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Why the Cardinals would never move to the AL

Sep 10, 2012, 12:31 PM EDT

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The Astros are moving to the AL. Why not the Cardinals?

[Cardinals team President Bill] DeWitt said the Cardinals, unlike the Astros, likely would have rejected $50 million to $60 million to move to the American League in 2013, partly because “I hate the designated hitter rule. My dad does, too.”

I’d like to think that such principle — and not the fact that, since the Cardinals are one of the old line NL teams going back over a century making baseball never consider it — is the real reason they wouldn’t do it. Shut up. I’m sure you choose to believe silly things too.

Anyway, that quote was just an excuse to link a fun post from RetroSimba, who attended the Cardinals invitation-only blogger event yesterday, where DeWitt and GM John Mozeliak answered questions of, well, bloggers.  Included were their comments about wanting to reach out via social media more, bypassing some more traditional communications means.  Such a dynamic is one we’ve been talking about here for a long time and I think, more than even the economics of print media, will cause the normal baseball reporting biz to change.

There are a lot of other good things there too, more candid and unguarded comments than you typically see from team brass, so I recommend a click.

  1. Old Gator - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    I have just become a huge fan of Bill DeWitt and his dad. Two great spirits. The designated hitter is an abomination. When Rom Blomberg opens the ark on Rosh Hashanah, I hope a Torah falls out and brains him.

    • bigharold - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:57 PM

      Gator, .. really?

      Your 19th century sensibilities are showing. The DH is the savior of baseball as we know it. Had the Bagel Bomber not initiated this new paradigm of modern baseball MLB would today be as popular in North America as cricket.

      Abomination, .. no revolutionizing modernizing development that will be heralded along side the invention of the wheel!

      • Old Gator - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        And not all “change” is useful for its own sake, either. I’m all for expanded instant replay. Bu the DH continues to suck the intelligence and rhythm out of baseball. May it rot.

      • stex52 - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:46 PM

        Proposals for the next step in the AL:

        1. Batters get to choose bat material for each at bat: Rubber, aluminum or wood
        2. Batter pulls a lever at a little machine by the batting box. Pitcher must throw the pitch that comes up.
        3. Teams can designate two innings a game each where they get four outs instead of three.
        4. Four randomly chosen batters a game can tell the shortstop where he has to play for their at-bat.
        5. Any player on the team with a batting average below .230 can have a DH, too. But he still gets to stay in the game.

        Great, innovative new changes to keep baseball popular. And I like them all better than the DH.

      • stex52 - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:47 PM


        An angry, bitter Astros Fan

      • bigleagues - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:52 PM

        Here’s the thing . . . you are obviously entitled to you opinion on the DH rule . . . but truthfully examining the fantasy that MLB continues to feed us requires us to recognize that in all reality the National and American leagues ceased to exist in 2000.

        And yet, MLB has managed to have its cake and eat it to as the DH is the only thing that differentiates the two “conferences” (to use a more accurate term) and thus has enabled them to keep the myth of two separate leagues as part of the game’s marketing and story-telling efforts.

        So when the DeWitt’s say they hate the DH rule as their reason for staying in the “NL”, I can buy that.

        But if they had made some grand pronouncement about “NL” pride and not wanting to leave because of their long history in the NL, or whatever . . . that would have been outright pretentious and obviously quite laughable.

      • paperlions - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:56 PM

        In fairness, I think the pitcher should get to choose the bat material.

        Can you clarify proposal 2? Does everyone know which pitch came up on the machine? Or just the pitcher? What about the catcher? Are the options limited to the pitcher’s repertoire? Or will they just have to “come up with” a slider if they don’t throw one?

        I also think that all hitters should have to be switch hitters and which side of the plate each hitter hits from is determined at random just prior to each AB.

      • stex52 - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:38 PM

        Good questions, Paper. I envision the pitch flashing up on a screen behind the catcher, and only he can’t see it. Let it be a surprise for him instead of the hitter. Everyone else will know.

        As to random switch hitting, I thought of that. But I biased all of my choices for more runs. Isn’t that what the DH is for?

      • bigleagues - Sep 10, 2012 at 3:46 PM

        Each time I state the inconvenient fact that the NL & AL no longer technically exists, people go all in on the thumbs down.

        You’d think after 12 years, it would have sunk in.

        Read the MLB Constitution & MLB Baseball Rules for yourself – it’s online at in the ‘Resources’ section. The following is from the MLB Rules:

        The definitions set forth in this Rule 60 shall apply to the following terms as they are used in the Major League Constitution, the Major League Rules and all documents incorporated into or appended to the Major League Constitution and Major League Rules.

        a)The term “Major League” shall refer to the American League and the National League and any other professional baseball league that is recognized as a Major League under the Major League Constitution.

        There are no governing documents for the ‘National League’ or ‘American League’ as there was previous to 2000. Why? Because since 2000, there is only ONE league, “Major League Baseball”. This isn’t some sort of secret or conspiracy. It’s a fact.

        The only remaining references to “American League” and “National League” in MLB’s governing documents is in the same context that “National Football Conference” and “American Football Conference” is referred to in the NFL governing documents.

        So for us to continue to pretend that the “American League” and “National League” are distinct beyond the DH is pure fantasy.

