Monday, January 25, 2016

Saying “yes” to DH an easier decision to make than picking a president

The presidential caucuses in Iowa are fast approaching, as is the New Hampshire primaries. Yet I remain clueless as to who I can seriously say I support for president.

Almost a 3,000-hit player due to DH
I think many of the Republican hopefuls are offensive, while the Democratic dreamers of White House glory are either clueless or ever so mediocre. Although I believe the Des Moines Register’s picks for president (Dem Hillary Clinton and GOPer Marco Rubio) are fairly safe and predictable choices.

SO AT A time when I feel like I ought to be making up my mind about something, I find my mind shifting to baseball.

Not only because spring training is rapidly approaching (Feb. 19 for the Chicago White Sox and Feb. 20 for the Chicago Cubs) and I’m anxious to have springtime-like weather, but also because at least baseball gives us an obvious choice.

Even though I’m sure my pick will wind up upsetting people even more than any political pick I might make – bring the designated hitter to the National League.

It’s about time that move was made and that the National League get off its high horse thinking it somehow is superior because it can’t get with the program that all the rest of professional baseball (except the Pacific League in Japan) follows.

FOR THOSE WHO are clueless as to the joy of baseball, the designated hitter was a measure created back in 1973 by American League teams (including the White Sox) where someone else hits for the pitcher – which throughout the history of baseball has been a spot in the line-up that weakens the offense.

There are those fans of National League teams (including the Chicago Cubs) who think this somehow is an aberration, even though I’d argue the Cubs’ play throughout the decades is the bigger aberration to baseball. It can become a heated argument.

DH extended career to Hall of Fame
One that will become even more intense in coming months because there is speculation that the National League will adopt the DH soon – possibly as soon as the 2017 season.

Baseball Commissioner Fred Manfred said last week the change could be made because there is a new generation of National League team owners – ones who think the designated hitter just makes too much sense to not have. In short, the old-liners who want to think they’re better off without it aren’t strong enough t resist the modern day.

THAT INCLUDES HAVING another big bat in the line-up, often one upon which the entire ball club is based around. As for those who think removing a weak-hitting pitcher in the late innings of a ballgame for a pinch hitter is evidence of great strategy, I’d say those people probably get excited seeing a frustrated ball player smash a water cooler.
Cubs better off if he'd been a DH
Will he ruin it beyond repair? Or just put a few dents in it that future generations of ballplayers will marvel over?

To me, at least, watching a National League game always feels like there’s a gap that pops up every few innings when the pitcher has to come up to bat. A gap that just doesn’t occur when watching an American League team play.

In short, all the talk of “strategy” offered up by National League fans is a batch of hooey! Way too overblown to take seriously.

SINCE THE PEOPLE who now lead baseball are determined to erase the differences between American and National league ball clubs to make one overall professional league in the United States, having the designated hitter in one league while denying its existence in the other just seems silly.

Now I don’t know if the designated hitter really is coming to the Chicago Cubs and other National League teams next season. I don’t doubt there will be some fans who won’t stop complaining until they’re planted in the ground with a headstone atop them. Even then, their spirits will probably haunt us to complain.

Even Hillary has a bubble-gum card
But it’s bound to happen. And if it winds up getting approved some time during 2016, it could be the most controversial action of the year.

Because I suspect that some people will find the idea of the Chicago Cubs or Pittsburgh Pirates having a designated hitter even more offensive than the concept of the oath of office being administered early next year to “President Hillary R. Clinton.”


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