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MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday he is considering adding the designated hitter to the National League and, as per usual, social media exploded with response. The reaction was to be expected, if you think about it. Fans of American League teams were for the addition for the most part and NL fans typically were against the addition.

One thing remained consistent, though: People had an opinion on the matter. So, we decided we’d introduce our bi-weekly roundtable using this as a launching pad. Let’s see what the writing staff here at Dodgers Nation had to say on the matter.


ICYMI: Lack of Charges for Chapman Changes Nothing for Dodgers


What was your immediate reaction upon hearing about the potential rule change?

JD Miller: My immediate reaction is negative, to say the least. The managerial aspects of the rule change are the main argument for people against it, and I wholeheartedly agree that the DH removes a lot of pivotal middle-inning strategic decisions from the game. But something to consider is the possible disappearance of quality bench players from the league. Without the need of the double-switch, some talented role players will be riding the pine more than ever. I also think there is something askew with paying a player who only bats ‘five-tool’ money for only playing half the game everyone else is.

Brian Robitaille: “Noooooo!!!!” That was my immediate reaction. Not a fan of it. Although, I’m not totally surprised. If MLB was ever going to change one of the league rules, I don’t think they’d ever try to change the AL back to having the pitchers bat. I also believe there’s been a gradual desire to get the pitchers batting out of the game, especially with the emergence of guys who’ve really excelled as the DH and furthered their career by years. So, whether the change happens within the next year or two, or later down the road, it probably will happen eventually.

Ryan Kelapire: I wasn’t that surprised. It seems Major League Baseball has been trying to push this rule change for a few years now, and it seems inevitable that it will happen one day. When it does finally happen, I will certainly be sad to the see NL-style of baseball go.

Justin Russo: I, for one, am pretty excited about the potential rule change. It opens up a wide range of possibilities and a whole new method in which managers can determine the proper avenues into bringing in relievers without having to double switch or burn through a pinch-hitter. I think it’s honestly the best thing to happen to baseball since the lowering of the mound, or maybe even steroids.

Anthony Irwin: I guess I didn’t have a visceral, immediate response. I’m no purist, but I do enjoy the difference in style of play between the two leagues. Whenever interleague play occurs, it’s fun to watch teams strategize and adjust accordingly. That said, MLB needs to do something to increase scoring, and without making drastic changes, this seems the best way to do so at the moment. So, I guess I’m for the change.

Which style of baseball do you prefer: With the DH or without it?

 Anthony: I must be terrible at this, but I really don’t feel all that strongly about either style of play. More than anything, I enjoy that there is a difference between the two leagues. On top of that, and I understand I’m biased having rooted for an NL team my whole life, I don’t like the idea of a player having a single purpose on an athletic team (think kickers in the NFL). Gun to my head, I prefer the NL style of play. Now, please, remove the gun from my head.

Justin: DH, definitely. I think it reduces the risk of managerial incompetence.

Ed Szczepanski-USA Today Sports

Ed Szczepanski-USA Today Sports

Ryan: I am and have always been an NL fan, so I prefer baseball without the DH. I like the double switches, sacrifice bunts, pinch hitters, and #PitchersWhoRake. Having pitchers in the lineup just adds an extra dimension to the game, though, I can certainly understand the goal of making the DH universal — more runs.

Brian: Without. There’s so much more strategy going on. Look, I understand how it is when you have two outs and a pitcher coming up who’s hitting .120. The inning is pretty much over and you can get a head start on your bathroom break. But having a pitcher in the lineup is how the game was originated and supposed to be played. Managers are forced to make tough decisions, like when exactly should they pinch-hit for their pitcher. If you’re starter is throwing lights out, but his pitch count is at 95, and you’re down a run, do you pinch hit for him if he’s leading off the next inning? Or, if he bats 2nd in the inning, do you let him bunt if the leadoff hitter gets on? What if he’s a decent hitting pitcher, can he swing away? How many bench players will you have left if you double switch? Those are big decisions that have huge impacts on the game. In the AL, those calls never have to be made.

Additionally, while few and far between, there are actually some good hitting pitchers out there (Madison Bumgarner, Zack Greinke, Travis Wood, ect) and I think it just makes the game that much more exiting when you have a pitcher who’s a threat with the bat. When your starting pitcher gets a clutch, 2-out, RBI single, fans know how big that is. Plus, when you get classic bat flips like the ones Greinke provided last year, can it get any cooler than that?

JD: I prefer the game without the DH. The DH disincentivizes a manager’s ability to make crucial strategic decisions throughout the 162-game season. I think baseball is a thinking person’s sport and the DH makes that less so.

NEXT: Should teams start planning ahead for the DH? What might this mean for the game moving forward?

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Editor-in-Chief

First and foremost, I love everything Los Angeles. I was born and raised as such. There is video of me, hardly a year old, saying my version of "goooo Dodgers" as my parents cheered alongside me. I could not possibly be more proud to hold this position as we at DodgersNation look forward to enhancing the Dodgers fan experience in any way we possibly can.

14 Responses

  1. RonGotcher

    Why not also go over to aluminum bats and all-plastic turf domed stadiums?

    Reply
  2. JonGallagher

    We had the DH way back in high school, and since I pitched, I never got to bat (our coach said that the DH HAD to hit for the pitcher).  The thing was, I was a MUCH better hitter than the guy we had at DH.  I hated the rule then, I hate it now, and I’ll hate it in the future.

