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Baseball and religion do not mix, so let’s stop arguing about the DH

Jun 21, 2011, 11:30 AM EDT

Detroit Tigers v Colorado Rockies Getty Images

I often take jabs at the DH as the most evil thing in the universe. And, yes, in some very, very small corner of my brain, part of my id believes that. But I don’t really endorse that view, and when I say such things I hope people realize that I’m joking around.

Yes, I prefer NL baseball and pitchers batting, but I also realize that it’s a personal preference, both on my part and on the part of fans of the DH, and there are few wastes of time in life greater than trying to get someone to change their subjective opinion about things.

Over the last few days, however, both in the comments around here and on Twitter, I have run sideways into to a couple of DH arguments in which people truly seem to be trying to convince the other side that to prefer what they prefer is to engage in folly.  “Your opinion is flawed,” an AL adherent tells an NL fan in what appears to be total seriousness.  “No, you are actually mistaken as to the facts of the matter,” the NL fan replies, seeming as though there are true stakes riding on him changing the belief of the person with whom he is arguing.

Doesn’t this annoy you?  It annoys the hell out of me. Because given that there tactical and performance tradeoffs for either choice, and given that there is a huge overlay of aesthetic judgments and personal history with the game itself which form any one fan’s view of the matter, to be a DH person or a non-DH person is the closest thing baseball has to religious faith. Sure, we can dress our preferences up with as many seemingly rational, quantitative arguments as we can muster, but in the end, we’re asking someone to change their mind about something they believe in, not something they’ve rationally and dispassionately concluded is optimal.

We don’t stand for this in any other area of our lives. Example: I’m a big Bob Dylan fan. My college roommate spent a year trying to convince me that I should not like Bob Dylan because his voice was not true and clear in tone.  Guess what? I know Bob Dylan’s voice is not true and clear in tone. Indeed, that’s one of the reasons I like Bob Dylan. His music speaks to me despite of and often because of the nature of his voice, however ragged it has grown.  You’re not going to convince me that I shouldn’t like Bob Dylan any more than you’re going to be able to convince me that I don’t like mint chocolate chip ice cream. We’re outside the realm of objective judgments here.

So to is it with the DH. AL fans will tell me, as if I wasn’t perfectly aware of the fact, that pitchers simply aren’t good hitters. Thanks, professor! I had no idea!  Is it not possible that I don’t care? And that between the gamesmanship that comes with a team working around the fact that their pitchers can’t hit and the occasional thrill one gets when, dammit, the pitcher does hit, that I am cool with all of that and just prefer it, even if you don’t believe that any of it is worth the effort?

Likewise, NL fans will tell AL fans that DH games take away some element of strategy or managerial tactics or what have you. Again, I’m pretty sure the AL fans are both aware of and fine with that. Indeed, given how much time we all spend complaining about what our team’s manager does, they probably wonder how an NL guy could even suggest that more tactical and substitution decisions be put into Joe Girardi’s or Manny Acta’s hands.  Let the players play, they say, and let people who can actually hit the ball hit.  And they are right to say so, because it is what they want to see.

But let us not confuse our preferences for essential truths. Or, more to the point, let us not pretend that any bit of truth our position holds, be it managerial strategy or better hitters in the lineup, changes the underlying values a baseball fan with a different opinion holds.

And while we’re at it, how about we all come to an agreement on something: that we all stop trying to convince other people that what they believe and what they prefer is somehow invalid and inferior. That while we can make our occasional knowing jokes about the superiority of one form of baseball over another, that we never truly take such arguments seriously, for they are inherently offensive to personal aesthetic choice.  That, to put it simply, we live and let live on this matter, just like most of us would live and let live on any other matter that entails such subjectivity.  It seems like common decency to me.

Besides: there are true issues of right and wrong that are far more worth our time and mental energy. For example: the inherent superiority of pie over cake, which only fools would dare contradict lest they show the world just how ignorant and deluded they truly are.

132 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:36 AM

    Craig, baseball is religion. I thought you understood that.

    And I’m not sure I get the point of trying to stifle the debate. Sure, I’m convinced in the righteousness of my cause, and I’ll advance the case no matter how obstinate the cake-eaters are. But just because there isn’t any resolution doesn’t mean it isn’t fun or worthwhile to talk about.

