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Bud Selig on the DH in the NL: “Never say never”

Oct 27, 2013, 1:57 PM EDT

World Series - Boston Red Sox v St Louis Cardinals - Game Three Getty Images

The sight of an American League manager trying to cope with his DH playing first base, his first baseman sitting on the bench and all of the various pitching and pinch-hitting choices at his disposal, whether they were made or bypassed, is one of the many takeaways of Game 3 of the World Series.

Might it one day be a thing of the past? Bud Selig says there’s no movement afoot to expand the DH into the National League, but he did note the folly of claiming that nothing will ever change yesterday:

My friend [Phillies chairman] Bill Giles once said to me, ‘You know, I like the controversy between the leagues. I think it’s good.’ Having said that, I did say three or four years ago that I had strong feelings on [expanded] instant replay. And, like everything else in life, you make adjustments and I now have somewhat different feelings. So I’m never going to say never to anything. But at the moment is there anything going on? No. If somebody has something to say, I’m glad to listen.”

Eventually I think it will be a point of financial negotiation, not a preference for the AL style of play over the NL that will rule the day and expand the DH into the National League. The union will see the value of a higher-paid player in the form of a veteran DH occupying a roster position than another reliever or bench bat. The league will continue to march on toward uniformity and the dissolution of historical relics that once distinguished one league from another. We’ve seen it in just about every other area where the AL and NL were once unique.

And while those of us who grew up more familiar with the NL than the AL may moan about it a lot, we’ll all get over it.

125 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. mtr75 - Oct 27, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    The day they bring the DH to the NL is the day I stop regularly watching baseball.

    • tfbuckfutter - Oct 27, 2013 at 6:06 PM

      And the day someone else starts watching it because it’s less boring.

      • xmatt0926x - Oct 27, 2013 at 6:48 PM

        Why is it boring? There’s more to it than just complaining about a bad hitting pitcher “wasting” an at-bat. There are many times a strategic decision has to be made based on the pitcher coming to bat in a key situation on both sides.

        I remember reading specific quotes from Tony LaRussa and Jim Fregosi in reference to the extra strategy needed. It’s not boring at all. Fregosi went as far to say that it’s not even managing in the American League.

        There are interesting arguments to be made on both sides.

      • tfbuckfutter - Oct 27, 2013 at 7:01 PM

        Yeah, the strategy element is brilliant.

        “I have a pitcher who is pitching amazingly, but he’s borderline on pitch count, and he’s coming up with runners on 1st and 2nd of a 1-1 game and 1 out in the 7th inning….”

        How is having to choose between pulling the pitcher, who is doing his job very well, and replacing him with someone whose “only job is to sit on the bench and bat once per game*” or having the best case scenario be runners on 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs, but also the likelihood of the inning ending on a DP….unless the pitcher just goes up and intentionally strikes out to avoid that risk…..not an incredibly pointless situation to be put in?

        And as for the “pitcher should play a complete game” argument, well as I mentioned earlier, a pitcher already pitches and fields….so you’re actually asking him to do a third thing, bat, while all other positions only have to do two things, field and bat.

        And as far as strategy goes….yeah, you realize the AL has different elements that require strategic planning too, since they have to actually pitch to 9 legitimate batters and not 8.

        This is like the discussion about the downfall of youth, there is always a group of people saying “Well parents should just parent better”….You can’t just say “Well pitchers should be better hitters” and think that’s a solution to a problem. Pitchers can’t train to be better hitters, while still being effective pitchers. That is why it’s a foregone conclusion that the #9 spot is completely useless in an NL game, and so you have to “strategize” and some people romanticize how great that actually is, when really at the end of the day it is a wasted out, or a pitcher coming out of the game before he needs to and a bench player getting paid to take 1 AB instead of 4.

        *This has been the repeated complaint about the DH I have seen here, that he has no job but to bat once every couple innings, but apparently carrying a PH is a better option….

      • tfbuckfutter - Oct 27, 2013 at 7:23 PM

        I will also point out, as far as training a pitcher to hit goes, you are asking a pitcher who commits to hitting seriously, to risk injuries and strains to muscles that are kind of detrimental to actually pitching. Injuries and strains to muscles like the obliques can take a REALLY long time to properly heal.

      • tfbuckfutter - Oct 27, 2013 at 7:28 PM

        In fact, I regularly leave a restaurant when I find out the chef didn’t also raise the cattle that he’s about to cook up as a steak for me.

