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  #1  
Old 04-12-2012, 07:13 AM
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Default Designated Hitter Compromise

This has bothered me for 30+ years and no doubt will continue to bother me. Why do the National and American Leagues have a different set of rules, specifically the designated hitter. I have to admit that there are valid arguments for both camps.

Pitchers are not as adept at hitting as they used to be, because the minor league and college structure uses the DH exclusively, I think. Watching some pitchers strike out 80% of the time is not too exciting.

But managing that spot in the order in the National League is interesting, with double switches, taking a pitcher out of the game early to get a bat in that position for offense, etc.

But I contend that both are flawed, a pitcher that can't hit and a hitter that can't field (or doesn't have too).

A solution, probably just as "radical" as the designated hitter was in the day, would eliminate both flaws.

Why not eliminate both the designated hitter and the ninth spot in the batter order. In other words eight batters bat and one pitcher pitches. No lame hitting pitchers and no designated hitter.

Bring on the tomatoes, I realize this would create other problems. The perfect game would require the pitcher to face batters a fourth time in the ninth inning. The designated hitters union would be eliminated and who knows what else.

But at least the two leagues and all of baseball could play by the same rules.
Think about it.

I'm a purist and never liked the DH in the first place. But going back to NL style ball in all leagues ain't going to happen.

With this compromise, at least everyone would be playing the same game.
Food for thought and something for your water to wash down.
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  #2  
Old 04-12-2012, 10:23 AM
BleedinBlue BleedinBlue is offline
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Default Not buying it

I hate the DH and I am similarly not in favor of this idea.

My biggest issue with the DH is that American League managers have to do so little managing during the game while NL managers have much tougher decisions to make to get through the ballgame. Last night's Dodgers/Pirates games is a perfect example. LA was ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the 6th with 2 outs and the bases loaded. Chad Billingsley's spot was due up. Don Mattingly had to make the tough decision to either leave the pitcher in and probably not get any runs in the inning or pinch hit for a pitcher who is having a great start and hope the bullpen can match what Billingsley was throwing. When the PH failed to bring in any runs it wasn't looking like a wise decision. Fortunately the Dodgers bullpen did their job and shut out Pittsburgh the rest of the way to preserve Billingsley's win.

To me this is what baseball is about and what I like. The ability to second guess the managers for the way they manage the game. In the AL this wouldn't have even come up for debate since the 9 hitter would have just taken his turn and the pitcher would have gone back out there in the top of the 7th.

Personally I have no issue watching an incapable pitcher taking his cuts at the plate. In fact it rewards teams that work with their pitchers to develop adequate skills in bunting and making contact to move runners. Also, the mere fact that the pitcher has to get into the batters box requires that he take some responsibility for his actions while on the mound.

I honestly don't buy into the arguments in favor of the DH but feel the Players Union would never agree to drop the DH rule because it would eliminate 14 (soon to be 15) high paying jobs for hitters who can't field.
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  #3  
Old 04-12-2012, 04:59 PM
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I agree on hating the DH but I am a National League fan so I don't have to see it in action very often.
But I have a totally different idea on a totally different subject.
How about increasing the rosters to 26?
My reasoning for that is now teams are carrying 12 pitchers when they used to carry 10. The bench and pinch hitting have suffered as teams have stuffed their rosters with extra relief pitchers due to pitch counts being so limiting. The pinch hitting options are limited now, many bench players play out of position when they come into a game. One extra player on the roster could restore something to the game.
Any comments?
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  #4  
Old 04-12-2012, 07:04 PM
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Default More Random thoughts

My original post was more of a random thought, expression of discontent with both the DH and the fact that a professional sport plays a World Series with two leagues that are not playing the same game.

Other random thoughts come to mind. What if the DH were required to play in the field, but he could be used anywhere on the field as a "rover" and be allowed to change his position based on the batter and the situation. He could be a fourth outfielder for power hitters, a short right of left fielder instead of infield shifts for dead pull hitters, or as an additional infielder in bunting situations. Fielder placement would add some of the lost managerial input that could be interesting. A nine man line up would be preserved.

Adding to the roster (to 26) as mentioned would hopefully add another bat to the bench (and not another one batter south paw to the bull pen). This would possibly result in one more platoon player who might be used as a late inning pinch hitter and replacement thereafter. His use would be based either on a lefty-righty matchup or as a superior defensive player. It might help.