  2. Old Gator - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:37 AM

    Sorry, Craig. I for one refuse to abandon the high ground on resisting the atrocity known as the DH. For returning deceased war veterans still hoping for that good paying job, more sugar and the free mule they’ve been dreaming of, the shrapnel wound in their skulls which have paralyzed their taste buds might make it possible for them to love eating army food and saying that it was “a matter of taste,” but let’s face it, it’s still army food. The last redoubt for someone with no taste is to claim that it is, after all, a matter of taste.

    So let it be with designatedhitterball. But as long as cute wiggly maggots keep tumbling out of it and amusing me, I shall continue gleefully to kick this particular corpse.

    • natstowngreg - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:13 PM

      This is why we of the true faith of the DH must continue our campaign against the ignorant, the backward-looking, the unbelievers. Unfortunately, that means having to repeat fundamental truths to the unwashed, such as pitchers’ futility as batters. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

      But semi-seriously. Yes, the same old same old arguments are well past tired. Yes, some people take it too seriously. Yes, some people are intolerant. But stop arguing about it? What fun would that be?

  3. yankeesgameday - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    I actually have such little interest in the debate, and the points to be made by either side, that I didn’t even finish reading this whole article.

  4. yankeesfanlen - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    NL Baseball, apple pie, Chevrolet.

    New World order:
    AL Baseball, cake, Ford.

    So it is written, so shall it be done.

    • Utley's Hair - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:50 AM

      Hey, Len, I fixed your typo.

      AL Baseball, apple pie, Chevrolet.

      New World order:
      NL Baseball, cake, Ford.

      So it is written, so shall it be done.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:58 AM

        No, you guys are screwed up.

        NL Baseball, Pie, Classic Fords




      • b7p19 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:04 PM

        Actually, you’re both wrong.

        AL Baseball, cake, Chevrolet

        NL Baseball, pie, Ford

        So it has been rewritten, so it shall be done again.

      • Utley's Hair - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:10 PM

        I’m actually wondering why Len specified apple pie as being as wrong as the DH. But cake rules, pie is a distant 10th—though I can’t think of eight others.

      • Innocent Bystander - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:15 PM


        Religion? Atheist.

      • cur68 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:33 PM

        You guys on crack?
        It’s AL, Cake, Merc SLK 55 AMG Black
        NL; Pie, Yugo

        Now don’t make me have to come over there and have to start bustin’ heads.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:43 PM

        mmm crack………… oh wait, I think you may have been referring to something else entirely there….

      • Utley's Hair - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:45 PM

        You’d hafta sign some thug to wield that club of yours. (I am refraining from mentioning seals here, though the one with the capital S has a really hot wife….)

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:13 PM

        Man, I leave for a minute and the “debate” rears its ugly head once again. First off, there’s no debate, pie rules and that is a fact that religion can’t even mess with b/c it’s science. Cake lovers are the creators of all the world’s wars and also invented herpes. Jerks.

      • Utley's Hair - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:26 PM

        Pie is the club wielding thug DH, while cake is the graceful pitcher.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:55 PM

        You know, I think you cake-eaters hate the DH because you’ve never actually watched a pitcher ‘hit.’ Graceful? Really?

      • Utley's Hair - Jun 21, 2011 at 3:00 PM

        Well, here in Philly, we have Cliffy and Cole Hamels, so, yeah, we’ve seen them actually hit. We also have Blanton, who had a pretty long fly ball a few years back. We’ve also seen Little Roy in the outfield, and an infielder pitch, so what’s your point?

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 21, 2011 at 3:28 PM

        This reminds me of our political environment.

        BTW, Kevin S. has cooties.

  5. umrguy42 - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    We could also go back to the refrigerated condiments argument again, too :p

    • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:42 AM

      Sorry, that was a one-night stand. The pie-cake beatdowns are a long-term committed relationship.

  6. Mark Armour - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    The best baseball would result if you essentially had 9 DHs, and 9 defensive players. You’d need larger rosters, but think of the baseball: the offense would be better, and the defense would be outstanding. All pro-DH people should endorse this position without reservation.

    • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:45 AM

      No, we shouldn’t. There’s a fundamental difference between the role of the pitcher and the role of the position player that justifies the existence of the DH for the pitcher but not for the fielder.

      • bigxrob - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:47 AM

        Who decided that?

      • Mark Armour - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:49 AM

        No, there is no difference. There are nine defensive players, one of whom is a pitcher. One of whom is a catcher. Both of these men are specified in the rules (the other seven have to be in fair territory).

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:52 AM

        One plays five days, the other plays every day. One is expected to do his best at the plate, the other is not judged for simply not trying. One has both his offensive and defensive abilities considered when being judged on his worthiness for a roster spot, the other only on his pitching abilities. But other than that, they’re completely the same.

      • Mark Armour - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:02 PM

        All of the above represents managerial choices or your choices as a fan. None of it has anything do with the rules of the game.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:08 PM

        Actually, the pitcher is subject to different rules than every other fielder. But nice try.

      • Mark Armour - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:11 PM

        Hey, don’t fret. You like platoon baseball, and I don’t. I suggest you own it and love it.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:17 PM

        Tough to argue that the AL is platoon baseball when Tony LaRussa has found his natural home on the Senior Circuit.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:21 PM

        Discussion foul, Kevin!

        Tony LaRussa cannot be dragged into this as he is disliked by everyone not rooting for redbirds. I’m pretty sure his mother disliked him as well.

    • IdahoMariner - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:57 AM

      as a Mariners fan, this works for me. I love Guti’s defense, and Jack Wilson’s defense, and Brendan Ryan’s defense, and now Ackley’s defense. But out of those four guys, only one of them can hit. I don’t want to stop watching spectacular defensive plays…and you only get spectacular defensive plays if the ball is actually put in play, so you need good hitters…and pitching dominance is more exciting if the hitter actually is tough to get out….this could work.

      • tigerprez - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:23 PM

        I couldn’t agree more. Let’s just make baseball like football and have separate offensive and defensive squads. It makes as much sense as having one DH. Why should we have to watch Alicides Escobar or Carlos Gomez make their sad attempts at hitting just so we can see their highlight reel defense? Makes no sense, especially when we could have nine Adam Dunn’s hitting instead. I can’t imagine why fans of the DH wouldn’t embrace this.

        9 Ozzie Smiths + 9 Adam Dunns = perfect baseball. Right?

    • b7p19 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:07 PM


    • indaburg - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:38 PM

      I’m thinking about the logistics of a separate offense and defense. How big would the rosters need to be to support that change? Some teams would have to fold–they couldn’t afford to pay so many players. Or would player salaries need to be decreased since they only do half a job?

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:42 PM

        The market would drive down salaries. Of course, nobody is actually arguing for this – it’s just a strawman the flat-earthers have set up. Kinda like how gay marriage will somehow lead to the legalization of bestiality.

      • cur68 - Jun 21, 2011 at 3:00 PM

        Then cats will be sleeping with dogs; end of the world stuff man.

      • indaburg - Jun 21, 2011 at 3:11 PM

        Ah, yes, the good old fallacious slippery slope argument. For the record, I am not really supportive of this idea. I was just wondering how it could work. In a fantasy world. Much like actual religions.

        I agree, cur68. It could lead to human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.

  7. markcycy - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    Craig if you said agree to disagree I would have went nuts. Thanks for not using that,

    one point you did not use was how records are threatened by not steroids but the DH

  8. halladaysbicepts - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    It seems to me that he was two different generations of fans on this blog. The old school, baseball purist group (which I’m a member of) and the new school, change is a good thing for baseball group.

    This is where I see the butting of heads coming from.

    • halladaysbicepts - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:47 AM

      **It seems to me that we have two….

    • seanmk - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:01 PM

      there is more then just 2 groups

      • halladaysbicepts - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:05 PM

        You’re probably right. But, to be the most simplistic as possible, there is a generation gap that is causing the most rancour on subjects like the DH, realignment, more playoff teams, etc.

    • Jonny 5 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:24 PM

      No, I don’t believe too many NL fans, young or old want a push for the DH. I’d like to think I’m young and don’t want the DH.

      • Utley's Hair - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:29 PM

        Yeah…you’d LIKE to think you’re young….

