Major League Baseball: DH or No DH

There has always been a debate about what each of the leagues should adopt.  Some people say that the Designated Hitter (DH) position needs to be eliminated while others say the DH needs to be adopted by the National league. Recent comments made by Max Scherzer and Madison Bumgarner have fueled this debate even further. Let’s dive into it a little deeper.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Major League Baseball (MLB), there are two league: the American League and the National League.  The American League allows for a designated hitter to bat in place of the pitcher where the National League makes the pitchers bat.

The designated hitter position was adopted by the American League in 1973 where Ron Blomberg of the New York Yankees took the DH position against the Boston Red Sox. His first at bat, he walked. There was always speculation before this about adopting a hitter for the pitcher’s batting position even when Babe Ruth played.

Now it’s time to look at the arguments for both sides.

For the DH position:

Pitchers are paid to pitch, not to hit is a fairly big argument and also a justifiable one. Numerous highly paid pitchers have been injured batting with the most recent being Max Scherzer and Adam Wainwright.  Some pitchers are paid $20 million a year in order to pitch so why waste their talent and potentially season making them hit?

A second argument is that people don’t pay to see pitchers hit. Players such as David Ortiz and Nelson Cruz are much more exciting to see at the plate over Clayton Kershaw and Matt Harvey.  The DH position can also increase scoring and can make people with no rooting interests more excited about watching the game.

Against the DH position:

What can be more exciting than watching the pitcher get a hit? For those of you who don’t know, I’m a huge Washington Nationals fan. Perfectly enough, Jordan Zimmermann (a pitcher for the Washington Nationals) came up last night with two outs in the top of the 4th with the bases loaded. As a fan, I can tell you there was nothing more exciting than seeing Zimmermann get a bases clearing single.

Having the pitcher bat adds more strategy to the game.  The manager has the decision of when to bat for the pitcher which adds a whole new dimension to the game. “My pitcher is pitching well, but we aren’t scoring any runs, do I pinch hit for my pitcher and trust in my bullpen, or do I continue to go with the hot hand?” Along those same lines, who should the manager bring in to pinch hit for the pitcher, and if he let’s the pitcher bat, should the pitcher swing away or bunt.

Final Say:

Leave the leagues the way they are. Let the American League keep the DH and the National League keep the pitchers batting.  Not only is it something that most of the fans have grown accustomed to, but it also makes interleague play and the all star games much more exciting to watch.

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