This week at ESPN.com, there will be a lot discussion among writers and fans around “radical changes” that should be brought to MLB. Anything related to the rules of the game, its draft, umpires/instant replay, expansion/contraction, etc. is fair game.
In my view, one not-so-radical change that the game needs is the implementation of the designated hitter (DH) in the National League (NL). Basically, the arguments against enforcing the DH aren’t substantive and the arguments for the DH make too much sense to ignore.
First of all, the idea that pitchers “should” be required to bat because “that’s the way the game should be played” doesn’t make sense. As a lifelong baseball fan, I used to be against the DH but realized that, as a true fan, I should be dedicated to making the game more fun and interesting, and more attractive to casual and non-baseball fans. Allowing pitchers to hit undermines these goals.
Watching pitchers bat isn’t fun because pitchers make for terrible hitters. Those who understand the game know that being a pitcher is incredibly demanding. It is ludicrous to think that a pitcher could ever become even an average MLB hitter.
Finally, the notion that eliminating the DH forces managers to be more strategic and creative also isn’t true. The easiest decision a manager can make is to walk the eighth place hitter to get to the pitcher. Rallies and innings are killed by this boring tactic.
Allowing pitchers to hit is simply a detriment to the sport, which is why the DH should be enforced in the NL.