memory and you have to do it right or risk career altering injuries. You jam a finger sliding, you can’t pitch, you break an ankle running the bases, you can’t pitch. If the injury is bad enough, the pitcher could never be the same again. Just ask Chien Ming Wang (former Yankee great). Wang had back to back 19 game seasons before he got hurt running the bases against the then NL Houston Astros and was never the same again. #StillSalty
MLB was debating making this rule change for the upcoming season during the winter meetings, but decided against it. I’m glad they did. If they’re going to make the change they need to do it right and announce it AT LEAST a full season in advance. This way National League teams will have a chance to adjust their rosters and be prepared for it. The universal DH rule change is really just a matter of time. It’s going to happen. As a matter of fact, you’ve heard it here first. I will predict that MLB will announce the rule change some time this upcoming offseason. It just has to happen, then they can focus on another big rule change… 3 batter minimums for all pitchers, but that’s for another post. Love what I’m saying? Think I’m an idiot” Just want to troll? Leave your thoughts a comment below and let me know!
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