Commentary – The Designated Hitter

There seems to be some sort of momentum in allowing a designated hitter in the National League.  Apparently it will make interleague play easier, and make the game more ‘exciting’.  While there is no doubt that MLB is having a hard time marketing their product, artificially adding more offense is the wrong direction.  Instead, this humble writer’s opinion is to go the other way – abolish the designated hitter altogether.

I hate the designated hitter, probably because I never pitched.  The DH is the second worst thing in baseball (free agency is numero uno).  I played catcher for a couple years in high school, which besides wearing out my knees, helped develop my distaste for pitchers.  Especially pitchers that thought they were untouchable.

Roy Halladay – ‘A’ for effort.

In little league, the pitchers were typically the best players on the team, and they alternated taking the mound with the second best player on the team over at shortstop.  JV and Legion ball is when the pitchers started to separate themselves from the commoners.  They didn’t field grounders.  They didn’t hit in the cages.  All they did was run, that weird drill where they cover first on a ground ball to the first baseman, and pitch.  And bitch.

The greatest move ever made.

In the immortal words of Skip – the head coach of the Durham Bulls (in the movie): “This is a simple game: You throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball”.  I don’t know a better way to sum up the great game of baseball.  My opinion – if you step on the field, you need a glove AND a bat.  Hold your own.  I would look at it as a blow to my manhood if someone had to hit for me.  “No, no, pitcher – you stay on the bench.  I’ll go hit for you.  Can I get you anything else?”.  Clearly I would refuse to play for an American League team.  Sure they score more runs, but it’s such a weak move.

One man that should be an example to every pitcher: Tim Hudson, the pitcher for the Atlanta Braves.

In 1997, the then Auburn Tiger was named the top player in college baseball with a 2.97 ERA, 15 wins, and a .396 batting average.  Tim Hudson is a ballplayer.  Yes, he pitches, but have you ever seen him uncomfortable while at bat?  Lord no – he wants to hit.  He dares the pitcher to hang a curve ball.  He knows how to take a pitch.  He runs out ground balls.

So pardon the rant, but the thought of bringing the DH to the National League touches a nerve.  What do you think?  I’m I being to much of a traditionalist?  Am I right on point?  Lemme know.



  1. EJI
    06/06/2013 / 9:15 AM

    Who da thunk.. a little auburn love on this blog. I just shed of a tear of happiness.

    Seriously, great work.

  2. Janvier
    06/06/2013 / 9:27 AM

    I completely agree with you. Designated hitter is an abomination to baseball.

  3. Steve K.
    06/06/2013 / 9:58 AM

    As a Phillies fan, I greatly appreciate the shout-out to Roy Halladay, the man is a machine that runs on dedication and produces humility as a by product.

    But I think you’re overlooking our other pitching/offensive phenom, Cliff Lee. He’s slowed down a bit the past two years (along with the rest of the Phils) but in 2011 he had 2 home runs, 7 RBIs, a stolen base, and an OPS+ of 39. It got to a point where Charlie Manuel would put him in to pinch hit (which, I swear had nothing to do with Manuel’s usual senility).

  4. MPR
    06/06/2013 / 11:57 AM

    I agree too. Make the pitchers play.

  5. Pierre
    06/06/2013 / 12:13 PM

    Talk about touching a nerve… I am barely old enough to remember the introduciton of the DH, and I thought it was a travesty at that time. Growing up near Chicago, I watched almost every Cubs game, either on WGN or in person, and I would hurry home from school to see the many afternoon playoff and World Series games. Catcher was the only position I never played; though I’m not a big guy or a particularly gifted athlete. I did pitch regularly (and still do, in my geezer’s league.) The problem with baseball is that every move toward improving popularity is transparent, trite, and short-term. My 10-year-old son is a far better player than I ever was, but we live in DC (Eastern time), where he can’t see any good playoff or WS games because they’re on too late. He’s considering switching to basketball as his main sport. Basketball didn’t get to be the most popular sport overnight. Larry Stern saw the popularity of Bird and Magic and Jordan and made a long-term plan to build the fan base. He fined players heavily for public stupidity and created role models of the players who were good candidates. I’m not saying Bud Selig’s job is easy, but he seems to have no long-range plan to bulid popularity, relying instead of idiotic gimmicks like the DH, the wild cards, the All-Star/Series home team shuffle, and $350 box seats — yet one more reminder that some people are more equal than others. It’s the “sports business,” with a silent “s-p-o-r-t-s.” Maybe I was just a kid, but I seem to remember a time when it was just a game.

  6. Madison Roberts
    06/06/2013 / 1:54 PM

    Great article.

  7. Travis Tarver
    06/06/2013 / 2:30 PM

    The travesty is that the DH is present in one league but not the other. It would be more fair rational and fair to either have the DH in both leagues or neither.

  8. steve
    06/06/2013 / 3:42 PM

    Thank you–the DH is cheating, pure and simple…

  9. Chris
    06/07/2013 / 2:26 PM

    While I agree with your assessment of the designated hitter, to name free agency as your numero uno baseball abomination is outrageous. I suppose the indentured servitude of the era before Marvin Miller is what you’d prefer? Men are not commodities!

  10. Bobby
    05/31/2016 / 2:20 PM

    If it weren’t for the joy of watching sluggers like David Ortiz, I’d probably agree with you.

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