(Photo via mlb.com)
Every year there are questions and comments on what games would be like if the DH was added to both leagues. These questions have been around ever since the creation of the position in 1973. There are good arguments from both sides of the issue. Let’s face it, when the pitcher comes up, everyone at the game and watching at home thinks it’s an automatic out. Actually, according to MLB.com, 74 percent of the time it is an out. Last season, just 16 percent of pitchers plate appearances resulted in them reaching base. Not very good.
A major argument in favor of the universal DH is the safety of the pitcher. There are so many ways a pitcher can get injured while hitting. They can foul a pitch of their foot, get hit in their throwing hand, get hit in the head, or maybe even get hit in their throwing arm. The reason people forget about this is because if someone throws with their right arm, they tend to bat from the right side, meaning their left arm would be the one that’s vulnerable. However, there are some pitchers who bat opposite of how they throw. This is the case for pitchers such as Jacob DeGrom, Tim Lincecum, and Steven Matz, just to name a few. They’re throwing arms are exposed when they hit. A pitch to that elbow could be devastating for their career, something American League pitchers don’t need to worry about.
However, having the pitchers hit in the National League adds much more strategy to the game. Managers need to know when to sacrifice bunt, when to pinch hit late in games, and when to make a double switch. Which in turn means, National League teams are in need of a stronger bench. American League managers don’t need to worry about that most of the time. As much as people enjoy the high scoring affairs, many like to see the strategy of a manager come into play.
But, what is rarely talked about is the entertainment of pitchers attempting to hit. Especially those who spent their entire career in the American League and get signed by a National League team. Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to see Bartolo Colon swing for the fences only to have his helmet fly off his head farther than the ball? Bartolo did have 8 hits last season, including a couple for extra bases. However, we are still awaiting the Bartolo Colon inside the park homerun, so until that happens, the DH needs to stay out of the National League.
– T. Ilardi