Cleat Geeks

Should the NL adopt the DH?

The designated hitter tends to have a higher salary and it is a position that can allow a player to extend his career, but it’s safe to say there wouldn’t be universal sentiment to expanding the DH to both leagues. For more than 40 years, the National League has remained free of the designated hitter, but that could change in the future.

Tony Clark,

Tony Clark, MLB Players’ Union Chief.

In an interview he gave to the St. Louis Dispatch MLB Players’ Union Chief Tony Clark said some interesting things and gave some interesting scenarios. “It has been a topic, as I’m sure you know, a topic of discussion going back the last two bargaining agreements. Nothing has changed at this point in time. But I am guessing come 2016 that conversation will come up again.”

One of the interesting scenarios that Mr. Clark brought up in his interview was the new way in which MLB has adopted interleague play. As most of you know there are now 15 teams in both the American and National Leagues. Because of this, there is always an interleague series going on in MLB. Mr. Clark expressed his concern in this statement, “That was a concern when we started to talk about evening out the divisions and how that would manifest itself over the course of interleague play,” Clark said. “The idea that you would be in September with a possible division (title) on the line with one team who was not used to having a DH or a team that was used to having a DH not having it and how that could affect the overall outcome.”  He also went on to add, “As you might expect, we are very concerned about the integrity of the game and having scenarios or situations play out like that that could affect inevitably how a division ends, is not a place you want to find yourself.”

In 1973 the American League adopted the Designated Hitter Rule, which is where the pitcher for any American League team in replaced in the batting order by a person whose sole job is to hit and not play the field. The National League, on the other hand, always has the pitchers spot in the line-up. In turn if a team wants to have another batter hit for the pitcher, they can do so, but at the expense of that pitcher. In other words, if a team hits for the pitcher, that pitcher who was hit for cannot continue to pitch in that game.

The way that MLB decided to compromise on this rule in interleague games was that if the home team was an American League team, they would then abide by American League rules and both teams would use the DH. And likewise, if the game was being played in a National League park, both teams would abide by the rules of the National League team and neither team would use a DH.

Tony Clark as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks

Tony Clark as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks

Tony Clark concluded the interview with this statement, “What that leads to, I don’t know. I’m guessing when we sit down, (for our next collective bargaining agreement) it will come up.” Although Clark also said during the interview that he did not know if the players were for or against the idea of the National League adopting the DH rule and he would not know until he polled the players.

Personally, I love the National League style of play. I believe that it adds more intrigue, excitement, and overall thought process to the game. Paying a player millions of dollars and having them only do half of what the other players do on the team to me is assassin. But the game of baseball is always changing and evolving. As players get into the twilight of their careers, it could extend them by a couple years. It would also keep multi-million dollar pitchers out of the batters box and off the base-pads where they are more likely to suffer injury. I hope the rule never changes, but I would be curious to know the opinions of our readers. Feel free to leave a comment and voice your opinion.

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