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epstein conference cubsChicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein has come down pretty clearly in favor of bringing the designated hitter to the National League.

“I think we’re going to see the DH in the National League,” Epstein recently told USA Today. “Hopefully we’re just a few years away.”

With the Houston Astros moving to the American League, leaving 15 teams in each league, interleague play is now a necessity throughout the year. Some see it as the final precursor to an adoption of the DH rule in the National League.

Epstein is all for it, primarily because of the disadvantage the rule imposes on National League teams.

“I think the AL has a big advantage,” Epstein told USA Today. “When a team goes into Boston, they have to face [David] Ortiz, and you’re putting a guy who’s a utility player as your DH.”

Cubs manager Dale Sveum was asked about the DH, and, although he said he prefers the traditional NL approach, he acknowledged the problem Epstein pointed out. Sveum also mentioned big first base prospect Dan Vogelbach as someone who could benefit from the DH coming to the National League. (Generally speaking, I avoid mentioning Vogelbach when discussing the DH, because I don’t think it makes much sense to support or oppose such a long-term, substantial rule change based on a single player in Low-A. But, if you were going to mention an NL prospect in this discussion, Vogelbach is probably the very first one that everyone in baseball would mention.)

I’ve come around on the DH thing in the last couple of years, and have laid out my position before. Among the arguments made by those in favor of the DH in the NL, in addition to the issue addressed by Epstein, which is the most compelling:

  • Pitchers are supposed to pitch, and watching them flail away at the plate is no fun.
  • AL pitchers risk injury by only intermittently doing things – hitting and running the bases – that they don’t otherwise do regularly.
  • AL teams can more comfortably bid higher on free agents like Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols, knowing that in the latter years of their deals, the players can be stashed at DH.

Fine arguments, all of them. But the one Epstein highlights, which I’ve discussed before, is the biggest one by far. To restate my thoughts on it:

While an AL team is able to dedicate a roster spot to finding purely the best hitter it can find, and then deploys that guy when the AL and NL square off in interleague games and the World Series, the NL team is left to pick a guy off of its bench when in AL parks. Because pitchers as hitters – whether AL or NL – are roughly equal in performance, the fact that the AL team has a dedicated DH puts the NL team at a decided disadvantage in half the games. I am not OK with this. Ironically, it is because I’m an NL guy at heart that I think they probably should adopt the DH. I can’t stand the unequal footing.

If the DH does come to the NL, when would we see it? Well, your best bet would be 2017, which would be the first year of a new collective bargaining agreement (the current CBA runs through 2016). That is not to say that rules cannot be changed, on agreement, before the expiration of the CBA. Indeed, if the pitcher/DH problem in interleague games in September impact playoff races, all bets could be off.

That is to say: if you’re a pro-DH type, you’re going to want to pull for an NL team to be ostensibly screwed in September by the lack of a dedicated DH, or an AL team to be ostensibly screwed in September by the fact that their pitcher has to bat while their DH is on the bench.

  • Cubbie Blues

    The Players Union definitely wouldn’t be the sticking point.

  • Bryan

    I’ve come around on the DH to the National League, as well. At first, I hung onto a purist perspective and believed that having the pitchet bat was the “right way” to play baseball. Then, my attention focused on the fact that the leagues have such dramatically different rules; which is crazy. I didn’t really care what happened in the NL, so long as both leagues played by the same rules. (What’s another sports equivalent to that? 5 fouls to foul out in the Eastern Conference but 6 in the West? I don’t know, either way, it’s nutty). Now I’m on board w/ the DH in the National League. Watching pitchers hit is awful. I think the free agency implications, that an AL team is willing to spend more money while theoretically taking on less risk, is inherently unfair.

  • Behind enemy lines (south side cub fan)

    Add another team to the NL and go back to the former method of interleague (or none at all, but that’s not gonna happen). NL central is used to having a sixth team, and it just so happens that the traditional south/deep south — for all its baseball history — has no major league teams.

    • Grant

      What do you call the Atlanta Braves?

    • corey costello

      and bring in the problem that they fixed with moving the astros to the Al?