I agree with Richard that the longer bench in the bullpen and the shorter bench in the dugout further detracts from managerial offensive options. Add to this that many managers are reluctant to use their second catcher as a pinch hitter, in case he is needed due to injury of the first catcher, and you're left with usually a couple of platoon players and perhaps a utility guy capable of filling in in case of injury. Not many options.

Those of us who grew up with the game in the fifties and sixties remember 25 man rosters with 8-10 pitchers, when relief pitchers (2-3/team) could pitch 2 or even 3 innings and the long reliever was the fifth or sixth starter. Two or three late inning defensive replacements, a utility infielder, three catchers on the roster and a couple of pinch hitters sitting on the bench.

Nostaglia is the past however, and we aren't going back. Instituting the DH was a mistake and using the DH in only one league was a second mistake IMO. Imagine a Super Bowl where one team was required to put 8 players on the line of scrimmage and the other was allowed to use only six.

Let's see what other thoughts are out there, realizing that all our solutions must be considered fantasy.
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  #5  
Old 04-15-2012, 10:12 AM
steve B steve B is offline
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Some interesting ideas.

I'm not sure about going to 8 batters. The game has so much that seems to revolve around 3 and 9 that having an 8 batter lineup would feel very wrong.
It would also change the number of at bats, and when the later at bats happened. Strategically you might not want a power hitter in the 3 and 4 spots anymore, depending on lineup you might want them in 2-3or maybe 6-7

Putting the DH in the field makes it Softball.
One league I played in had a DH and an extra hitter. We got to year 3 before someone pointed out we were also letting the pitcher hit.....I don't think the 12 man lineup helped us.


Increasing the roster? That could actually happen, the players union would be for it, and probably some owners. Of course there would be more grousing about playing time. Some teams would add pitchers, some batters.

How about reducing the rosters? That would force teams to carry fewer specialized pitchers. That would make the choice of substitutions more interesting since they'd have to decide on the timing. Lineups would change too, likely heading toward more alternating left/right than now, or loading a certain section of the order with lefthand batters.

While the NL game is more complex and traditional, I think it's that style of game that has led to the abundance of specialized pitching and pitch counts, neither of which I'm all that happy with.

Steve B
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  #6  
Old 04-17-2012, 08:32 PM
Runscott Runscott is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardSimon View Post
I agree on hating the DH but I am a National League fan so I don't have to see it in action very often.
But I have a totally different idea on a totally different subject.
How about increasing the rosters to 26?
My reasoning for that is now teams are carrying 12 pitchers when they used to carry 10. The bench and pinch hitting have suffered as teams have stuffed their rosters with extra relief pitchers due to pitch counts being so limiting. The pinch hitting options are limited now, many bench players play out of position when they come into a game. One extra player on the roster could restore something to the game.
Any comments?
I am a National League fan for one last season, then my 'stros move to the AL West and become part of the DH 'Experiment'.

I don't like the idea of expanding the roster, for too many reasons to list here, but it goes back to the evolution of the game since the days when they played with 10 players. It's been a long slide into ball-lessness ever since. There is a very interesting interview on the 'Glory of Their Times' CD where one of the old players being interviewed (around 1961) is complaining about how modern players have to rest for every little injury. I'm sure the guys who played in 1961 feel the same way about today's players.

The Mariners 2nd-basemen sat out a game the other day because his neck was stiff - he had slept on it wrong. Poor baby.
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  #7  
Old 04-18-2012, 01:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Runscott View Post
I am a National League fan for one last season, then my 'stros move to the AL West and become part of the DH 'Experiment'.

I don't like the idea of expanding the roster, for too many reasons to list here, but it goes back to the evolution of the game since the days when they played with 10 players. It's been a long slide into ball-lessness ever since. There is a very interesting interview on the 'Glory of Their Times' CD where one of the old players being interviewed (around 1961) is complaining about how modern players have to rest for every little injury. I'm sure the guys who played in 1961 feel the same way about today's players.

The Mariners 2nd-basemen sat out a game the other day because his neck was stiff - he had slept on it wrong. Poor baby.



[i]The Mariners 2nd-basemen sat out a game the other day because his neck was stiff - he had slept on it wrong. Poor baby.

The Joe Mauer excuse. The Iron Horse he is Not.
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Last edited by travrosty; 04-18-2012 at 01:00 AM.
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Old 06-13-2012, 01:03 PM
dabigyankeeman dabigyankeeman is offline
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Default

I am even more radical. I say expand the rosters, and make it like football, have an offensive and a defensive team.

Imagine having an incredible fielder at every position, and an incredible batter at every spot in the lineup.

To me that would yield the most exciting baseball ever!
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