    • cur68 - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:38 PM

      Boo. Hiss. DH now. Pitchers batting is like chickens flying: they can do it, if they try real hard, but it aint pretty to watch nor is it effective in result, plus it is evident that they are shitting themselves non-stop. Best way to get a chicken to fly? Throw it of a tall building. Best way to get a pitcher to hit? Have his colleague on the hill groove one for him with the understanding that the favour will be returned when the thrower is the the hitter. Even then expect Mendoza-Line Hitting.

  2. DJ MC - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    I’m pretty sure there are teams in English soccer happy to remain relegated to the Championship, too.

  3. lessthanittakes - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    First question from yesterday: “Hi, Steve Goldstein here. I’m a BLOGGER. When are you going to hire me?”

  4. icanspeel - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    I am not a big fan of the DH, but I do like that AL uses it and NL doesn’t. Helps separate the 2 leagues.

  5. cubsrice - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    I abhor the DH, but when…

    1. Pitchers look like frightened deer in the batter’s box;

    2. Everyone in the stadium, from the fans to the broadcasters to the pitcher’s own manager, knows that he is an almost-certain out;

    3. When the pitcher himself makes no effort to get to first base on a bunt or an otherwise-difficult ground ball;

    4. …and when the minor leagues use the DH about half the time and therefore make no effort to hone this “skill”…

    …it’s probably time to let go.

    • Old Gator - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:49 PM

      And when a pitcher with a one run lead, none out, bases loaded, bottom of the ninth looks like a deer in the headlights? Replace him with a pitching machine?

      • cubsrice - Sep 10, 2012 at 5:08 PM

        That’s a totally different scenario than basically giving away two or three offensive outs per game.

  6. simon94022 - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Fans of NL teams hate the DH because of what it does to the tempo of the game. While many AL fans bemoan the fact that letting pitchers hit kills rallies, most fans of NL teams view the AL game as slow and boring. This is a big part of why Houston fans are still so angry about the league switch, and why Arizona and Colorado have both vetoed proposals to move to the AL.

  7. southpaw2k - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    If I ever ran for Commisioner of MLB, my entire campaign would center around dumping the DH completely and taking away the All-Star Game giving home field advantage to whichever league wins the game.

    • Old Gator - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:33 PM

      You’ve got my vote. And my philosophy is, vote early and vote often.

    • paperlions - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      Plus, if you dumped the AS game, there would be time at the end of the season for longer playoff series, the WC playin could be a 3 game series with each of the remaining rounds being 7 games.

    • stex52 - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:45 PM

      My vote, too. But that horse is out of the barn. They don’t bat pitchers in college or the Minors now. We’re not going back.

  8. thatyankeedude - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    I think overall baseball has it right. The NL has a class of pitchers that has an overall talent for the game such as mike leake. I enjoy watching pitchers be able to hit. But the overall problem is not all of them are actually really good at both so it becomes an instant out at times. So really there is a fair balance to the system and it benefits both the leagues.

  9. simon94022 - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    Like it or not, tradition is a central part of baseball’s appeal and one of its key selling points. So the Cardinals’ 130 year tenure in the National League is a perfectly good reason not to consider St Louis for a league switch. It would be grossly negligent brand mismanagement to move them to the AL.

  10. unlost1 - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    if the astros are this terrible in the natonal league what hope do they have in the american league?

    • stex52 - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:56 PM

      That their drafting is actually working. And that their pay structure is now so low that they can bring in a few young actual Major Leaguers.

      But I expect another couple of pretty dreadful years before they are competitive again.

  11. djpostl - Sep 10, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    While I still feel the Brewers should have returned to the AL, I am not going to hold it against the DisAstros for doing so.

    They are in an extreme form of “blow it all up & start all over” anyways.

  12. scatterbrian - Sep 10, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    I love this topic. You always get people trying to out-purist each other with their versions of hatred for the DH, and you get wacky “well if you do that, why not do this” examples.

    In a perfect world, all pitchers would hit. But the bottom line is that pitchers no longer work on becoming better hitters, and teams discourage pitchers from trying and/or giving 100% when they hit. Some are told not to swing until they have two strikes, most do not run hard, and none of them are going do things they are supposed to when on the basepaths, like attempting take-out slides or taking an extra base. As long as there are players who are not trying and/or not giving 100%, I cannot defend pitchers hitting.

  13. dirtyharry1971 - Sep 11, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    The real reason cardinal ownership doesnt want to go to the AL is because of $$$, when you have to add the DH thats more money you have to pay out for your team and the only reason someone would be against it. end of story

  14. JasonW in Miami - Sep 11, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    If pitchers could actually produce offense like someone in the Major Leagues, there wouldn’t be the necessity for the DH.

    I never did and never will hold any regard for pitchers at the plate, but I am not a proponent of a full time DH either. The DH is better when used as a bridge between the starters for having a half night off or returning from injury rehab and the bench players for gaining more at bats, thus pinpointing trade value. This practice as exhibited by the Rays and Rangers will be beneficial for all teams if the Universal DH is implemented.

    But even if the NL adopted the DH tomorrow, it still won’t change my opinion about them. The AL is infinitely more competitive because of the Yankees. Of course for fans of NL teams, having to play the Yankees for more than three games a season is more akin to someone who is constipated getting diarrhea without a toilet in sight.

    I’d say the next step after the Universal DH should be geographic alignment that way the ‘this team or that team should go to this league’ talk would be moot and all teams would play each other for at least one series a season.

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