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:41 PM



      • Utley's Hair - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:51 PM

        Young at heart—though your arteries are clogged with all kinds of pie crust and meringue.

        I’m young at heart…and not as young at joints—though they might actually help.

      • spudchukar - Jun 21, 2011 at 7:13 PM

        Oh yeah, right, Cake the new health food.

  9. josephus2011 - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    Nothing kills me more than watching a pitcher stride to the plate with two outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd right there in the 2nd inning. Lots of strategy there!

    The DH does some things for you hat are a tactical advantage inside and outside the game.

    When he was named Yankees manager Joe Torre was asked about managing with the DH and if it was an easier job and his reply was: Actually, in the NL, the batting order and the game situation forces you to make a pitching a change. In the AL, you have to make a decision as to whether you want to go to the ‘pen to get the starter.

    So there are several advantages to the DH:
    1) You get more mileage out of pitchers in tight games. If you’re losing by a run or two and your starter is pitching well and has something in the tank you don’t have to pull him early and pray the bullpen doesn’t blow up.
    2) You can “rest” veterans from playing in the field from time to time while still keeping their bat in the lineup.
    3) Number 2 above also gives you better roster flexibility when it comes to constructing the team. You might be able to keep a veteran who’s important for selling tickets, clubhouse leadership, etc.
    4) You’re not locked into a weak batting order where you’re stashing the weakest at the bottom of the order. Nor are you forced to move a weaker hitter higher up the order because your No. 8 and 9 hitters might be super-weak.

    Is it nice that NL games go quickly? Yes.
    Is it fun when a pitcher hits the odd HR or drives in a run? Yes.
    Is it worth all the other times you have to see bunts, whiffs and the death of a potential two-out rally or an inning shortened to two outs because the pitcher is leading off?

    • kellyb9 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:09 PM

      Why not just have 9 players that play offense and 9 players that play defense? Why should I count on the guy who plays left field to also be able to hit? He could more wisely be spending his time on fielding. It also stops you from having to make defensive replacement in the field. I understand that AL fans like their style of baseball, but we like ours. Stop complaining about having to play our style when you’re in our house and we’ll stop complaining about the abomination that is the designated hitter.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:14 PM

        You know, it doesn’t speak well to your case when people have to consistently rely on the same reductio ad absurdum logical fallacy.

      • b7p19 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:36 PM

        Right Kevin, because the arguments on the other side are all so fresh and new…

      • tigerprez - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:47 PM

        Until I hear a DH proponent explain why the game is better served by having DHs hit for pitchers and not poor-hitting shortstops and catchers, it’s an argument I’ll keep making. If the goal is to make sure that the quality of the game is higher and poor hitters don’t offend our watching eyes, then nine DHs is the clearest solution. Higher quality hitting, higher quality fielding (heck, I’ll even give you an extra fielder to stand beside the pitcher so he doesn’t have to field, too) and you have the perfect game, no?

      • kopy - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:55 PM

        Why play baseball at all? Why not just have a big street fight?!

      • kellyb9 - Jun 21, 2011 at 1:05 PM

        Kevin S. – I started typing out a response, but I realized tigerprez basically nailed it. There are eight hole hitters that are just as poor at hitting as some pitchers. I really don’t think its ridiculous argument that the game might be better served by having a set of players play offense and a set of players play defense. They do it in football. When it boils right down to it, my argument was basically a whole lot of sarcasm followed by the point that we should just stop complaining about it.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:02 PM

        I noted the fundamental differences between pitchers and position players above. Also, catchers (worst hitting position players) generally OPS+ around 90. First basemen as a group are usually around 120. Pitchers hover around zero. Hitting ability tends to decline at a fairly regular pace as one moves up the defense spectrum. Pitchers’ offensive abilities are on a while ‘nother dimension.

        I’m sure that no matter how often this is pointed out, we’ll still get the same slippery slope crap, however.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:33 PM

        You’re understating the gap. Do you know how many pitchers, with a minimum of 80 PA from 2008 until present (arbitrary, but I had to cut it somewhere), have a wOBA above .300? Three, and one of them is out of baseball because he can’t pitch, regardless of his ability to hit relative to his position. Do you know how many qualified players over that time span have a wOBA below .300? Three, and all are more or less on their way out of baseball because they can’t hit. Extreme outliers don’t change the fact that there is an expectation of offensive competency from position players and none from pitchers.

