Legends On Deck

It’s Time The NL Adopted The DH

In May of 2011, reigning Rookie of the Year Buster Posey tore ligaments in his ankle after being run over blocking the plate. The now multiple time all-star would miss the rest of the season. Baseball does not like to lose it’s stars, and shortly after the injury people around baseball started to wonder if the rules concerning home plate collisions needed some updating. It took some time, but in 2014 MLB implemented new rules aimed at protecting catchers from being run over in vulnerable positions. Now a few years removed from the Posey situation, and baseball has lost another star due to an archaic rule in need of changing.

On Saturday night, Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright was at the plate when he hit a pop up to first base. The right-hander had barely made it out of the box when he stumbled and immediately seemed injured. As you probably know by now, the 33-year old Wainwright tore his achilles tendon, requiring surgery that will cost him the remainder of the 2015 season.

My question is- why in 2015, with all the risk pitchers are at just by doing their job of pitching, are we still requiring them to bat for themselves?

It seems pretty simple to me. Hitters hit, pitchers pitch. Being a professional pitcher requires a lot of work, leaving little time to work on hitting. Sure, there are some pitchers who can swing the bat a little, but the majority of pitchers are an easy out. Why subject them to further injury risk by asking them to do something they cannot do at a professional level? The answer seems simple, the American League figured it out in 1973.

The National League needs to adopt the designated hitter.

Sure, baseball purists will ardently oppose this idea, but none of them can come up with valid reasoning. “This is the way it’s always been done” is the most common remark. That simply isn’t good enough for me. Everything evolves. Imagine what the world would be like if we kept doing things because “that’s how it’s always been done”.

There’s also the idea that adding the DH would damage the strategy of managing. You know who usually raises that point? managers. We get it, someone outside of the game can’t possibly understand the complexity of a double switch. It’s not worth risking the health of pitchers making millions of dollars so that a few old men can feel like they’re having an affect on the outcome of the game (they don’t, at least not that significant of one).

There’s plenty of other reasons for adding the DH. Things like adding more jobs for hitters and evening the playing field when it comes to the World Series, where NL teams end up adding a below league average player into their lineup whereas the AL team has a highly paid DH. But none of those reasons is nearly as important as the main reason, the health of pitchers.

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