Monday, June 16, 2008

Hank Might Have a Point About The Whole DH Thing

Bad break for the Yankees in an already disappointing season. Just when the Bronx Bombers were starting to turn it around, they get word their ace, Chien-Ming Wang, will be out until September with a foot injury. Wang hurt his foot Sunday while running the bases in the Yankees 13-0 rout against the Astros.

The injury prompted some interesting comments from the new man in charge of the Yankees, Hank Steinbrenner. "My only message is simple. The National League needs to join the 21st century. They need to grow up and join the 21st century.... I've got my pitchers running the bases, and one of them gets hurt. He's going to be out. I don't like that, and it's about time they address it. That was a rule from the 1800s."

Sure, the man is frustrated. ESPN's Buster Olney says it's like complaining about the weather, in that it is what it is and the rule isn't going to get changed. Hank's probably not in the right for blaming the league for his pitchers injury, but the bigger issue here might be why the leagues are different in the first place.

I see reasons for both circumstances. The designated hitter allows the pitchers not to have to worry about working at the plate, and allows for more offense. Yet, having the pitcher bat creates more strategy, which I tend to prefer. I'm a box score nerd, that's why I post them after every Brewers game, and I love to look at the NL Box Scores much more than I do of the AL variety.

Hank is probably overreacted in blaming the National League for his pitchers injury. But he is right in one regard, whether they go ahead with the DH or no DH, both leagues should have some uniformity to them. It used to be cute, having the different leagues abide by different rules, and I know traditionalists love it. But we're in the era of interleague play, where these teams meet each other throughout the year.

Think about it, what if the AFC had a 2 pt conversion and the NFC didn't? What if the Eastern Conference of the NBA didn't have a shot clock? What if the Western Conference in the NHL didn't have the red line? Don't give me the "well, that's not the same argument" either, but it is EXACTLY the same. Having the DH or not having the DH is a major difference. It changes the way the game is managed, the way the game is played, the way the rosters are set, the way you attract free agents to your team. It's a huge difference, and I'm not surprised there isn't more debate about it.

So have the DH, don't have the DH. I don't care. Whatever they decide, both leagues need to have the same set of rules.


Jonk said...

Or, just get rid of interleague play. That would be my vote.

Interleague play has made schedules a joke anyway. For example, in 2008 the Red Sox play more games in Philadelphia than they do in Cleveland.

This blog sums up well the NL Central inequities this year: Home Run Derby

Anonymous said...

all you need to do is have the dh in both leagues, except you have to manage the dh like its the pitcher. if the pitcher goes out, you pinch hit the dh. how is that not the most brilliant idea ive ever had. you still get all the nl strategy and al offense, and it protects the pitchers. unless you pinch hit the pitcher ala dave bush at the end of a shitty loss, pitchers will no longer hit.

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