      I think they should do completely random scheduling, meaning every team gets a chance to play every other team.

  • hansman1982

    Yup, the quickest way to the DH is (not in the evil sense of this but, well, just understand the broader point) that CC Sabathia goes down in the 2nd inning of a division clinching game in the NL due to a hitting/baserunning injury. Or Chris Sale (since the current crap-fest of slotting is, seemingly, Reinsdorf’s brain child)

  • Lokanna

    What no one has really explained is why Designated Hitters are needed in the first place. Baseball did just fine w/o it for many decades. It’s not as if I’m opposed to change (well, I may be labeled as a traditionalist), but adding someone to the roster who only contributes one way, and thus, making it so pitchers only contribute one way, devalues the true players who DO play both ways.

    Not only that, but where are the arguments to REMOVE DH from the American League? Why is their way ‘better?’ If they enjoyed that style of Baseball so much, go play it amongst themselves. Baseball is about 9 people playing defense and offense. 9 people equally invested in the outcome of EVERY single play. Not 8 guys for 9 innings of offense and defense, and 4-6 guys who are only invested in 4 at-bats and 9 innings pitched. You don’t like seeing a pitcher hit? Learn the sport and coach your way to the top and do things your way within the game’s rules. Don’t change the sport just because one guy and swing a bat, but might not have decent defensive skills.

    I enjoy watching National Leagues. They offer a level of strategy that AL games just seem to lack. An AL manager doesn’t have to consider hitting position when changing pitchers. It’s almost like “manager-lite.”

    I realize my way of thinking is apparently outdated and not popular. The game revolves around offense and big home runs and that’s what puts people in the seats. But give me a 0-1 game with solid pitching, manufactured runs, and solid managerial line-up/pitching-change decisions any day over a 10-9 HR fest. I guess the game I love is changing and if I don’t change with it, I’ll have to move on elsewhere. Sad really..

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s all thoughtful commentary, but the ship has sailed. The Player’s Association will never let 15 high-paying jobs disappear, so the DH is *never* leaving the AL. That means the only way to balance things is to add it to the NL.

      • Lokanna

        I know this is radical, and extremist thinking, but then lock the players out, and find new ones. If the Player’s Association thinks it can remove an entire sport due to 15 jobs, then that Association has FAR to much power and leverage and needs to be dealt with. Would it hurt the game of baseball in the short term? Absolutely, but in the long run, the game would be better for it by showing that the sport will remain as envisioned, so as long as player safety isn’t trumped. Now, before someone jumps in and points out the injury to a pitcher while playing offense, remember, that’s how the game was INVENTED.

        I just take issue with a Union having so much power as to hold their employers hostage. The game of Baseball is about 25 players competing in both offense and defense. Let’s get back to the game we all learned to love as young children and stop monkeying around with it’s rules. Other than the Player’s Association stumping for 15 guys, name one good reason why the DH needs to remain? How does it truly improve the game? Heck, you can even make a case that it’s detracted from the game significantly. Look at a typical Boston/NY game. Those marathons last 4 hours+ on average, with some peaking at 5 hours. Why? Because the managers play the “percentages” and burn through their bullpen without ANY regard to the impact on the offensive line up. None, zero, zilch.

        Bring America’s Past-time sport back!

        As for your reply Ace, I acquiesce the point for balance. If the DH won’t go away, if the League cowers to the Union and makes it permanent, then we might as well get in on the crap-parade and join the times. I mean, we started in August 1988, why stop now? It’ll be like Oprah… we’ll look at St. Louis and be like “You get a DH!” Then to Pittsburg: “You get a DH!” and Cincinatti: “And You get a DH!” until it’s all “EVERYBODY GET’S A DH!”

        And the game will be the worse for it. *drops keyboard like a mic*

        • Rmoody100

          I don’t really see MLB as cowering from the Player’s Union. I think if anything MLB wouldn’t mind seeing it in the long run because, as you stated, offense puts butts in the seats and therefore money in their pockets. A billion dollar business isn’t going to fight for the original vision of a game when there is money to be made.

