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Designated Hitter or Pitcher -- Who Should Bat?

Bud Selig has decided to double the number of inter-league games (30 for each team) beginning in 2013.  This appears to be the first step towards imposing the DH throughout all of Major League Baseball.  Some like this idea, while others despise it.  I have the perfect solution, don't use either one!

Designated Hitter:  Is it crazy to have a player on the team that does nothing but hit?  Probably, but he wouldn't be the only one with limited responsibility.  Closers do the same thing.  They come in and pitch one inning, that's it!  Mariano Rivera has appeared in 1,042 games, but has only stepped up to the plate just three times.  Oh, the Bat Boy has just one function as well.

Santana - Pitcher's Can't HitPurists don't like the DH, so for argument's sake, let's get rid of it.

Pitcher:  Purists love it.  "Make the pitcher bat," they say.  If he's gonna play, he should bat too.  The problem is, they can't hit.  They practice pitching, not hitting.  And why would they?  They only play every fifth game; I wouldn't waste my time on that either.  Pitcher's have virtually no chance of doing anything productive with a bat unless it's by pure luck.  Why would you want that?  Please don't say strategy!

Obviously there is a level of strategy required to deal with the Pitcher's slot in the batting order.  That doesn't necessarily mean strategy is lost with a DH.

  • 2004 AL Championship Series - Game 4 - Yankees have a 3-0 series lead over the Red Sox.  It's the 9th inning, Yankees are winning 4-3.  With Mariano Rivera on the mound, the Yankees are three outs from going to the World Series.  
  • Kevin Millar walks to lead off the inning.  Dave Roberts replaces him on first to pinch-run.  Roberts steals second, now in scoring position.  Bill Mueller singles, Roberts scores to tie the game.
  • In the 14th-inning, David Ortiz - the Designated Hitter - hits a "walk off" home-run to right field, preventing elimination and giving the Red Sox the victory.  
  • They also won the next three games, winning the series 4-3 en route to their first World Series title in 86-years - thanks to strategy!

Baseball is situational.  Strategy is key all game long!

The Pitcher's slot in the batting order is virtually a void.  As I mentioned before, without luck, they're a sure out.  In my opinion, it's pointless to let them bat.  Professional sports entertain us because we are intrigued by the levels at which professional athletes perform.  How many fans are in attendance at a given game that would be more valuable at the plate than the pitcher?  There's no telling, but I'm sure that number is quite high.  That defeats the purpose of playing sports at a professional level.

The Solution: Go to an eight player batting line-up!

Bud Selig, listen to me for a minute.  We obviously can't keep everybody happy.  If you let the Pitcher bat, you keep the purists happy, but it's not very exciting.  But if you use a DH - which is exciting, you upset the purists that feel nobody should just sit around and bat.  I propose we do away with both!

So, why not just let position players bat?  It doesn't really change anything.  You still need to play 9-innings of baseball.  They will still be required to register 3-outs per inning.  What really changes?  If a perfect game were pitched, the top three batting slots would get an extra at-bat.  Is that really all so terrible?

Now, you want to talk strategy?  If this were the case, the guys at the top of the lineup would get more at-bats than the guys at the bottom.  Don't get me wrong, I realize that's already the case.  The top of the order, however, would be more significant with the lead-off man hitting after the number eight hitter every time.  This being the case, Manager's may change their strategy when it comes to setting their lineups.  So, strategy is not lost!

What do you think? 




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Let the pitcher bat. It brings humor to the game!

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