Pitchers Pitch. Hitters Hit.
I’ve never once gone to the ballpark or tuned into a game thinking to myself, “I can’t wait to see the pitcher hit tonight.” With the exception of Bartolo Colon, it’s never a pretty sight to see a pitcher swing a bat. Not that that Colon made it look much better, but he had fun with it.
Wagering aside it’s nothing more disappointing than being the guy who has the over, the run line, or even just needs a run to break a tie, has a runner in scoring position with 1 or 2 outs and the pitcher comes to the plate to kill all momentum of a big inning. Of course, we’ve seen some pitchers get lucky with a bloop hit or even go long, but it’s not what they’re paid to do and it’s not what the sport needs.
It’s time for the National League to implement the Designated Hitter. Baseball has and will always have to compete with the other three major sports. Its peak during the steroid era was because of the offense. The home run chase made us tune in and go to the ballpark. It was a spectacle that captivated us and made us never want to miss a moment. With strategies dominated by analytics, such as the shift already ruining the game by taking away so many base hits, we need another bat in the lineup to increase offense and excitement.
Did seeing guys like Madison Bumgarner, Dontrelle Willis, Carlos Zambrano, Bronson Arroyo, and Tim Hudson make us stand up and clap when they went deep? Absolutely. But we get the same gratification when David Ortiz, Nelson Cruz, Victor Martinez, and Albert Pujols complete the same task. Some could argue its more gratifying by seeing the best hitters do what they’re paid to do; hit.
Let’s also not forget the feeling seeing the starting pitcher of your favorite NL Team or fantasy team getting injured while batting. We’ve seen seasons ruined by a pitcher getting hit, trying to bunt or even running the bases. The argument of taking the DH out of NL will remove strategy from the game is absolutely laughable. Relievers can stay in the game longer now not having to bat and managers will still have to set lineups based on averages.
“Most pitchers just aren’t equipped to play both roles at the highest level” stated pitcher Clay Buchholz who injured himself batting earlier this season. The game of baseball has already made strides limiting the number of mound visits. Involving instant replay and adding two wild-card teams. Now it’s time for the next step.
Help extend players careers and give the fans what they pay to see; the long ball.