        • hansman1982

          “I know this is radical, and extremist thinking, but then lock the players out, and find new ones.”

          Teey tried that in 1994. Football has tried that before (hell, even with the refs). It NEVER EVER NEVER EVER NEVER goes well.

          Plus, you would be removing the best 1,000 baseball players in the world by doing that. You think having a DH is a travesty, try having Koyie Hill as a better baseball player than the All-Star game starters.

    • mjhurdle

      I agree with you that i like not having the DH, but to answer your question about why no is arguing to remove the DH from the AL, the answer is the Players Union.

      Good or bad, there is no realistic way that the Players Union would allow the removal of the DH from the AL. Any good reasonable argument about whether the DH is needed is dead on arrival,

      • Lokanna

        I don’t disagree with you one bit. But I’ve shared my thoughts on the Union above in Brett’s reply.

    • hansman1982

      If you think most pitchers particularly care about their AB’s, you’d be mistaken.

      Also, pitchers impact more plate appearances than you think.

      2012 Verlander: 956 batters faced (led the majors)
      2012 Jeter: 740 PA (led the majors last year in PA)

      The NL doesn’t require any more managerial-ness than the AL. Most good managers, today, have a binder full of what to do and when (80% of managing a baseball team occurs outside of the ball field)

      • Lokanna

        I’ll have to agree to disagree with you regarding the Managing aspect of the NL vs. AL.

        Regarding players caring about their At-bats. I’m not sure where I referenced the feelings of players in my original posting, so where you’re coming from is a bit lost. But since you brought it up, I’ll add my opinion (hey, we all have them!)

        Should pitchers “care” about their plate appearances? In short, yes. Why? Because that’s the game they signed a contract to play. Baseball started with pitchers having an at-bat, why change it because a pitcher isn’t good at it? Doesn’t that detract from the pitchers who are good at batting? Maybe pitchers would practice a little more at the fundamentals of hitting (not advanced hitting instructions people, the fundamentals, or basics) if they knew the opportunity to impact the game was greater. Or perhaps if someone like a Justin Verlander showed they could dominate on the mound as he most certainly does (seriously, he’s amazing to watch!) but also contribute by being skilled in bunting a runner over, or slapping a hit to the opposite field to bring in a man on 3rd? If one of the greats can do it, why can’t others? Maybe it’s easier for them to just throw the ball and let some big guy with a heavy stick do the hard work. What they might not realize is that the “hitter” they’re relying on is also responsible for fielding his position (at least, in the way the game was originally made) and he has to work just as hard on his defense as the pitcher does his throwing. So why is it fair for the pitcher to not have to work on his hitting? Seems unfair doesn’t it?

        As for the comment about pitchers impacting plate appearances, I really have no clue where you were taking that from or going with it so I’ll leave it alone.

        Suffice it to say, I think we’re just going to have to remain Internet acquaintances, and move about our day until the Cubs come on at 6:30 CST.

        • Rmoody100

          While I agree with you in the most part I highly doubt that fielders have to work on their fielding quite as hard as a pitcher has to work on his pitching. You deal with a pitcher that can not hit very well because a lot of prospect pitchers that can bat really well tend to turn into position players because they aren’t very good pitchers.
          It is a rare gift to be a great pitcher and batter hence there being so few of them, if any at all anymore. Still you can look at fielding and say the same thing with people playing the field such as Miguel Cabrera at 3rd or Adam Dunn in the outfield for years. There were probably many better alternatives defensively who will never get a chance because of their bat just not being worth what they bring to the team defensively. This is sadly where the battle for baseball past is losing since better defensive players are more and more often losing their jobs to players who can put up numbers that over compensate for how bad they are defensively. The general public would rather watch a great offensive battle with mediocre defense than a great defensive battle with generally sub par batting. I know this is an extreme example, but it gets to the general point of why if baseball wants to continue growing in popularity it can’t stay as it was and needs to continue to evolve much in the model the NFL is following.

    • Internet Random

      Word.

