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The tyranny of the DH continues unabated

Mar 7, 2011, 9:56 AM EDT

Texas Rangers v San Francisco Giants, Game 2 Getty Images

No, I don’t want to rehash arguments for and against the DH. People are more likely to come to an agreement over religion than that. Let us just all agree that I’m right, the DH is an awful tool of communism/evil and that it should be abolished with righteous fury.

But that’s another conversation we can have at another time in which those who disagree with me will be wrong. For now, even if we cannot agree on the DH/no-DH question, can we at least respect the views of those who differ from us on this?  Bud Shaw of the Cleveland Plain Dealer can’t:

As the home team, the Rockies didn’t allow the Indians to use a DH Sunday. That makes no sense. But it’s the home team’s call … Why wouldn’t a NL manager let a visiting AL team use a DH in a meaningless spring training game? Good question.

Maybe because the NL manager has to play an entire schedule with pitchers batting and he’d like to, you know, prepare his team for that in the preseason?  Both in terms of having his pitchers bat and in terms of preparing hsi defense for the sacrifice bunts, such as the one an Indians pitcher did in the very game which Shaw is describing?

Crazy, I know …

  1. BC - Mar 7, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    I like the DH. In fact, I think each team should be allowed to have 2. Bat 10 guys. Score more runs.

  2. yankeesfanlen - Mar 7, 2011 at 10:00 AM

    Just because you’re such a heretic doesn’t mean the rest of us are. Pitchers are born to do one thing. Do you use your can opener to brew coffee?

    • BC - Mar 7, 2011 at 10:08 AM

      I bet McGiver does.

    • pauleee - Mar 7, 2011 at 10:10 AM

      I use my Bic lighter to open beer bottles.

      • tmohr - Mar 7, 2011 at 10:33 AM

        I use my cat to clean the bathtub.

    • kellyb9 - Mar 7, 2011 at 10:50 AM

      Last I checked Pitchers were baseball players. I always thought that meant they played offense and defense. Thanks for clearing that up for me. /sarcasm

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 7, 2011 at 1:22 PM

        Pitchers are pitchers. Apart from the 2 or 3 that can actually hit, who wants to watch them flub ABs? Nobody should have to watch that….

        Should Quarterbacks play linebacker as well? All sports have their specialists, baseball is no different.

      • bigharold - Mar 7, 2011 at 3:43 PM

        “Last I checked Pitchers were baseball players.”

        Tell that to Ching Ming Wang. A once very promising young pitcher he that went 46-15 over 2 1/2 seasons then broke his foot running the bases. The broken foot lead to shoulder issues that looks like he may never recover from.

        Either do away with the DH or make it universal. I vote “DH for everybody”. Not that it counts what I vote.

        “No, I don’t want to rehash arguments for and against the DH.”

        Sure you don’t, .. of course that’s why you chose this title.

      • yankeesfanlen - Mar 7, 2011 at 3:56 PM

        Way to go, Big H. Wang would still be with us throwing ground ball outs if not for the insufferable 1890’s rules of the NL.

  3. Loren - Mar 7, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    I’ve noticed lots of NL teams in spring training letting AL team use the DH while the NL team bats its pitchers. That’s probably what Bud was talking about. Did the Rockies really need to practice pitching to pitchers? Maybe they did.

    • woodenulykteneau - Mar 7, 2011 at 10:27 AM

      If the Indians truly were upset with this, they could have simply intentionally walked the pitcher every time. Why didn’t they? Because this is something that only Bud Shaw seems to notice or care about.

  4. thinman61 - Mar 7, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    Apart from the fact that Craig is clearly wrong, this is reason number 1,293 why interleague play is stupid and must be abolished without further ado.

    AL teams have rosters and lineups that are optimized around the fact that they play in the DH league. NL teams have rosters and lineups optimized around the fact that they play in that quaint old-timey league that refuses to modernize and join the 21st century. Forcing these teams to play games that count against each other in the regular season, in which one of them is forced to use a lineup other than what their roster was optimized for, means that team is essentially playing with one hand tied behind its back.

    • heyblueyoustink - Mar 7, 2011 at 10:39 AM

      Abolished? Ado? Optimized? Optimized again? Dude, take it easy, it’s a Monday morning…….besides, I think the ticket sales, ratings, and general interest in interleague play would show MLB is “optimizing” it’s brand by having interleague play…….

  5. fuggles7 - Mar 7, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    In yesterday’s Blue Jay/Pirates game the Jays used a DH (Travis Snider) and the pitchers hit for the pirates. The Pirates were the home team. As the games don’t count for diddly why not just let each team do what they want regarding the DH?

