Archive for the ‘Designated Hitter’ Category

The League of Ordinary Gentlemen

With the Boston Red Sox already clinching the AL East title and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, I thought I would write about what I feel is the worst thing about American baseball: the Jan Brady of the major leagues, National League baseball.

The NL for me is really hard to watch. I’m sure it has something to do with growing up in New England and being exposed to AL baseball before there was interleague play. There were very few National League games on TV in New England. After watching some of the junior varsity baseball that’s being played in NL cities, I am thankful for this. Here is a fact: Nobody wants to see pitchers stand at the plate and either watch pitches go past them without ever letting the bat leave their shoulder or, even worse, think they can hit and end up flailing around with the bat. Pitchers are an easy four outs a game, every game. It’s tough to watch.

People can say what they want about the designated hitter. That it’s unfair to have a guy that only hits. That the DH isn’t a real ballplayer. That you should have to field and throw. But when guys like David Ortiz or Frank Thomas come to the plate, no one changes the channel. Can you say the same when Pedro Martinez is up?

It’s no coincidence that the American League has the better record in 8 of the 11 years of interleague play and has 10 of the last 11 All Star games. It should also be noted that this season, teams with a .528 winning percentage are making the playoffs in the NL. This same team in the AL would be watching the playoffs from their couches.

NL fans state that there is more strategy in National League games, with double switches and small ball. The AL could implement these strategies. But why? They already have superior pitching, better hitting, and more exciting games. With another World Series coming to the American League this season, I wouldn’t change a thing.