Alright, ready to hear my thoughts on the DH? I have to admit, folks, the dearth of hands shooting up out there is a bit disconcerting. But, having never been one to allow a lack of interest to stop me, I’m going to push on anyway. This isn’t even really a take that needs a great deal of explication, but I don’t think I can do it justice on Twitter, so here we are.
Theo Epstein sort of deflected a question at Cubs Convention about his feelings on the DH in the NL (which may or may not be part of the video I captured), essentially saying that he didn’t think it’d be coming anytime soon. Then again, commissioner Rob Manfred shared recently that the issue could be a part of the new collective bargaining agreement that will govern the game starting in 2017. It’s also no secret that the idea has been gaining traction¹ in baseball circles, and that goes for both execs and fans.
“Twenty years ago, when you talked to National League owners about the DH, you’d think you were talking some sort of heretical comment,” Manfred explained Thursday. “But we have a newer group. There has been turnover, and I think our owners in general have demonstrated a willingness to change the game in ways that we think would be good for the fans, always respecting the history and traditions of the sport.”
Of course, not everyone in the National League is receptive to the idea of change, particularly when said change promises to defile the sanctity of the game.
“We would like to remain real baseball,” Phillies chairman Dave Montgomery harrumphed while simultaneously clutching his pearls and shaking his pitchfork at the progress monster lurking on the horizon.
Because of course he did. A Phillies exec talking about “real” baseball has gotta be the Philliest thing ever said by anyone not immortalized by a statue for his role in a series of movies based in that city. Actually, you could’ve told me that quote was from the guy who made the sign about Jeter being classy enough to be a Cardinal and I’d buy that too.
When it comes to baseball, or, really, life in general, it’s probably not fair to call me progressive. I’m not a stodgy traditionalist either, which I suppose puts me right in the middle. And as much as I’m not a big fan of crowds, I kinda wish I had a few more people hanging out here with me. Why? Glad you asked.
In this age of instant gratification, it seems to me that opinions are getting hotter (real baseball) and coming faster. From both sides. It doesn’t matter if you’re conservative or liberal or a feminist or racist or just a dude-bro with a head full of a warped combination of testosterone and idealism. Anyone can just fire off an opinion without regard for how well-done it is. The resulting take-cicles — hot on the outside, frozen in the middle — are the scourge of social media.
Not that I’ve got a problem with opinions, mind you, just the motivation behind some of them. It’s as though we’re in this race to see who can be the most divisive or contrarian, all for the sake of being divisive and contrarian. That’s kind of where we’re at in conversations about the DH coming to the National League. Or maybe that’s just me. You’re either for the designated hitter or against it, and you know you’re right. Except for you. But you, there, you are right, so I guess we should really have you typing up the rest of this piece. Oh, okay, I guess I’ll keep going.
Alright, enough of the preamble. You ready for my thoughts on the matter? My thoughts are…that I really don’t care. Boom! Earth-shattering, right? I suppose I could just end it there, but I do feel somewhat obligated to expound just a bit more.
The thing is, I’ll be perfectly happy whether the NL adopts the DH or keeps things just the way they are now. I’m pretty sure my life will continue on along the same path regardless of the number of professional hitters the Cubs have in the lineup. That said, it’s hard not to get a little giddy thinking about being able to load up all that talent without a hiccup. I mean…………..sorry, got a little wistful there.
On the other hand, I do kind of like the idea of having the pitcher hit² and all the resultant strategery that comes along with it. Unless Tony La Russa is managing, in which case the prospect of changing pitchers 15 times every half inning can be a bit tiresome. The advantage may be negligible in a small sample size, but I’m inclined to believe the smartest team is going to have the upper hand over the course of a season. The Cubs, in case you weren’t yet aware, employ some smart dudes.
So I’m cool with it if the NL maintains the status quo and I’m equally chill if they go the way of the Junior Circuit. Given all that’s going on in the world, it’s not worth my time to get worked up about the DH. I’ve got far more important things on my mind, like what kind of exotic sports car Lance Briggs is going to crash next. Or how Stacey Dash feels about Black History Month.
¹I love that the featured image/video for that article is of War Bear, since I used one of him as well. On the other hand, I sort of feel responsible for promulgating the idea that the guy can’t play in the field and should just be a hitter. Then again, I’m guessing that, like, 200 people will read this (and that’s probably a pretty optimistic estimate), so I doubt I’ll damage his reputation too much. But the idea of
²As I have said, I can absolutely respect and appreciate the desire to see the DH come to the Senior Circuit, but if your argument is based upon the idea that it’ll reduce the injury risk for pitchers I may have to ask you to stop reading. Crap, this is a footnote, so that means you’re already almost done. Just because Waino went down the draino following an ill-fated hack doesn’t mean we need to eliminate hitting from a pitcher’s list of duties. I mean, if that’s the line of reasoning we’re going to use, we should probably just have them stop throwing. After all, more pitchers are hurt throwing the ball than swinging at it (sorry I don’t have a fancy chart to illustrate this and, as such, am stepping out onto a limb of unsupported conjecture).