    • kellyb9 - Mar 7, 2011 at 10:57 AM

      This is probably the most common sense approach I’ve heard yet. Also gives the NL pitcher a little bit more practice because they pitch against one more power hitter.

    • clydeserra - Mar 7, 2011 at 1:52 PM

      I am still not sure why the home team doesn’t bat in the bottom of the ninth when they have the lead in spring.

  6. Matt - Mar 7, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    Why not let them have their DH so that they can get the swings in for their guys AND have them make their pitcher hit? Sure that makes the lineup 10 deep, but these games don’t actually affect the standings or anything, so just let everyone get the work in that they need to get in.

  7. jamie54 - Mar 7, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    Craig, 100% agreement. Get rid of it if only for the fact guys are getting paid, overpaid in my opinion, to be one dimensional and that’s not what baseball is about. At least pitchers in the AL are in the field and once in a while actually get to make plays besides pitch. Most DHer’s are one trick pony’s and are not worth the money or roster spot to be one dimensional.

  8. aburns77 - Mar 7, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    I take issue with Mr. Shaw’s characterization of these spring training games as “meaningless.” Yes, spring training games’ outcome ultimately don’t ‘mean’ anything, I think that they still serve as an important purpose and as such the home team should be able to use the same rules that the regular season has. Sure, the games don’t count, but if the Rockies feel like its important to be able to practice in a manner similar to games that count they should be able to exercise that right.

  9. Jonny 5 - Mar 7, 2011 at 10:50 AM

    The DH is chumpy. Face it.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 7, 2011 at 11:30 AM

      pistols at noon sir, for thy have offended me!

    • Jonny 5 - Mar 7, 2011 at 12:19 PM


      I have awaited our duel with anticipation but alas, you’ve not showed. One white glove slap to the face for you sir. How “uncivilizied” of you to not get into a shootout with me over this.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 7, 2011 at 1:11 PM

        Apologies, Jonah Keri chat at fangraphs at noon. Also, in case you haven’t heard, the Yanks are looking for a 5th starter so I’ve been limbering up.

      • Jonny 5 - Mar 7, 2011 at 1:52 PM


  10. purdueman - Mar 7, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    The only valid reason for the NL to NOT adopt the DH is because Cardinal Manager Tony “Mr. Doubleswitch” La Russa would have a nervous breakdown. The “doubleswitch” rule is no longer needed in baseball because of the advent of the specialty pitcher. Now teams have (at a minimum), one or two set up guys to pitch the 8th and a closer to pitch the 9th. So even in NL games the only time that the double switch is relevant is in the 6th or 7th inning… i.e., once a game. For that you want your teams top pitchers to risk injury on the basepathes? If you do, you’re pretty stupid.

  11. flavius217 - Mar 7, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    As a lifelong Cardinals fan, I’m a default NL guy who always raged against the DH machine. Until last year, that is.

    Having pitchers bat is pretty much giving away an out, and that can be frustrating in the midst of a rally. And there’s always that chance that a pitcher could get injured swinging the bat (see Penny, Brad in 2010).

    But the most important argument against the DH is that it gives Tony F. La Russa yet another button to push on his I Am So Smrt machine.

    • flavius217 - Mar 7, 2011 at 11:49 AM

      Dangit. That last graf makes no sense. It should read:

      “The most important argument for the DH is that it would remove a button from Tony F. La Russa’s I Am So Smrt machine.”

  12. micker716 - Mar 7, 2011 at 11:08 AM

    The Indians probably welcome the opportunity to let their pitchers hit in a game situation. They’ll be better prepared for the World Series.

    • The Common Man/ - Mar 7, 2011 at 11:21 AM


  13. bigtrav425 - Mar 7, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    Our sports writers here in clevleand are Horrible..i never read to much into them

    • bigtrav425 - Mar 7, 2011 at 12:30 PM

      ignore the spelling on this one!

  14. bigtrav425 - Mar 7, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Our sports writers here in Cleveland are Horrible..i never read to much into them

  15. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Mar 7, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    I think basketball should have a designated free throw shooter, some guy who has a free throw percentage (in baseball terms, shooting independent of defense) of 99+%. It would stop all that fouling to get the ball at the end of the game. Besides, big guys like Shaq shouldn’t have shoot free throws, I mean it is like watching a pitcher hit.

  16. jeffrp - Mar 7, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    Maybe the Indians don’t want to see one of their pitchers suffer a season or career ending injury running the bases in a meaningless game (see Wang, Chien-Ming).

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