Poll - What should Major League Baseball do about the designated hitter?

I am starting another non-political sports thread for a change of pace.

The agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Associations expires next year and is up for renewal. Those negotiations will probably be contentious for several reasons, but one point of discussion will be the designated hitter. Since 1973 the American League has had the DH while the National League has not, with the only exception last year due to covid when both leagues used it. The best analogy that I read was an article many years ago that said it would be like one NFL conference using NFL rules and the other using Canadian Football League rules.

At any rate, many people think that one result will be that the designated hitter will be adopted in both leagues. What is your opinion on what should be done?

  • The DH should be used in both the American and National Leagues.
  • The DH should not be used in either league.
  • Things should stay as is, with the DH in the American League and not the National League.
  • I don’t care either way about what MLB does with the DH.
  • I don’t give a rat’s rear-end about MLB in general .

0 voters

I think my selection would be that it should be the same in both leagues. I would prefer the DH be used in both leagues, but I could live with either option. I mostly follow AL teams, and I think the overall impact of the DH tends to make their games more interesting, although to does dilute the purity of the game a bit. In the interleague my team plays in an NL park it seems that the pitcher coming to the plate with bases juiced is often a buzz-killer. Every team doesn’t have a pitching staff full of Ohtanis.

Curious: why was there a 1-year experiment?

It was part of the overall 2020 schedule, which had a very abbreviated schedule with teams within proximity of each other. They pretty much felt that it didn’t make much sense to have two sets of rules under those circumstances.

First, arguments about the DH has probably caused more fights than politics.
I voted for no DH, but I am 95% sure MLB will go DH for both leagues. I actually think the decision will work out well, I just don’t like it.

I disagree with you for two reasons.

First, from the theoretical side, pitcher is the only position where they don’t care if you can hit at all or not. For any other position, no matter how great a defensive player you are, if you can’t hit at least respectably you will not be playing. Brooks Robinson and Ozzie Smith are two great examples of this.

Second, from the practical side, these days there are many pitchers signing large multi-million dollar guaranteed contracts solely for their pitching abilities. MLB should want to limit the changes of them being injured, and having them hit and run the bases increases the changes of them being hurt.

I’m light on sports viewing of late, but I’m old fashioned and voted to leave it alone. It’s another strategy piece in interleague play and especially the World Series.

Although this observation is dated now, your comment reminds me of an article from the early 1980s when a sports magazine advocated for getting rid of the DH. One of their points was the purity of the game, and the quoted then-Houston Astros GM Al Rosen saying that purity was very important to him. A letter writer responded by pointing out that his team played its home games in an indoor stadium with an artificial surface and a high-tech score board that played some version of fireworks or cannons going off whenever a home run was hit.

On a general note, I think the purity card is played too often by people who just don’t want any change, period.

I really wasn’t playing the purity card, just mentioning it as something that will continue to come into play when decisions are taken. I appreciate your point about the risk of pitchers hitting and running when their team is AB. Lord knows pitchers get enough injuries just brushing the teeth now days. My Rays currently have 16 players on the IL, 15 of them are pitchers.

MLB needs to do all they reasonably can to make games more apt to attract younger fans. I’m not a great fan of the NFL, but their tendency to have specialists for every situation and position and use them liberally. I think requiring the punter or field goal kicker to also be a position player on offense or defense might cost the game some sparkle and fans.

(And, speaking for the geezer segment, the DH also gives some aging geezers a chance to extend their careers doing the thing they might still do best.)

I didn’t mean to imply that you were doing so. I was just making that observation in general, and I also should have added that baseball fans tend to put a premium on “purity” a lot more than fans of other sports.

Agreed. If I had to say one thing, it would be to speed up the pace of the game. Enforce the pitch clock. End the nonsense of players like Derek Jeter doing everything but changing out and back into their uniforms between each pitch. And, I like the idea of starting each extra inning with a runner on second base. Long drawn-out extra inning games don’t help much either.

I have said before that MLB has lost a lot of its following. If in the early 1980s they had talked about putting the World Series on cable television, there would have been an uproar. If they did that today I doubt many people would care much at all. I know I wouldn’t.

Yep, and one card I will play that probably won’t be appreciated by some. Although there are many very talented players of color on most teams, few are developed in the U.S. I guess baseball isn’t such and easy game to pick up the skills required on inner city playgrounds, etc. I don’t pay much attention to college baseball at the highest levels, but Clemson, the one in my back yard usually has ranked BB teams, but few if any black players. The opposite is true of their football and basketball programs. So, unlike those sports, baseball isn’t a breeding ground for advancement to the major leagues in most cases. I’m guessing most high schools don’t have black dominated baseball teams.

This is very accurate.
My son played baseball until he was about 11, and I am so happy he didn’t have the desire to continue.
It has priced itself out of everyone but the upper middle class and above.
Most travel teams are $1000 to start, plus hotel fees, uniform costs, equipment, etc. It has quit being about kids and more of a business.

MLB, at least the KC Royals, have started and RBI (return baseball to the inner city) program. Too early to tell, but I hope it is successful.

I am abbreviating your quote. I don’t think that the number of minorities playing baseball has much to do with its popularity at large. I am guessing if the percentage of players of color in MLB mirrored that of the NFL there would be no difference in baseball’s popularity at all. Baseball has lost a lot of its popularity mainly because it became arrogant and complacent and allowed itself to lose its once pre-eminent position in the US sports universe.

I have never liked the designated hitter and think it should be gone. If baseball doesn’t think pitchers can hit, then just have an 8 player lineup. I think pitchers should bat. I also don’t like inter-league play during the season. I think there is something special to playing a WS game against a team you haven’t played during the season.

Baseball was my passion when I was a kid, I rarely even watch a game any more. I did see a couple of the recent Little League World Series games and found them more exciting than MLB.

Just curious, but when did you stop losing interest in baseball? For me, looking back it was around the late 2000s when I stopped losing interest.