In a League of Your Own: Why the NL shouldn’t adopt a Designated Hitter

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Since Ron Blomberg stepped into the box on Opening Day of the 1973 season as the league’s first ever designated hitter, there has been this debate by many regarding whether or not the entire league should adopt this rule. As a player and a fan of the sport, I personally enjoy the changes to a team’s strategy that an interleague series offers to the managers. Whether it is to start David Ortiz at First Base while playing in San Francisco, or to let Bartolo Colon take that at bat in the 6th, you truly never know what to expect.

As a fan, you always notice how competitive a player is when you watch them play in person or on TV. When you think about it, you can tell a difference by league as well. Take a guy like Max Scherzer in comparison to David Price. Scherzer is way louderĀ and vicious when you think about their past run-ins. Or think guys like Madison Bumgarner, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke or Jake Arrieta, who aren’t afraid to get in your face and talk a little shit every once in a while. But the question for me isn’t why don’t both leagues have the Designated Hitter rule, but why should they? There are several factors that go into this argument; the most annoying being “Pitchers can’t hit”. I beg to differ.

During his career, Madison Bumgarner has hit 14 career home runs going into the 2017 season including the following:

  1. Two Homers off of Clayton Kershaw (Who has 3 Cy Youngs)

2. 4 Home runs against the Rockies. (Only 1 at Coors Field)

3. A Home Run off Zach Greinke on an 0-2 count (In 2014, an 0-2 count had the 2nd lowest Home Run total of any count (179) only a 3-0 count was lower at 25 the whole year).

NL Designated Hitter Madison Bumgarner

 

Nowadays, we as baseball fans have lost the art of strategy that baseball has had for the last 44 years since this rule was instituted. It is seemingly much easier to stay, bring on the steroids and lets see how far they fly. A lot of us have also seemingly lost our integrity in this new culture shift in the last 20 years, so let’s not get too ahead of ourselves now. Who are we to say that the role of a manager should be decreased by the ability to plug in Nelson Cruz or Mark Trumbo and just say “Hit 40 Home Runs and drive in 110 Runs a year?” Why do that when we can have Bartolo Colon out there laying down sac bunts every 5th day? In my eyes, the steroid era has made everyone grow accustomed to the idea that every Designated Hitter going to be capable of producing those kind of stats, when in reality it is a gift that not every single player possesses.

The All Star game every year has a way of making the World Series interesting, since they began playing the game for home field advantage a few years back. Many people are very against this and it ties into the DH rule in a big way, for example:

Adam Wainwright is accused of grooving Derek Jeter a fastball in the 2014 All star game that led to a Jeter Double down the right field line. The very next at bat, your All Star Game MVP Mike Trout steps in and hits a 3-2 count Triple off the right field wall that gives the AL a 1-0 lead, and the AL wins that game and secures Home Field advantage for the World Series. In this instance, this rule seemingly works out for the AL, until they meet who..? Madison Bumgarner.