    Reply
  3. Tmaxster

    I see the change to DH as inevitable as the contracts for pitchers have become astronomical and more of the top pitchers have been hurt batting or running the bases. They do not risk them in the AL. plus I think the Union will really pull for it as the high priced DH position adds one more person to the roster. 
    I was born and raised as a Dodger fan. When the Dodgers were taken over by such horrible ownership I moved with my Dodger Catcher Scioscia to the Angels. I like the added offense of the DH and they seem to bring in relief pitchers for at least an inning. So it tends to shorten the game as far as watching Another Relief guy get loose which is boring…
    I like the added offense of the Al and the constant pressure on the pitcher. I hae changed my stance on the DH and I am now for it…

    Reply
  4. lew0409

    Wouldn’t your rather see better baseball?  Putting that stupid aluminum bats comment aside, American league baseball is overall better than NL, because it has to be.  You aren’t able to pitch around the 8th, 9th and 1st batter in the lineup!  If a pitcher can hit, he is able to, but especially at the big league level, you can generally use that spot in the line up to go get a beer.  It is so specialized now, pitchers don’t have time to work on their hitting and maintain their core workouts.  

    If you check the stats, you will see that the AL has won interleague play more often, and has a .527 winning percentage since the start. The AL has won more games in 12 of the 18 seasons interleague play has been played, with more in the last 11 years in a row, some seasons not even being close.  The top 8 winningest teams are AL, which include Seattle and Oakland, for crying out loud.  The first NL team is St. Louis at #9.  The reason being is that your pitching has to be better and your defense has to be better because you can’t take one inning out of three off because of poor hitting!  Pitchers are so bad, they can’t even get down a bunt most times.  And, besides, the best comment for the DH ever said, was: who wants to watch a fat guy think!

    Even if you look at World Series wins in the same timeframe, you will see that the AL has won 10 out of 19, and if you look further back you will see that the AL has won 64 to the NL winning 47.  And, it should be more because the SF Giants in 2014 weren’t the best team in the series, but had the hottest pitcher in baseball at the time.  And, it is unusual to have one pitcher win three games in one world series.  If it wasn’t for KC’s bullpen tanking in game 4, there would have been no game seven and no Madison Bumgarner’s third attempt.

    @JonGallagher,  your coach was probably telling you a lie because he wanted another player to hit, for some oddball reason.  Coaches make poor decision sometimes.  Why do we have interleague play anyway? This isn’t the way MLB used to be played!  Why do we have instant replay? Why not make all the rules as they were in the 1903 World Series? Why not go back to nine games in the WS? Why do we have a wild card? Why do you “purists” only latch onto the DH rule? There is a name for this thinking:  Denial! 

    But, keeping wood bats makes is safer for the pitchers and more challenging for the hitters, and a DH elevates the level of play across the board even if you “purists” don’t want to believe it to be so.

    Reply
  5. Tmaxster

    lew0409 Yes I agree. And as I stated I started out a NO DH guy.. But watching the game in the AL there is constant pressure on the pitchers. And the great thing is you can rest your stars especially the aging ones. It would really help the Dodgers to be able to DH Gonzo from time to time or Turner but keep their bats in the line up. As the stats say the AL teams tend to win more often against NL Teams and score more runs..
    The NL with their bottom of the order and walking guys to get to the pitcher has a dead spot in the action. Yes I know about subbing the pitcher and utility guys all great for the real purist. But I would rather see stronger offense and more consistent action.
    Plus I really feel for an organization that has spent money to try to win it all and a freak accident on the base paths or a pitcher getting hit or tearing a muscle which happened several times in the NL last year ruins all of their plans. The pitchers do not bat enough or run bases enough to have it second nature like a regular player there is too much risk of injury for your most important player on the field,,

    Reply
  6. RussellBrewer

    Like in football, you put your best players out there and let them play so your team can score more points, goals, or runs. If a pitcher can hit, let him hit. If not, use the DH. There is a part of the rule that says that it is not mandatory to insert DH into a lineup but failure to do so excludes the DH for that game. The time has come for MLB to unify the rules with Interleague Play being played every day now since 2013. The DH hasn’t hurt the Astros when they moved to the AL in 2013. Putting a DH into a lineup increases strategy; there are 362,880 different batting combinations that can be used with the DH position available according to Sabrametrics. I don’t care what rules you play with or by but please don’t stop playing baseball due to a Players Strike like in 1994.

    Reply
  7. RussellBrewer

    But DH’ing is a hard thing to do for those who have to do it. Just reinvent baseball from the rules of yesteryear from the 1800s etc. Why not free substitution for position players or at least catchers, designated runners, designated pinch hitters, batters can call for a low ball or high ball to be pitched to them. A ground rule double bounce into stands will be a homerun. World Series day games on weekends, retro looking baseball cards from the 1980s for today’s players, People have to dress in casual wear for ballgames instead of wearing fan gear. Make every team play every team at least once a season. And a 15 inch mound. PH’ing is one AB and you’re done. DH’ing can be 3 or 4 AB a game and more difficult. ASG doesn’t determine home field advantage. Team with best record in WS has home field advantage.

    Reply
  8. VinSmith

    I’d like to see the DH in both leagues, but limited to use only one time in a game.  The manager would have to figure out when to DH his pitcher–early or late.  Or wait–until a relief pitcher is in.  That could force a really outstanding growthinf baseball strategey.

    Reply
  9. BCRobitaille

    Using a DH definitely does not increase strategy. Say you like it more all you want, that’s opinion based. But saying it increases strategy is just nonsense.

    Reply
  10. BCRobitaille

    Well that was a extremely long comment that made no sense. My favorite part was the part about the AL winning 10 of 19 WS, lol. Just about half the time! Like that has anything to do with the use of a DH anyway.
    And btw being against the DH doesn’t automatically make you a purist… it means you appreciate how the game is supposed to be played.

    Reply
  11. BCRobitaille

    Fair enough. I just don’t think changing the rules around to make the game “more appealing” to some fans makes sense. Lots of things could make the game more interesting. Doesn’t mean that’s what is best for the game.

    Reply

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