      • tigerprez - Jun 21, 2011 at 8:12 PM

        Kevin S.,

        You’re not being intellectually honest here. I’m not arguing that pitchers are expected to be good hitters or that they should be. I’m just pointing out that if you’re arguing that pitchers shouldn’t hit because they’re not good hitters, then there are tons of shortstops and catchers who also fit that description. If you’d rather watch Adam Dunn hit than a pitcher, then why wouldn’t you want Adam Dunn to hit for Jack Wilson, too?

        Ultimately, you don’t even address the arguments being posed to you and your rejoinders are irrelevant. You’ve ridden that slippery slope right into a pit of denial. Sad.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 8:54 PM

        Except… no. Not at all. I picked an (admitted arbitrary) cut line for acceptability as a hitter, a .300 wOBA. Three qualified position players were below it. Three pitchers were above it. How is that being intellectually dishonest? You keep making claims about the overlap, but it doesn’t exist. I’m not saying there aren’t bad hitters, but you’re making a huge stretch in equating them with the ineptitude of pitchers. Going back to mean OPS+ scores, the average pitcher is three times as far away from the average catcher as the average catcher is from the average first basemen. If we were to draw this out on a football field (because it’s 120 yards of total length is pretty convenient for this analogy), first basemen would be centered around the back of the end zone, catchers would be centered around the twenty yard line, the other positions would be centered in between the two, and pitchers would be centered at the back of the other end zone. Visualize that, and then tell me there isn’t a reason to treat pitchers hitting differently from everybody else.

    • bennyblanco1 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:36 PM

      Not all of your points are neccassarily “advantages”.

      1. It makes the game often more interesting when the manager has to make this decisions about wether to pull the pitcher or not late in the game. There’s a though process or strategy as Craig mentioned that the NL forces on its managers.

      2. If you really want to rest your veterans, have them actually rest.

      3. There is more roster flexibility but besides Ortiz, are there any DH’s who bring this value you speak of? Certanly not Posada who many people thought would be released by the All-Star break. Most of the other veteran DH’s have been bouncing around from team to team. Dunn, Guerrero, Thome, just to name a few.

      4. I’m not really sure about point 4. The weaker hitters bat last in both leagues and i dont know may teams who are batting a weak hitter number 2. A contact hitter, sure. But not a weak hitter.

      I’m not saying you are incorrect, I’m just saying i dont agree with your so called advantages.

  10. poreef - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    Craig, you ignorant slut!

  11. Jonny 5 - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    The DH is the beginning of the end. It was invented by those who wish to destroy the good game of baseball. It’s viral tendrils are now taking root and infecting not only the game and our country, but also the entire planet, possibly even the entire galaxy in which we live in. Disgusting. I also think that way about double chocolate cake and I eat that any chance I get, so whatever…

    I’m glad to see Craig write this. I hope it gets linked all over creation and in 50 languages because if this can help such an important and meaningful thing like the use or non use of the DH, then there is hope for the war torn regions of the world as well. I feel a “we are the world” moment coming on. Heyward can be M.J. It suits him.

    • Jonny 5 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:05 PM

      “That while we can make our occasional knowing jokes about the superiority of one form of baseball over another, that we never truly take such arguments seriously, for they are inherently offensive to personal aesthetic choice. That, to put it simply, we live and let live on this matter, just like most of us would live and let live on any other matter that entails such subjectivity.”

      ~Craigaham Lincoln

      • b7p19 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:11 PM

        That really is a “survives the test of time” type quote isn’t it? That needs to be bronzed and bolted to the front door in cooperstown.

      • halladaysbicepts - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:37 PM

        “The DH is for pansies.”


  12. steve keane - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    Mother Theresa hated the DH

    • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:56 AM

      Mother Theresa caused undue suffering to thousands because she gave her “aid” based on the dictates of an amalgamated mythology rather than the advice of the best modern medicine and science. Of course she hated the DH.

      • Old Gator - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:12 PM

        Well, at least we find common ground there.

        And then the publicity-hogging old witch had the temerity to die on the same day as Princess Diana.

