A recent spate of inter-league play has gotten me thinking again about the designated hitter rule. It’s not that I’m anti-DH per se. It’s simply that I think baseball is more entertaining when the pitchers hit.
When kids play the game of baseball, everybody hits. You’re supposed to hit. Baseball is a game that tests all your skills.
At the Little League and high school levels, the best hitters are often also the best pitchers. That changes once players go pro, as pitching becomes a specialty almost to the exclusion of hitting.
And that’s a shame.
I’ve always thought it was cool when a pitcher contributes to his own cause with a timely hit or a well-placed bunt. Earl Wilson slugged a number of home runs for the Tigers back in the 60s, and he was a gas to watch. There was never any shame in the at bats that Bob Gibson had for the Cardinals. Last October, Jonathan Sanchez of the Giants ripped a triple at AT&T Park that was one of the biggest hits of the year as San Francisco took the world title.
The American League shows no signs of chucking the DH, and that means extended careers for a number of guys with bad knees and exhausted legs. Fine for them.
But in real baseball, the batters plays the field and the pitchers hit.