This week, MLB players’ union leader Tony Clark said that he expected the issue of extending the designated hitter to the National League to come up in the 2016 collective bargaining round. Baseball adopted Rule 6.10 which permitted leagues to allow designated hitters. The American League chose to do that beginning in 1973. Opinions (100 words maximum) from every writer on the Redleg Nation staff:
Jeremy Conley:Ã‚Â IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m the exception in this debate. I used to think I could never accept the DH in the NL, and now IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve changed sides. Growing up, I liked the differences in the leagues, but interleague games ruined that already; baseball isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a game for purists anymore. Once I let go of the notion that the leagues are different, the DH made sense. It increases offense, prevents injuries by letting players get rest, and it lets managers be flexible with their rosters. You lose some double switches, but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d rather see players win games than managers lose them with bonehead moves.
Greg Dafler: Ã‚Â I’ve been at peace with the NL adopting the DH rule since they announced 15 team leagues and year-round interleague play back in late 2011. This rule isn’t just about the NL versus the AL. None of the minor league affiliates follow the NL rule. Major League Baseball is in a situation where they ask high school and college kids to NOT bat (or rarely bat) for a few years of pitching development before being asked to step to the plate against major league caliber pitchers. It is time for the NL to take pitchers out of the batters box.
Tom Diesman:Ã‚Â I would be a more staunch supporter of the reverse, removing the DH from the AL.Ã‚Â That however will never be allowed by the players union.Ã‚Â That said, I support the addition of the DH in the NL.Ã‚Â The reasons being, to level the playing field between the teams during interleague play and to hopefully force the Reds current GM to actually find a legitimate bat for the bench since they currently are inept at bench building and leave themselves at an extreme disadvantage versus AL clubs when the DH is used.
Mark Elliott: As a NL fan, I loved the mystery of the differences between the leagues. John Kruk bailing out of the batterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s box against Randy Johnson in the Ã¢â‚¬â„¢93 ASG is still one of my favorite baseball moments. But with interleague play now every day, that mystery is long gone. It is time to standardize the game. (Wanna bet that a proposal for a 26 man active roster shows up at the same time?)
Jeremy Forbes: I like the idea of making the pitchers fight in their at bats, and the strategy it adds to games, but there’s one number that makes me think the NL needs to adopt the DH. Eleven. As in eleven straight years that the AL has had a winning record against the NL in Interleague Play. The difference between an NL and AL pitcher batting isn’t much, but the difference between an AL DH and an NL bench player is much greater. There’s no way the AL will get rid of the DH, so the NL really has no other choice.
Greg Gajus: Despite being terrified of seeing a Reds lineup with “Skip Schumacher – DH” I am for it.Ã‚Â 1) Having two different rules is a silly relic of the 1970’s.Ã‚Â 2) In a bunt situation, the pitcher bunts.Ã‚Â Starters that are losing in late innings are pinch hit for.Ã‚Â Where is the strategy? DoesÃ‚Â the reveredÃ‚Â double switch matter much?Ã‚Â 3) The teamÃ‚Â building strategy is interesting. Find an Adam Dunn? Use it to rest regulars? Devin Mesoraco, 120 games caught, 150 games played? Put together a platoon?Ã‚Â Trading the DH for Super Twos would be a good deal for the owners.
Doug Gray:Ã‚Â There is no chance that MLB will eliminate the DH position, so it would be great for the NL to adopt it. The DH in the AL allows that league to sign players to longer contracts because later in their careers they can slide them to DH. It gives them an advantage in free agency and allows the entire league to compile talent that the NL simply can’t do, or if they can, they do so with more risk.
Mike Maffie:Ã‚Â Having the DH in the AL but not the NL reminds me more of a John Oliver, Ã¢â‚¬Å“ HowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s this still a thingÃ¢â‚¬Â than a rule in a major professional sport. It complicates cross-league comparisons, influences the labor market, and has at least a marginal effect on the season and postseason outcomes. Could I be convinced that every player should bat? Sure. Could I be convinced that the pitcherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s position is purely defensive and having them bat is boring and bad for baseball? Sure. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t care which side of the fence baseball is on; I just prefer it not be in the middle.