        I won’t eat at a place where the person whose job is actually the most important to the outcome doesn’t commit to doing 100% of the process of the thing I am enjoying.

      • bbk1000 - Oct 28, 2013 at 7:05 AM

        xmatt0926x – Oct 27, 2013 at 6:48 PM
        “Why is it boring?”

        It’s not boring, but the new fans appear to need action all the time. It’s the new way of the USA.

        We don’t like it, too boring, it’s not like a video game, so we’ll change it.

        This is too hard, we don’t like it, we’ll make it simpler.

        The Red Sox skipper admitted he screwed up the double switch on the disputed obstruction call. He didn’t understand what to do.

        I’m guessing a majority of people under the age of 20 couldn’t identify a chess board. I’ll bet 99% could not set up a chess board.

        The “dumbing” down of the USA if you will.

      • metroplexsouthsider - Oct 30, 2013 at 5:48 PM

        AL baseball is a lot more boring with four-hour games and even more pitching changes.

    • metroplexsouthsider - Oct 30, 2013 at 5:48 PM

      Amen to that.

  2. corvusrex96 - Oct 27, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    This is one of the few points that I like soccer & baseball over football is the lack of specialists . If anything changes please rid the AL of the DH not the other way around

    • bfunk1978 - Oct 28, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      LOOGYs aren’t specialists? Actually, basically everyone who plays one position is a specialist.

  3. christinajkimbrell - Oct 27, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    READ PROPER….my classmate’s step-sister makes 85/hr on the computer. She has been fired from work for six months but last month her paycheck was 20225 just working on the computer for a few hours. useful content… WRITE in your browser……. ᴊᴏʙs72.ᴄᴏᴍ

    • asexatheani - Oct 27, 2013 at 6:25 PM

      Can I apply to be a Designated Hitter?

      • jimeejohnson - Oct 27, 2013 at 8:55 PM

        Not if you’re in the National League.

  4. peopletrains - Oct 27, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    The DH is dumbed-down baseball. Go watch football if you don’t want to use your brain.

    • tfbuckfutter - Oct 27, 2013 at 7:29 PM

      Watching other people do something qualifies as “using your brain”?

      • jimeejohnson - Oct 27, 2013 at 8:52 PM

        Only for tv junkies.

  5. blugold94 - Oct 27, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    I prefer no DH too…..but are the folks saying they will stop watching baseball if the NL adopts the DH saying that the only baseball they watch now is National League baseball? No AL? No minor league? No college summer league? No college? No high school? No little league? Nothing but NL and if that goes you are not watching baseball ever again?

    Don’t let the perfect get in the way of good……and while baseball without the DH is better, baseball with the DH is still good.

    • bfunk1978 - Oct 28, 2013 at 9:20 AM

      There’s no DH in high school around here, so they’re OK to watch high school ball in central Illinois. lol

    • mtr75 - Nov 17, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      Pretty much. I hate American League baseball.

  6. provguard - Oct 27, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    Go away Selig… You are an idiot…

  7. jimeejohnson - Oct 27, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    Sorta like pie versus cake, mmkay?

  8. usm418 - Oct 28, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    NL baseball is boring. Watching a pitcher hit is excruciating and the endless bunting in the NL is not what people pay to see.

  9. EyeDessert - Oct 28, 2013 at 12:29 AM

    Why not just get rid of the DH altogether? There’s no reason why those spoiled brat pitchers in the AL shouldn’t hit like pitchers who are REAL baseball players and hit in the NL. “AL is the superior league” my foot!

  10. bfunk1978 - Oct 28, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    If teams aren’t going to take pitcher batting seriously, then it’s time for the NL to get the DH.

  11. metroplexsouthsider - Oct 30, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    As far as the union goes, just ask for one more player to be added to rosters in exchange for dumping the DH from both leagues.

  12. spc7ray - Dec 11, 2013 at 7:57 PM

    It seems that it is a 50/50 deal here–Some like it some don’t–Selig is right about one thing–Money-Sad to say but money will be why it changes–I actually like the DH and I played for 27 years semipro-The AL will never change and I don’t like 2 different games in Major League Baseball–I don’t like the pitcher hitting-He could and has gotten hurt–Money again will change this rule-when the team has 100 million invested they want to make sure the player is ok—Put The DH In all of Baseball

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