    • Jonny 5 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:01 PM


  13. ricofoy - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    When I was a naive kid I liked the DH because it enabled some of my favorite players to extend their careers and pad their numbers. Now that I’m a surly old man who knows baseball stats will forever be tainted and don’t care about individual players anymore, I don’t like it.

    • Utley's Hair - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:58 AM

      Here is proof that you gain intelligence as you get older. And where are you on the CAKE vs. (pie) argument?

  14. yettyskills - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    (insert anything) & religion don’t mix

  15. Glenn - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    Bill James did an excellent essay supporting the idea that the DH actually INCREASES stratagy. It was in one of the historical abstracts. The basic theme, supported with data, was that National League managers’ moves tended to be more rote and predictable.

    • halladaysbicepts - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:02 PM

      In baseball parlors, Bill James is known as a heretic. If this were medieval times, he would be burned at the stake.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:10 PM

        You know how far on the wrong side of history the people who did the burning were, right?

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:15 PM

        LOL! I’m still trying to figure out who’s comment was “funnier”, bicepts or Kevin here.

      • b7p19 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:34 PM

        I fear that you may be an extremist.

      • halladaysbicepts - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:39 PM


        Not an extremist. Just a baseball purist. But, the question is: Is there a difference?

    • trevorb06 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:25 PM

      I can jive with that. How many teams have a 100% set DH? Some of them cycle the DH based on righty/lefty pitcher, ballpark, who needs a day off, who’s hot/not, etc. It has more broad strategy while the NL has more quick thinking strategy.

  16. amhendrick - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    I’m indifferent to DH or no DH, but I wish MLB would pick one and go with it rather than the silly half and half. In the words of Mr. Miyagi, “Walk middle, sooner or later get squish just like grape.”

    Also, I disagree that discussions of religion don’t involve “rational, quantitative arguments” but that’s a discussion for another day/another blog.

  17. John Wright - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    After thinking about all the realignment talk, I started rolling out my own plan that I’ve been working on for a while now ( It’s admittedly radical, but even a subtle change, like evening out the existing leagues at 15 teams, would probably revive the DH discussion. Having interleague play throughout the season might be the point at which we see MLB decide one way or the other for simplicity’s sake. That’s why I think this is an interesting discussion to have, although I kind of agree that it almost boils down to a matter of taste.

    My taste: no DH. I like the aesthetics of having all nine hitters take the field.

  18. skipp - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    This was a good read. Personally, I like the way things are now; I think it’s good for the game to offer variety. However, I’ve always wondered what it would be like if pitchers could actually hit. I get that they don’t practice hitting as often in order to fine tune their pitching skills and to escape injury, but why does it HAVE to be that way? If a mediocre pitcher could warrant batting higher up in the order, wouldn’t that tremendously increase his value? I wouldn’t expect this to be a common practice, I’m just surprised that it never really happens.

  19. trevorb06 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    Like I just said in a prior post. The DH argument is just like the abortion argument. Nobody will ever agree so why don’t we all agree that baseball is awesome and the team we root for is the best.

  20. tuftsb - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    The DH was a theory that wqs going around baseball fort years until the offensive nadir of the late 60’s (and football’s passing of baseball as “National Pasttime”).

    It is not needed or justified by its orginal intent now – it is just accepted baseball practice, much like divisions and wild cards. (I’m thinking Roe v Wade – science formed much of the reasoning for the decision and its advances have not changed the law’s bases …..sorry if I start a debate)

    I’m waiting for the day that MLB owners and GM’s to finally realize that the costs of having a aging veteran DH far outweight the cost of an additional reliever and propose to the union that 14 high paying jobs are about to disqappear.

  21. lordd99 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    If fans of AAAA baseball want to watch pichers hit (not that they can), then let them be. Unrelated, when they get sick, they can also be treated with a fine blood leeching. I hear leeches have made a come back.


    • halladaysbicepts - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:19 PM

      Treated with fine blood leeching? Sounds like a job for a medieval barber.

  22. yankeesfanlen - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Actually, as a percentage of World Series wins, the Universe did better without the DH. Can Kevin Long have some practice sessions with AJ?

