The baseball owners are going meet this weekend at Del Boca Vista to discuss how filthy rich they all are, and for the Wilpons to screen the new “Madoff” mini-series.
Among the other things they’re going to discuss1 is bringing the designated hitter to the National League.
As fans of the Chicago Cubs, we should be all for this. Â The Cubs have a guy who could dominate that position for the next decade.
The designated hitter has been used in the American League since 1973. Â The great Ron Blomberg was the first one, ever.
This guy is the guy they wanted to have hit instead of pitchers.
The idea was that offense was down and getting rid of pitchers trying to hit would increase offense and make the game more exciting and fans would come to games and be so enraptured at the sight of a guy who doesn’t play in the field but only bats, that they’d throw their underwear on the field.
Since 1973, practically ever level of baseball has adopted the DH. Â Little leagues, high schools, college, the minor leagues, Japan, everybody. Â The only league where you can’t have a guy bat for your pitcher is the National League. Â It seems absurd that they’re the only ones left. Â So they should just cave, and use the DH and then both leagues will play by the same rules, and everybody will be happy, right?
Oh, screw that.
I don’t hate the DH. Â If the owners decide to use it, I’ll be annoyed, but I’ll get over it. Â But I still think it’s a gimmick, and it’s unnecessary (which I think is part of the definition of gimmick), and I don’t mind watching pitchers hit, because they’re baseball players, and baseball players are supposed to do three things. Â Field a position, take their turn at bat, touch their balls a lot.
I’ve never seen a game ruined because a pitcher had to bat. Â It sucks sometimes when they come up in a big spot, but it’s part of the game. Â This is an effort to fix something that’s not broken.
Remember John Lackey losing his shit when Jason Hammel got that hit off of him in game four? Â Of course you do, it was one of the greatest things we’ve ever seen. Â He was so mad, I thought he was going to leave his current wife instead of waiting for her to get a life threatening disease.
The DH is a matter of taste, I suppose. Â There’s no right or wrong answer.
Except that advocating for the DH is the wrong answer.
Take Jon Lester for example. Â If he never had to bat, we’d never know how embarrassingly terrible he is at it. We’d just think he was a guy who can’t throw to first base. Â Instead, we know he’s a guy who can’t throw to first base or hit. Â And I’m fine with that. Â Hell, Jose Macias couldn’t hit and he made three and a half million dollars.
The Cubs are actually perfectly set up to use a DH. Â Schwarber could be the primary DH, but with guys like Ben Zobrist and Javy Baez, Joe Maddon could rotate them around the field and plug whoever needs a day off into the DH spot and not skip a beat.
On the other hand, can you imagine what the 2003 Cubs would have done with a DH? Â What Dusty Baker could have done was use it to rest Moises Alou and Sammy Sosa from time to time, but you know damn well he’d have just used Lenny Harris there every damned day. Â No matter what the rules are, stupid will seek its own level.
Anyway, even if they decide they want it, they have to negotiate it into the collective bargaining agreement, so it would be 2017 at the earliest before we’d see an NL DH. Â And this is baseball. Â They take forever to make a decision on anything.
So until then, enjoy the sight of Trevor Cahill trying to figure out which end of the bat to hold. Â I don’t mind. Â I still like it when baseball players have to actually play baseball.