  • Spriggs

    I wondered how far down in the article I would have to scroll before I saw the name Vogelbach. Not far.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ah, yes, but you see – the only mention was included so I could poo-poo such mentions.

      • hansman1982

        Well them I shall mention Vogelbach to poo poo the poo pooing of mentioning him for DH.

  • Featherstone

    Couldn’t you also argue that Pitchers in the AL are at an advantage since a manager wont take them out in a tight game when their place comes up in the batting order. Especially during a rally where men are on base. Thus AL pitchers may have the opportunity to go deeper into games perhaps even also saving the bullpen more.

  • http://Bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    A possible all homegrown Cubs lineup…
    1. Almora CF
    2. Baez 3B
    3. Rizzo 1B
    4. Vogelbach DH
    5. Soler RF
    6. Castro SS
    7. Castillo C
    8. B. Jackson LF
    9. Barney/Watkins 2B

    I’m sure the chances of all those players playing together one day is slim to none but it never hurts to dream.

    • terencemann

      That’s a line-up that would make Jon Daniels envious.

    • hansman1982

      I’d go with the guy who came through the DSL (whose name is escaping me) that should be playing in Boise this year for 2B.

      • corey costello

        No, Barney.

        I don’t care if he hits .200, he saves so much runs.

        It’s easier to save runs and have a bad day hitting, then it is to give up runs and then need to have more offense.

    • Jed

      Change second base to Gioskar Amaya and we’re good.

    • Coach K

      Hate to be THAT guy but technically Rizzo isn’t homegrown.

      • http://Bleachernation.com someday…2015?

        You know it’s funny, as I was writing the lineup out I thought of that. Does Rizzo count as homegrown?

        • Coach K

          I wouldn’t just cause he was only in our minors system for a few months and that was after he’d already made a major league appearance. However, for this scenario I have no problem considering him homegrown haha.

    • Coldneck

      If only pitching wasn’t necessary.

  • Kenny

    Why not an 8-man lineup with no DH and no hitting pitchers? That way the best players get more AB over the course of a season. It would eventually re-write the single season records tho..

  • MightyBear

    I hope to God the NL doesn’t get the DH. I hate American League baseball. I get the disadvantage but I would rather the AL get rid of the DH than the NL accept it.

  • preacherman86

    I am a traditionalist, and I can never fully support the DH in the NL. If the biggest thing we are concerned on is fairness, then why can’t we also discuss the flip side of eliminating the DH in the AL. It is an unfair position, for thousands of players a focus on defense and offense to be a serious ball player. What the DH does is say, “screw fielding, if you hit enough you don’t have to do anything else!” I just feel like that goes against what baseball should be, one of the few sports where a guy has to be a two way player to be one of the best. Furthering the point would be the Edgar Martinez example, as a phenomenal bat, he only played half the sport! And that is keeping him from the hall. Had he been a good fielding, even first basemen, he prolly would have made the hall by now. 8 guys have to work on two sides of the game, while 1 guy gets to just focus on offense, seems like a travesty to me. And heck, if there was always a DH, Babe Ruth would have been a good pitcher, but would he have ever become the saltan of swat? the king of crash? the colossus of clout? The GREAT BAMBINO? remember he started as a pitcher, but his bat was too good to have only every five days!

    • hansman1982

      Then why not require everyone to play all positions? Why does Castro have to scamper around SS all game? Why does Castillo have to burn out his knees catching? Why does Soriano have to run about all game? Why does Samardjiza have to perform 3 tasks while the other 8 guys only have to perform 2?

      If you can play baseball, you should be able to field, hit and pitch.

      • Lokanna

        Because requiring everyone to play every position is NOT how the game was played. Players are responsible for two things, offense and defense. Not every aspect of every single entity of offense and defense.

        A Pitcher who pitches is playing his position’s defensive role. That role requires a person to not only field the position, but throw the pitch. It doesn’t require him to run at full speed and crash into a wall trying to save a double near the warning track. Therefore, using your players, Sori is responsible for offense (hitting) and defense (catching a ball while covering a fairly large territory) and Samardjiza the same, defense (throwing and fielding the mound) and offense (hitting).