    And just for the by-and-bye, where were you guys 38 years ago? This so-called abomination didn;t just come up, ya know.

    • Utley's Hair - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:39 PM

      Um…had they asked me, they would have had to do it in utero.

      • yankeesfanlen - Jun 21, 2011 at 1:00 PM

        Now that you say that, there were a LOT of teams that weren’t around before the DH, and in a one team town, how would fans under 40+ know how to compare? I’s say, let’s have more 2 team towns with an NL and AL in them, it has historical precedent. Boston, Philly, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, New York add 2 more. Hell, even let the Expos come back.
        Broad Assortment, Better Service, I’d go to a new AL team in the swamp, just for better see the Yankees at New Low Prices!

  23. tuftsb - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    I had my one at bat and can rest easy

  24. Alex K - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:29 PM

    Q: When will cake v pie end?
    A: When everyone remembers that ice cream is better than both.

    • Jonny 5 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:39 PM

      When ice cream stops being “cozy” with both both. That’s when. Ice cream is just too easy. Ice cream= Pam Anderson, Lindsay L., Lil Kim, etc….. Pie = Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, Kate Middleton, etc… Cake= Rosanne, Barbra Walters, Queen of England, Whoopie Goldberg, etc…

      • spudchukar - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:21 PM

        Yup, that’s pretty much the way I see it.

      • Alex K - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:22 PM

        Pie and cake just want to be close to ice cream. Ice cream is a superstar five-tool player.

      • Alex K - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:25 PM

        Or put a better way…

        Ice cream is Roy Halladay. Many people forget about it, but it is the best thing going.

    • Utley's Hair - Jun 21, 2011 at 3:06 PM

      If ice cream is supposedly all that, why does it need to be formed into a bastardized cake-type form and called ice cream cake?

      And where are the TV shows touting the mastery of making pie? Or ice cream? Hmmm? Right. There are none. Because everybody loves cake.

      • Alex K - Jun 21, 2011 at 4:14 PM

        That’s where you’re wrong, Sir. That is cake’s attempt to make itself more loved by being made of ice cream.

        Cake is clearly #2. At least we can both agree pie sucks.

      • cur68 - Jun 21, 2011 at 7:41 PM

        You guys see that? Jonny 5 claiming Jessica Alba likes pie. That J5! He so crazy! Every body knows Rosanne got to the size she at from all that pie she eats. Jessica is a cake girl. She is all cake all the time. Cake and ice cream, that is my Jessica; I love her so…

        I dunno Alex; I might be swaying more to the ice cream than the cake. But BOTH are better than yucky old pie.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 8:56 PM

        Maybe that would explain why she’s such an unwatchably terrible actress, despite her hotness. Fucking cake eaters.

      • cur68 - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:23 PM

        That’s another foul there Kevin. You clearly never saw her in ‘Machete’. Just amazing. Her range, her depth of emotion, her naked in the showerness; all simply awesome. She is the living embodiment of cake with 2 delicious scoops of ice cream …. mmm…..

    • raysfan1 - Jun 21, 2011 at 7:06 PM

      I love both cake and pie, and consume as much of both as I can (and not have to purchase a new wardrobe to cover my resulting expansion). As a professed dessert two-timer, I offer the following that both camps should be able to agree upon:
      1) Schwarzwalder Kirsch Torte. It’s called “Black Forest Cherry Cake” in English, but it’s a misnomer. The real thing is dark chocolate cake + cherry pie filling + cherry cream pie filling + cherry liqueur + whipped icing. It is pure epicurean ecstacy.
      2) The Cheesecake Factory’s Pina Colada Cheesecake–part cake, part cheescake (clearly a pie despite the name), pineapples, coconut & rum. This was my Fathers’ Day dessert–the caloric coma was well worth it!

      As for Mr Ice cream man, it makes a nice side to both cake and pie although I’d generally rather just have whipped cream. Exception: real Italian gelato. That stuff is all kinds of awesome. Of course my view is colored by the time the Air Force sent me to Italy as part of the NATO response to unrest in Bosnia (a few) years ago–I was housed in a hotel that had a gelateria on the ground floor, and also happened to be across the street from an Italian university (Italian college girls). Each day, I’d get back from work, the proprietor of the gelateria would insist I sit down and try his newly invented flavor (all unbeleivably good), I’d act as though my arm were being twisted, and then spend part of my evening sitting back with the wondrous concoction while enjoying the scenery. Yeah, that was a hard assignment.