Steve Mancuso: I’m for anything that would avoid me having to watch Aaron Harang hit.
Middle of the Road
Nick Carrington:Ã‚Â The NL adopting the designated hitter seems inevitable, and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve always found it strange that the two leagues play under different rules. But that doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mean I want the DH in the NL or think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a good idea.Ã‚Â I enjoy the strategy forced upon a manager when the pitcher is batting. Also, the DH is not what it used to be. We aren’t seeing many Frank Thomas or Edgar Martinez type hitters in that spot anymore. Instead, we are graced with players like Logan Morrison and teams rotating players.Ã‚Â Does that sound appealing to you?
Nick Doran:Ã‚Â Real baseball players play defense. If a player is too fat, old or clumsy to catch a baseball then he doesn’t belong on the diamond. Running, throwing, diving and leaping are required skills for baseball players. Take away the need to play in the field and you end up with fat, lazy, non-athletic players who would be more at home in a bowling alley or a golf course than on the hallowed grounds of a baseball field.
Wesley Jenkins:Ã‚Â As a pitcher for nearly the entirety of my lengthy but uneventful baseball career, the possible addition of the DH to the NL would seem to be a long awaited development. There is nothing most pitchers hate more than having to fend for themselves at the plate. But yet I would still rather the DH stay out of the National League. Without a DH, there is so much more strategy to the game. Especially as a pitcher, I appreciate the intricacies of a low scoring game. More offense is not always the best solution.
Nick Kirby:Ã‚Â One great thing that separates MLB from other sports is the two leagues play with different rules. It is fun and intriguing to see the managers work the game differently, DH’s play in the field, AL pitchers hit, and debate which NL player will DH for three days. Baseball keeps its tradition. While I am for improving the game, I don’t think the DH does that. The DH in the NL would hurt a smaller market team like the Reds. If they had to pay for another hitter, it would only hurt the Reds from competing with the bigger spenders.
Matt Korte:Ã‚Â As a player, I would love it. As a fan of the game I hate it. As a Reds fan, this would be terrible. The Dodgers or Cubs, teams with big dollars to spend, will add another big bat to their lineup. But teams like the Reds, already cash-strapped, can barely put together eight solid hitters let alone nine. Because of the money players will earn and the careers this will extend, I think the DH in the NL is almost a certainty. But as a practical Reds fan, this would put us at a major disadvantage.
Jason Lawrence:Ã‚Â “I grew up watching mostly National League baseball, so pitchers batting and the strategy that comes with it (bunting, pinch-hitting, double-switching, etc.) is an essential and interesting part of the game to me. American League baseball has always felt a little more sterile and predictable, but I enjoy the small distinction between the two leagues. On the other hand, if MLB plans to implement rules to quicken the game and increase offense, a designated hitter in the National League seems more natural than forcing relievers to face 2 or more batters.”
Jason Linden:Ã‚Â I don’t want the DH in the NL, but I don’t have any good reasons. What it comes down to is that baseball is a game. Games are supposed to be fun. They are supposed to entertain. I’ve always thought the DH was kind of boring, but I also like the quirk of different rules in different leagues. I think having no DH makes things a little more entertaining. But in the end, it doesn’t matter much. I like things how they are, but I’ll get over it if there’s a change.
Chris Wilson:Ã‚Â As a baseball purist, I don’t want to see the DH added to the National League.Ã‚Â I would prefer to see the American League do away with it before seeing it implemented in the NL.Ã‚Â Unfortunately, it appears to be something that will happen sooner or later.Ã‚Â I know it will change the landscape of how the franchise signs players, but the Reds have not exactly been deep in the terms of potential DH types in recent seasons.
That’s what we think, Nation, what say you, should the NL adopt the DH rule?