        Don’t detract from the defensive roles that players are coached and trained at. Just because they don’t hurt a ball 95mph doesn’t mean they stand around all day and do nothing.

        • Patrick W.

          I don’t think the argument that this how the game was invented (your first phrasing) or how the game WAS played is necessarily a strong argument. Lots of things have changed since the invention of Baseball, or the adoption of the initial Knickerbocker rules. The distance between the pitchers mound and home plate changed to 60′ 6″ 30 years after the adoption of the Knickerbocker rules. Players still left their gloves in the field until 1954! The pitcher’s mound was lowered IN MY LIFETIME. Just a few examples of how the game has been changed. The pitcher’s mound change was dramatic and yet I don’t see anybody seriously arguing that we should go back to that because that’s the way the game was played. Heck you had to be white to even play before 1947. There were no night games for half of the game’s existence. There were no minimum rules for a home run distance (park dimensions) for years. The game changes, for the better, all the time.

        • hansman1982

          I’m not saying they do anything but there are three different and distinct tasks that take place during a baseball game: pitching, hitting, fielding.

          If you say the pitcher needs to care about his at-bats and be good at them, then the exact counter argument is that hitters should have to pitch (maybe requiring rotations through ALL positions is the extreme end of my point and a bit much).

          I am sure if you trace the game’s roots back before it became a professional league you could find a lot of examples of guys who would play the field and then come in to pitch if they got injured, were ineffective, the starter needed a day off.

          I love old-timey baseball as much as the next guy but the sport needs to continuously evolve, adapt and change. The DH coming to the NL won’t destroy baseball any more than lights coming to Wrigley and if it can possibly help us get rid of the stupid amateur slotting system, I am all for it.

  • Crockett

    What a nightmare.

    LETS MAKE BASEBALL MORE BORING AND LESS STRATEGIC.

    God forbid we ask for fan input.

    THANKS BUD

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’d argue that higher-scoring games are less boring. Indeed, pitcher at bats are so boring that they more than offset the once-a-week, pitcher-spot-induced strategy. Was it really all that exciting and intriguing when Travis Wood was removed yesterday after six innings instead of seven?

      • ncsujuri

        2-1 v. 8-7, both have their pros and cons…

        • gutshot5820

          2-1 games in a playoff atmosphere is awesome. Every at bat or pitch can mean the difference of winning or losing. When there is nothing on the line, like the Cubs will probably be by mid-season, those games can be dreadfully boring. Slugging fests are best enjoyed when it’s your team doing the slugging, when it’s the opposing team, not so much.

      • EQ76

        You gotta admit that big Z was fun to watch at the plate though..

      • MightyBear

        Yes it was.

      • MightyBear

        Example because Wood was taken out early and because the game was close and because Sveum had to use pinch hitters and extra relievers, when Marmol came in and got into trouble in the ninth, only Takahashi was left to bail him out, unlike Monday night. Wasn’t that game about as exciting as it could be? If not, why did you breathe a big sigh of relief? National League baseball is better. More strategy and second guessing ie why didn’t Sveum leave Fujikawa in to start the ninth; why did he use a two pitchers in the 7th; why did he pinch hit for Russell? Much better and more interesting.

        • Edwin

          Managers in the AL still need to make pitching changes, bring in pinch hitters, and deal with problems such as how long to leave in a reliever, and how to get the best matchup.

  • Dylan

    I’m in the anti-DH group.

    I want the DH to be removed from the AL.

    Yada, yada, I know the Player Unions will never allow it, but I got an idea to compensate for that.

    Remove the DH, and then “expand” the rosters from 25 to 28. That way, there wouldn’t really be any money lost.

    • Jim L.

      The 3 spots would be filled with lower cost players. It’s not the number of roster spots, it’s the higher salaries.

  • Adventurecizin’ Justin

    The National League is the oddball. Pitchers don’t often hit in college and the minors…so why have them hit in only one league? Unless you change everything else, the DH is a no brainer in the NL.

