The Designated Hitter

 

I heard Jon Miller (the radio man for the SF Giants baseball broadcasts) killing some air time a couple of days ago by making a comparison in favor of the Designated Hitter rule that’s used in the American League now, and has been for quite a while. His comparison was that a quarterback in the NFL doesn’t play defense, so why should a pitcher in MLB take a turn at bat? He seems to think that this is a valid comparison.


I disagree.


In the not really distant past, football players went “both ways”, in the parlance, playing both offense and defense. In high school, I did that too. Lots of us did. Things changed in football, and specialists became the manner of play. In football you’ve got an offensive team, a defensive team, and “special” teams for kickoffs, kickoff returns, punts, punts returns, field goals, extra points—Etcetras. It’s endless.


That’s fine for football. I don’t care. The NFL has been off my personal radar for so long that I don’t even know if they have geographical divisions anymore, or different leagues, or if they’ve re-named the arrangements with cute names like they do in hockey.


Really.


I don’t give a crap about what they do in football.


But I do care about baseball.


And I don’t like the Designated Hitter rule (among other recent changes). If the concept is to take the weak hitter out of the line-up, then there really should be 3 DH’s on every team—One for the pitcher, and one each for the two middle infielders, who are notoriously crappy hitters anyhow.


But, why stop there if the football comparison is valid? Have specialty teams just like football. A HITTING team, comprised of only the best hitters you’ve got on the team. A FIELDING team, comprised solely of the best defensive players you can hire. A RUNNING team that will be staffed by the fastest base-stealing legs on the planet.


True, rosters will need to be enlarged, and true, there will be no more real baseball players…..Only specialists, but what the hell? Right?


I also understand that, in the event of extra innings in baseball, they’ll start every inning with a runner on second base (I was going to write a “man” on second, but, sexism, you see) like they do in softball, and in the event of a double-header, the games will be only 7 innings in length. But those issues are better saved for another day.


Inter-League games that count in the standings…….That’s one more piece of idiocy that needs to be re-examined.


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