  25. lordd99 - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    I have noticed one interesting (sort of) theme around the DH over the years. NL fans want the DH eliminated, even though it’s not in their league, and are pretty vocal on the issue. AL fans, however, really could care less if the NL adopts the DH or not.

    There’s an entire generation of fans of AL teams who have grown up only knowing the DH. Men with graying hair now bringing their children to watch games with the DH. It’s no longer an experiment. It’s part of the game. It’s never going away. Ever.

    It’s not up to NL fans to decide what fans of the AL teams will watch anymore than it’s up to AL fans to decide what fans of NL teams will watch. The difference, once again, is NL fans seem to want to do just that.

    • Utley's Hair - Jun 21, 2011 at 12:57 PM

      Well, their hackles seem to be up here, so there’s that.

    • spudchukar - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:19 PM

      I could not disagree more strongly. Much like the aforementioned anti-abortion adherents, the AL does not proclaim a live and let live attitude, but consistently complains about their disadvantages in the play-offs and inter-league play, and the need to institute the DH for all of baseball. Most NL anti-DH proponents would agree to a lifetime truce, one that would forever keep the DH out of the NL, and share home-field use whenever encountering the AL. But much like the Right-to-Lifers, who are blinded by their so-called sanctity of “Human Life”, while generally disdaining the sustainability of “All-Life”, the AL fanatics won’t rest until all of baseball employs the titillating, knuckle-dragging, mind-numbing style of baseball enjoyed by nanosecond attention spanned, football shaded, immediate gratification enthusiasts who cannot comprehend the value of a Liberal Arts education, Jack-of-all-Trades craftsman, or the concept of sacrifice.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:46 PM

        Oddly enough, the AL isn’t the league that needs a scapegoat to blame for it’s inter-league failures. That’d be AAAA.

      • spudchukar - Jun 21, 2011 at 3:42 PM

        That might be poignant, if it contained an ounce of truth. The Junior Circuit is the squeaky wheel here, even though they have had a decided advantage in the match-ups, which is even more indication, that they are not satisfied with leaving the DH rule in the AL only.

      • b7p19 - Jun 21, 2011 at 4:26 PM

        Potato Head is right, and boy does he have a way with words.

      • cur68 - Jun 21, 2011 at 11:32 PM

        Spuddy, there you go confirming what lord99 said. As an AL fan (since the Expos left what else do I have?) I enjoy me some DHing. But, I like interleague in NL parks, too. I miss NL rules and don’t begrudge the different rules in the different leagues one bit. Variety in the game is what makes it not-football even more. The change in strategy, the adjustments, the rare sight of a pitcher launching one into the seats, makes the NL so much fun. I’ll take ’em both, with Jessica Alba and 2 scoops of delicious ice cream and a piece of cake, too.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jun 21, 2011 at 5:27 PM

      That’s funny. Have you read these comments?

      • koufaxmitzvah - Jun 21, 2011 at 5:30 PM

        Shit, have your read your comments?

        “If fans of AAAA baseball want to watch pichers hit (not that they can), then let them be. Unrelated, when they get sick, they can also be treated with a fine blood leeching. I hear leeches have made a come back. Yawn.”

        You stay classy, AL.

        P.S. Clayton Kershaw came to the plate with 2 outs in the 8th last night, with the team trying to stop a home stand losing streak, only leading by 2 runs, and he got a basehit into right field to up the score to 4-0.

        I don’t know, Bro, but that sure seemed pretty awesome. And a shit-ton more exciting than anything you’ll ever do.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 5:51 PM

        Yeah, that was nice. And totally makes up for the fact that he’s made an out in 85% of his career plate appearances, right?

        I once saw Yuniesky Betancourt make this totally awesome play, too. Doesn’t mean he belongs on a major-league roster.

      • Kevin S. - Jun 21, 2011 at 5:52 PM

        Wow, the old “you’ll never be as good, so you can criticize them” tripe. We aren’t comparing Kershaw to the average Joe. We’re comparing him to other major-league hitters.

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