  • ncsujuri

    Count me in as a purist who would prefer to keep the leagues rules separate on this one. Since the inception of the DH rule the American League holds only a slight advantage in winning the World Series (21-18), can that really be attributed to the advantage of a DH? There are certainly other factors involved that are too numerous to list/mention.

    I also would argue that the advantage of having a DH on the roster certainly works against AL clubs when they are playing in NL parks in that they eithe rlose one of the best hitters in their lineup because he is a butcher with the glove or their defense suffers when they take out a good defensive player for a butcher just to have his bat in the lineup.

  • Coldneck

    I hate it when someone presents an excellent argument against something I hold dearly in my heart. Especially when my counter argument is quite flimsy. I guess I need to start changing my mind on bringing the DH to the Senior Circuit.

  • Brian

    There is a definitive competitive imbalance, and when teams compete for the same championship at the end of the year, all teams must be following the same rules.

    The argument could also be made that some teams have an advantage because of the stadium they play in and how they may be designed to favour hitters or pitchers.

  • chrisfchi

    Babe Ruth was one of the greatest hitters in the game, and was a pitcher. Just sayin’

    • Smitty

      I would admit that right now I wouldn’t mind seeing Shark bat over lillibridge.

      • chrisfchi

        I have always said, if 9 take the field for defense, then the same 9 should play offense. If MLB team owners are soo scared that their $200 million pitcher is going to get hurt, then don’t pay them that much. Althetes get paid waaaay too much money.

      • RickyP024

        amen!

  • Sully

    No dh. This isn’t softball it’s major league baseball. That’s why the National league is so awesome. They better not switch to a dh.

  • BluBlud

    I am still 100% against bringing a DH into the National league. I think if they want to fix the problem with a competitive advatage, then get rid of the DH in the American league. The arguement that pitchers are suppose to pitch so why make them hit is pretty dumb. I could say Darwin Barney is a defensive 2B and is supposed to play in the field, why do we make him hit.

    If you are going to do the DH thing, you might as well do it for every position on the field and turn baseball into Football. Every team should have a designated defesive squad and a designated offensive squad. We should increase the regular roster to 40 for the entire season to accomplish this. Then a team can keep 14 pitchers, 13 offensive players and 13 defensive players for the entire season. Hell, if you are going to add the DH, you might as well go all out.

    I think the fact that a player has to play both sides is why I like watching Baseball and Basketball much more then I like watching football. This coming from a guy who coaches and referees football.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      As noted above, any argument that begins with removing the DH from the AL is a non-starter. Maybe it’s fun to discuss, but it will never, ever happen. Our energy is best spent thinking of other ways to make the game more fair.

      • ncsujuri

        BluBlud brings up an interesting point though, does the DH have to be the Dh for the Pitcher? Some might argue that DHing for a Darwin Barney type instead of Micah Owings type would make more sense.

        • Brian

          Rule 6.10 states the DH must be for the starting pitcher.

          • ncsujuri

            Thanks for doing that bit of research Brian, I suppose I could have been less lazy and done that myself.

            • Brian

              Hey, it’s all good! I didn’t know either.

              I’m now that much better at being an armchair umpire!

        • RickyP024

          Interesting thought, though!

      • BluBlud

        Right, But why is the Players Union protecting 15 players when the have thousands of players. This reminds me of the crap Tunney is pulling with the renovation. I would argue that Barney is a better baseball player then David Ortiz, and the players Union should be making sure he makes more money then Ortiz because he has more responsibility.

        I’m a huge Vogelbach fan and I believe he should have a shot at moving Rizzo off of 1B if he performs adequately with the bat and in the field. I believe he can play 1B defensively better then most other people think. However, if he can’t hack it in the field, he doesn’t deserve to be a professional baseball player. Period. The should be no exceptions. Same goes for a pitcher. The fact that there are good hitting pitchers out there, shows that a pitcher can hit if they work at it. Hell, I can argue that at times, when Zambrano was pitching, the Cubs would be at a disadvantage with a DH. Also, I don’t think a pitcher deserves to make 20 million dollars a year if he can’t get his ass out there and take an at-bat. Start cutting pitchers salaries, and then see how fast the Union will agree to dump the AL DH.

