Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Designated Hitter, Should It Stay or Should It Go?

One more. Peter LC asks,

"With the beginning of baseball season looming - what do people think about the designated hitter? Good, bad or indifferent? Is the American League a better game than the National League because of the dh or visa versa? "
I have to admit I am of two minds here. On the one hand, pure baseball without the designated hitter is a much more cerebral game. There is a great element of strategy that is not present in AL baseball. Managers do less managing. You don't see bunts, double switches, and single runs mean less. As someone who loves the game for its intricacies, I do prefer National League play for those reasons -- it puts pieces back on the chess board.

I'm not moved by the "AL ball is fun to watch from a home run derby perspective because you don't have the automatic out, but rather an additional slugger" line. But I will agree with the sentiment that it allows certain players who rightfully deserve it, a chance to continue to play. Think of someone like Harold Baines who was a master hitter and had his career lengthened by at least five years by the DH rule. He was productive as a designated hitter despite having bad knees and it does seem a shame to limit play to young guys when there are veterans like that who contribute to the team not only with their bat, but also with their leadership.

Most people are strongly pro- or anti- here, I come down as weakly anti. What do you folks think?