Saturday, May 17, 2008

To DH or Not To DH?

Since 1973, the designated hitter has been a part of Major League Baseball, but only in the American League in regular season play. Isn’t it time to unite baseball on this rule? Other than the All-Star game and the World Series, the designated hitter is not present in the National League, except when a National League team plays in an American League park during the regular season. The baseball purists will argue of the negative affect the D.H. has on the game. Since the inception of the D.H. rule, batting averages in the American League are higher than those in the National League. The advantages in the American League can be discussed and argued but isn’t it time to unite on this rule?
With inter-league play, the exclusion of the D.H. in National League parks makes the ninth spot in the line-up for American League teams pretty much an automatic out. Some American League pitchers are coached not to swing by their managers in fear they will risk injury. Today, Fausto Carmona of the Cleveland Indians batted in Cincinnati. Upon connecting with a weak swing, Carmona broke into little more than a walk down the first base line and drew the boos of the crowd. Cleveland has lost both games to Cincinnati by 1 and 2 runs.
What are the options? Get rid of rule 6.10 completely? Keep it the way it is? Make the D.H. optional to all 30 Major League teams? It is time to unite.

How important is inter-league play?
The battle of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Missouri, etc. are all strong arguments for inter-league play, mainly because these battles put butts in seats. But it has limited some of the older rivalries by diminishing the frequency of these teams playing in the regular season. For example, the Indians played only 7 games with, and are done playing the New York Yankees for the regular season. These series games always filled the ballpark in Cleveland, even when the Indians were not a winning team. Perhaps inter-league play should not take place until the D.H. issue is resolved.

What about the bats?!
Bats are shattering at a high rate since maple bat usage has increased. Serious injuries are being risked as fielders avoid shattered projectiles while fielding their positions.

All of these issues need to be addressed by the commissioner. Bud Selig, the sports world awaits action.

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