        • Internet Random

          “Start cutting pitchers salaries, and then see how fast the Union will agree to dump the AL DH.”

          Now that’s an interesting notion.

          • Edwin

            Isn’t that called “Collusion”?

            • Internet Random

              Under some circumstances, it certainly could be… but not all.

              • Edwin

                Under this circumstance, it totally is.

                • Internet Random

                  Under what circumstance?

                  • Edwin

                    Under owner’s getting together and agreeing to cap how much is given out to FA pitchers.

                    • Internet Random

                      “Under owner’s getting together and agreeing to cap how much is given out to FA pitchers.”

                      I must have missed that part. Please quote where you’re getting that from BluBlud’s comment.

                    • Edwin

                      “Start cutting pitchers salaries, and then see how fast the Union will agree to dump the AL DH.”

                      If owners work together to start cutting pitcher’s salaries, that’s collusion. It’s really not that hard to understand. If you still have problems understanding, it’s probably more you just being argumentative.

                    • Internet Random

                      Please quote where you’re getting that from BluBlud’s comment.

  • Sully

    I have an easy solution. Stop inter-league play.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      No longer possible with 15 teams in each league – unless you want teams having multiple two-day breaks during the season, and the most tortured schedule ever.

      • BluBlud

        It could work if almost every series didn’t have to end on wednesday/Thursday and Sunday.

        • hansman1982

          In the non-interleague play world, the Cubs would be off for 2-3 days in a row every 7 weeks. What sort of impact would that have on the overall schedule length? Would they have to get rid of other off days? Could you imagine how fatigued guys would be before their 2-3 days off after playing 45 straight days of baseball?

    • Leo L

      actually i think the answer should be increase interleague play. it devalues it for the american league and increases the value for the national league. Otherwise the only other way to make it even for the world series is to adopt the same rule for both teams and i agree the DH is not going away (unforturenately).

  • BABIP (MichCubFan)

    People talk about the extra strategy involved in NL baseball. I don’t see the excitement in that. I would like the DH in both leagues…as much as I do enjoy watching pitchers trying to hit. (puke)

  • Brian

    If a DH hits in 2,633 consecutive games, does he becomes the new “Iron Man” even if he doesn’t take the field?

    Food for thought…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      For reasons tied to the kinds of players who end up as long-term DHs (and when they end up there), I don’t think that’s a serious possibility, until/unless the game changes substantially (which it could, in a post-unified DH world). In that event, I’d say … shrug. Different rule for DHs.

      The tougher question is what if you have a positional guy who takes a day here and there as a DH. Does his streak end?

      • wvcubsfan

        Question I have is if the DH isn’t an AL only thing will they be treated different when the HOF voting comes around? Or will that happen anyway when the “career DH’s” like Ortiz are eligible?

        • Brian

          Some would argue that Edgar Martinez was a “career” DH for the last 10 years of his career. When/If the DH rule is applied to the NL, Martinez will most likely be voted in.

          • BluBlud

            Martinez does not deserve to be in the Hall because he only played half of the game. He is not even close to being Hall Worthy.

  • Fishin Phil

    You say this: “Pitchers are supposed to pitch, and watching them flail away at the plate is no fun. ”

    You post clips of Villanueva batting for Toronto. How can you say it is no fun watching them flail away?????

    Hypocrite.
    ;)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      He didn’t do the leg kick in the Spring! If he doesn’t do it in Atlanta, my point will be proven.

      • Leo L

        to me it is not about wathching the pitchers bat but about how the pitchers and the managers deal wiht the situations.

        • Leo L

          i mean the pitchers on the mound. also i liked to get pissed when the cubs pitchers walk the opposing pitcher.

  • Die hard

    What’s next —designated runner? Just look at empty AL parks to see how fan interest increased with DH ….

  • Daniel

    I really don’t get the argument anymore. People are fighting for the right to see pitchers hit. I get aggravated seeing one come up to bat, because I know what’s going to happen 90% of the time.

