Brent's take: It's time for baseball to accept the DH in both leagues
Baseball is reportedly considering using a universal designated hitter for a shortened 2020 season.
I say make the change permanent.
I don’t say this lightly. As a Kansas City fan, I was disappointed when the 1998 realignment shifted the Milwaukee Brewers — not the Royals — to the National League. Having exclusively followed an American League team, I wanted to taste the purer version of the game with its double switches, pinch hitters and all other things I romanticized.
But the biggest baseball tradition of all is change — a livelier ball, racial integration, the modern reliever, analytics, on and on…
Because of the DH, we’ve had David Ortiz, Edgar Martinez and Hal McRae. Sure, moments like a 42-year-old Bartolo Colon homering are great. A career of Big Papi is greater.
The NL game wastes a lot of our time. The No. 9 spot in the order is generally putrid (Colorado pitchers hit .130 last year), but the No. 8 spot is also impacted. Rockies’ No. 8 hitters last year, despite hitting .230, drew 62 walks — only the No. 3 spot drew more. This is a tradition worth keeping?
Imagine football demanding someone from the offensive or defensive depth charts handle punts and kicks. Or the NBA mandating that one out of every nine possessions a point guard defend Shaq. We want to watch the best at the height of their crafts, not fish out of water.
The biggest issue is the lack of uniformity in the rule. In the World Series, with everything on the line, one team is always playing a style to which it is unaccustomed.
Major League Baseball needs to pick one or the other. Now is a great opportunity to embrace change, again.
Lindsey's take: Let them hit!
Growing up watching the Phillies in the National League, that nine-hole spot when the pitcher stepped to the plate was typically the time to check your phone, run to the bathroom or grab a beer.
A pseudo 7th-inning stretch at the end of the lineup.
Sure, it’s not the most exciting part of the game — and to a non-baseball fan, it’s downright unbearable — but every now and then we get a piece of magic.
I will never forget seeing Joe Blanton hit a homer during Game 4 of the 2008 World Series. Or watching Cliff Lee pinch hit for the Phils the year he came in third in NL Cy Young voting.
But that’s just my Philly bias talking.
Beyond the fun of seeing a guy like Bartolo Colon stretch a grounder up the middle to a single, watching pitchers hit is a more pure form of baseball. What we grew up playing in our backyards or in overgrown city parks. Everybody hits.
And yes, I know it’s unusual for any pitcher to be a threat at the plate, but with a pitcher in the lineup stems a strategy that, to me, makes baseball all the more fun.
Watching opposing managers try to pitch around the lineup to get to the "easy out," or NL managers deciding a starting pitcher’s fate while considering the game score and an obvious dip at the end of the order. And don’t get me started on the double switch.
Without a pitcher in the lineup you take away some of that strategy, and a little bit of magic.