Major League Baseball is certainly guilty of having questionable rules that cause me to shake my head. While I could name countless rules I disagree with, I am choosing to name one rule in particular.
That rule is the designated hitter rule, a very long and arduous rule that is essentially summed up by the following: “A hitter may be designated to bat for the starting pitcher and all subsequent pitchers in any game without otherwise affecting the status of the pitcher(s) in the game. A designated hitter for the pitcher must be selected prior to the game and must be included in the lineup cards presented to the umpire-in-chief.”
The rule itself is not something I have a problem with. For me, the problem lies in the fact that it only exists in the American League, and not in the National League.
This means that if two teams from the American League play each other, they are allowed to have designated hitters who bat in place of the pitcher. On the other hand, if two National League teams are competing, the pitchers have to bat. The only way for National League teams to avoid sending the pitcher to the plate is by pulling him from the game and sending in a pinch hitter, which means that pitcher cannot re-enter the game. By doing this, managers will most likely have to shift a few other players around as well to get the diamond looking the way the manager wants it to for the rest of the game. That is an inconvenience that requires great strategy and American League managers are thankful that they do not have to deal with it.
During interleague play, if the NL team is at home, the DH rule is not in effect, giving an advantage to the NL team because it takes away a big offensive threat from the AL offense. On the other hand, if the game is played in an American League park, the DH rule is in effect, which gives the AL team its powerful bat back, while the NL team just has to stick a player into the game who might not be known for his great hitting ability.
Essentially, what it all boils down to is the fact that teams in the American League carry a player who is known solely for his hitting abilities. (A perfect example is David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox.) National League teams, however, do not.
There is always debate about whether the DH rule has an effect on the outcome of the game. That being said, why don’t we just end the debates by unifying the designated hitter rule and make it the same for both leagues? MLB should allow a designated hitter to bat instead of the pitchers, who typically struggle at the plate. It is a simple fix that would not only end all debate about the impact of a DH, but it would increase the scoring in a game that has always been criticized for being “too slow and lacking enough scoring.” It is a win-win situation that evens the playing field for both leagues and creates more enjoyment for fans.
Why not make the change?
Christopher Miller is a freshman studying broadcast journalism and sport management and a columnist for The Post. Should the MLB implement a DH in both leagues? Email Christopher at firstname.lastname@example.org.