    The “why doesnt the AL get rid of it” argument is silly to me, too. Because the basis of it is basically “that’s the way it’s always been.” I ask to that, “why can’t baseball change?” The answer is usually “BECAUSE!!!” Not a good argument. We need to be able to admit when a change is needed. People, especially young people want to see things happen. Action. Not some pitcher flailing away like a third grader.

    • BluBlud

      Nobody is fighting for the right to see a pitcher hit, we are fighting for the integrity of the game, and the way we like the game to be played. If a manger doesn’t want his pitchers to hit, he should trade all his starters, sign 12 bullpen pitchers, and then replce the pitcher every time one comes up to bat. But creating another position so some fat dudes that can’t bend over fast enough to field a ball or some pitcher who doesn’t focus on hitting enough to be good at it can benefit is silly to me.

      A pitcher has 4 days off in between games, he should be in the freaking cage taking rips.

      • ncsujuri

        Blu, they are too busy playing golf…that’s how Smoltz & Glavine & Maddux all had low handicaps while they were pitching…

      • Daniel

        Integrity of the game? I see that as a silly argument also. Integrity of the game issues are issues like not using steroids, not betting on the games as a player/manager/etc, and cheating. Not the DH rule.

        This is a rule change issue. It’s a “what is best for baseball, and fan interest” issue. I have many many friends who love baseball, but really don’t want to watch baseball as much as they would like because there are dead spots in the game (like a Half inning of knowing not much is going to happen bc the 8-9-1 hitters are up.). I don’t get bored with it, but many do. Not all people think like us hardcore bb fans. Most go to get entertained rather than immerse deeply into the game.

  • DAN W

    Plus the thing to also rememeber is the next generation of fans. Offense sells, no half hearted fan is going to enjoy a 1-0 picther duel. That’s why we are not a country of soccer fans. MLB has to ensure it’s future, and the more runs scored in a game the more exciting it is. I know thats not a majority feeling for the old school types like us, but game winning home runs, multie home run games are fun to watch for just the average fans. And another thing is it gives the lumpy 250 kid who can knock the cover off the ball, but couldnt run the 40 in under 7 seconds a chance to play professional sports. And really who wants to watch a guy like Garza come to the plate with bases loaded and 2 outs. Not me

  • MichaelD

    I’m sorry, but I completely do not buy the putting the NL in a weaker position argument. I don’t care how the Cubs stand in the standings relative to the Tigers and Yankees. As long as all teams play the same number of away interleague games, it is all fair. The only point that makes a difference is the World Series, and those games are all messed up relative to standard rosters anyway (e.g. 5th starter less important).

    I’ll give you a really good reason not to get the DH in the NL that has actually increased with the extension to season-long inter-league play. This wrinkle adds a level of complexity that lets a smart team exploit it. We are supposed to have a smart organization. So instead of complaining for NL DH use, Epstein should be figuring out the optimal way to construct the roster knowing that there are a few of these games spread out. (Not to assume he is not doing that as well.)

  • Kev

    Seldom have I found myself in complete disagreement with content at BN, but this would be one of those times.

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      Getting the dh in the no would be great as we could sigh soriano to a five year extension and get to use his talents.

  • Die hard

    DH destroys the delicate balance of the game as originally designed —- Introduced a virus that will consume the host

    • Leo L

      i kind of agree. when homers were on the rise, to me, the game became more boring. get a single? well just sit there and wait for a home run to drive you in. But actually the game became more popular and although i dont like the DH i think it will probably make the game more popular. Sort of like football. when passing and more scoring became part of the game( less 3 to 6 victores) the game became more popular. so a virus to consume the host, i dont think so but it does change to me the game is analyzed/played.

      • gutshot5820

        Homeruns were the bomb when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire and Bonds were belting them. Basically, brought the game to all-time highs in popularity. Now that we have nobody on our team that can hit home runs besides Rizzo and an aging Soriano, homers are no fun. The Cubs would be a helluva exciting team if they had 5-6 guys that could hit 20 to 30+ homeruns a year.

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