The baseball equivalent of pigs flying might just actually happen. It sounds like the DH could be coming to the National League.
The American League has had the designated hitter since 1973, while the National League has famously held fast to letting pitchers hit. That tradition seems to have its days numbered.
According to MLB union leader Tony Clark, the idea of bringing the DH to the NL is “gaining momentum” among players.
There's a lot of momentum in discussions among players, union chief Tony Clark says, towards having a DH in the National League as well as the American League
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 17, 2018
Designated hitter in the National league is “gaining momentum,” Tony Clark says.
— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) July 17, 2018
Of course, traditionalists will balk at this idea. But it makes total sense for the players union to support it. After all, 15 more hitters will have starting roles now.
The Players Association has always been partial philosophically to the idea of a DH, because it means more jobs for veteran hitters. The key question is whether the union and MLB are at the table engaged on this and many other issues—and they don’t seem to be.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 17, 2018
Fans of NL teams who are anti-DH usually cite the added strategy of bunting and double-switching that goes along with leaving the pitcher in the lineup. That will be gone from the game, but having another hitter should lead to an increase in offense and more entertaining baseball.
Seriously, does anyone really enjoy watching pitchers hit? And while I understand the argument that having the DH eliminates position players playing the whole game of baseball–DH’s don’t field, obviously–taking the bat out of pitchers’ hands is a good thing.
The DH is at every level of baseball, and pitchers aren’t hitting consistently from high school on in some cases. This rule change makes sense.