...and tolerate the DH
Oh, what a joy it was to see this. It got me to thinking about a rule change I'd like to see. I came to it very recently, and I sorta talked about it in a previous thread. Not sure if it was a Rockpile or a previous FPF or what, but that's neither here nor there.
I long considered myself a purist on this front, but I've come to see that my stubbornness was misguided. The rule change I want to see is consistency in the DH across leagues--and yes, I want to see this fall on the side of using the DH in the NL.
It's high time to have one rule for the whole league. There are not separate leagues any more, no matter how much we may wish it to be so. They haven't existed in any legal sense since 2000. They're glorified conferences now. They don't even have the wall of separation on the field anymore. Interleague is here to stay, and has helped the game grow. In fact, it's an all-season thing now. There just isn't any plausible deniability there any more. Think about the NFL for minute: When the Broncos play, say, the Eagles, are there different rules? You can use 3 wideouts in Denver, but have to field four running backs in Philadelphia? Of course you don't. One game, one set of rules, driven by the fact that the conferences are not walled off from each other (and it's supposed to be the same game, anyway). The "leagues" aren't any more, either. Yes, baseball is not football (and that's a good thing), but MLB and the NFL are run much more similarly than we want to admit.
"Yeah, well, that's your opinion, man! Why can't we get rid of the DH across the majors?"
That would be smashing! No, really! The cranky, old-school purist in me would be ecstatic over that. However, there are two problems with that:
1) Imagine a scenario in which the MLBPA allows MLB to implement a rule change that takes jobs away from their members. Imagine the most powerful union in professional sports going for that. I'll wait...once I stop laughing, that is. It ain't happening.
2) Sandy Koufax isn't walking through that door. Okay, maybe he is if you're cooler than me, but he sure as hell isn't doing it to throw a baseball. I say that to point out the obvious: Pitchers are used completely differently now than they were back then. Even in the DH's infancy, bullpens were used differently. You didn't have a bazillion specialists in that green space beyond right field. You didn't have 47 pitching changes a game. The starter went much longer into games. Think about it, how many times does a pitcher (almost always the starter) bat during a game in a NL park? Once or twice (maybe)? It seems like that spot is seeing a pinch hitter as often as it's seeing the player occupying the position. So, really...that's just the burner phone version of the DH! I can't see where taking the concept to its logical conclusion is going to be that harmful. Batting pitchers survived the war, but they can't survive the age of Bochyball, Drunk Tony, and MATCHUPZ.
We survived interleague, divisional play, the wild card, Bud Selig, and Ty Wigginton. We'll probably survive Gerardo Parra. We'll survive this, too. Courage.