Strikeout the DH

Mark McFarland 2

Column by Mark McFarland, Assistant Sports Editor

Baseball has been America’s pastime since before Major League Baseball was founded in 1903.  Much of the game is the same today; sadly one thing changed, the development of the designated hitter.

It took the American League 70 years to decide to take the pitcher out of the lineup and add the DH. In 1973, the AL did what it wanted to do and boasted a higher batting average than the National League. Attendance in the AL continued to rise above the NL. The NL decided to have a vote in 1980 to see if they would adopt the DH as well.

Voting didn’t go as planned, as only nine teams voted in the process. Four teams voted for, five against.

The St. Louis Cardinals fired their general manager for being one of the four teams in favor of the DH going to the NL.

In the first year, the AL had the DH the AL hit .259 and the NL hit .254. Even with the pitcher in the lineup the NL only hit five fewer points than the AL.

Many people believe that with the DH in the NL there will be fewer injuries to pitchers.

Injuries like Adam Wainwright, starting pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, tearing his Achilles tendon last season while he was up to bat. This is one of the arguments for the DH to be league-wide.

It is a sad day when kids who are good at both hitting and pitching in high school get to college and have to decide which one they want to do. Baseball was invented without the DH and did just fine without it before 1973.

The AL has been ruined since it adopted the DH. The NL is still in baseball’s purest form and this is should never change.

Baseball was all about strategy; now it’s down to half of baseball being all about the strategy.

Baseball is more interesting when watching what the manager has to go through in order to decide if he wants to keep his pitcher out there for the eighth inning and let him hit in the top of ninth in a one-run game, or to bring in a pinch hitter and have the setup man or closer come into the game. From the fifth inning on in a NL game is some of the most interesting and intense baseball anyone will watch.

Watching the manager pace back and forth in the dugout trying to figure out his next move.

Who should pinch hit? Do we need to pinch hit? Strategy is important to the game of baseball because it is already a slow-moving game.

People believe baseball is boring; the strategy makes the game more interesting and easier to watch all the way through.

However, in an AL game, the manager has to decide when he wants his next piece of bubble gum, his next handful of sunflower seeds and when to bring in a pitcher. Half the time they don’t even need to think about the pitcher.

Another thing someone might see is the AL manager going out to argue with an umpire while standing there looking baffled while he waits for the dugout to tell him whether or not he needs to challenge the call. How does this seem fun? How do people believe this is how baseball is supposed to be played?

Baseball has had its issues in the recent years, why make it even worse?

The MLB has just barely made it out alive after the steroid era. It put instant replay in the game and now it wants to put the DH in both leagues.

People will say it works well in the AL.

Yes it does, but it makes their game more boring than the NL game. Just because it works in one league doesn’t mean it will work in the other. Many NL fans would hate it if the DH ever came to their league; they wouldn’t want to watch a game on TV let alone pay copious amounts of money to drive to an MLB stadium and sit there for two to four hours watching a brand of baseball they don’t stand for.

Major League Baseball should be warned; the NL should be warned. If this change happens, baseball will not only lose money, but could no longer be America’s pastime.

The fans of baseball and fans of the NL beg of Major League Baseball, do not “fix” what isn’t broken. Do not bring the DH to NL, it is not welcome and will not be supported.