Banning The Designated Hitter Essay, Research Paper
Making America a Better Place
In 1973, an abomination to the game of baseball was made. The designated hitter was established in the American League. 27 years ago American League pitchers were pleased to know that they would never have to set foot at the plate unless they were in the rare circumstance of a World Series game held at the Stadium of the National League champs. This changed many things in the game of baseball. It changed the way managers handled their strategies, gave pitchers an extra incentive, and even defied the laws of baseball. I think that the designated hitter should be removed from the game of baseball.
Originally the designated hitter was meant to increase the offensive output of the game because the sport of baseball was dying, and the owners were willing to do anything to get the attendance up again (Nocera 50). However, the American League owners were the only ones willing to pick up the new rule. As a result of this there has been an advantage for American League managers. They now have an extra bat in the lineup and have the ability to leave their best pitchers in when there is tight situation at the plate. On the other hand, National League managers must either let their weak hitting pitchers step up to the plate or take the pitcher out of the game and replace him with someone out of the bullpen because he had to replace him with a pinch hitter. So now the American League is no longer faced with the decision to replace its pitchers. Instead they have a powerful bat in their position the whole game. Instead they could replace their weak hitting pitchers for some slugger who is too slow, weak, or old to play the field.
Designated hitters are typically old, washed up players that can t be replaced, not because they are so good that they are just indispensable, it s because of the players union. These guys are getting paid roughly $2 million a year to bat 15 minutes a game, and the are keeping the talent-rich young Triple A ball player out because the union won t allow them to be traded (Nocera 50). I would go as far as to argue that the designated hitter is actually not a player, based on the simple fact that he does not play the field, by law not making him a valid baseball player. The first rule of baseball states that Baseball is a games between two teams of nine players each (Will 78). With the designated hitter in the game, the lineups begin with 10 players apiece, which defies the first rule of baseball.
It has been proven that American League batters are hit 10-15% more often (Goff 555). This has been on the rise ever since the 1973, when the designated hitter was established. Since the pitchers didn t have to bat any more they could throw carelessly at other batters without consequence. This later led to greater advantages to American League pitchers. They now could pitch curve balls and pitch low and away because the batters were less likely to plant their feet in resulting in less power (Goff 555). Another drawback of the designated hitter is that American League pitchers don t bear the full responsibility of hitting the other batters (Goff 555). The resulting act is a bench clearing brawl which is usually contributed to the hitting of batsmen through the course of the game. The only thing that keeps the pitchers from plunking opposing batters every chance they get is that when a batter is hit he automatically gets on first base and the other pitcher can throw at his teammates (Goff 555).
The designated hitter is the most feared player according to Duby. Duby also states that most designated hitters are aged outfielders and arthritic first basemen with lucrative contracts and bad attitudes . . . (Duby 4). How can these players be considered the most feared in the game of baseball? Duby goes on to state that Jack Clark was the best designated hitter in the game. However, he does back up his statement with outstanding stats and broken records. Instead he talks about how he wasn t accepted by the crowd and only had one memorable hit in his career as a designated hitter (Duby 4). This just goes to show me that even the crowd does not like designated hitters because they can t show their expertise in the field. All they can do is ba,t and usually over two-thirds the of time they get out. Batting in baseball is a game of failure. If you look at almost any batter in the Major Leagues that bats in every game of the season he is well below .500 which means over half the time they are getting out, and if all they do is bat over half their career as a designated hitter is considered a failure.
So if the designated hitter is nothing but a failure, and you can look at the record since the induction in 1973, it is just keeping talented all around ball players out of the game and keeping old washed-up players in the game for no reason. Pitchers should have to bat in the American League all the time. It would reduce the amount of hit batsmen, bench clearing brawls, and add another element of strategy to the game. With people so money hungry, it seems that the only reason the designated hitter still exists today is for the old players to make money that they don t need. The offensive excitement originally intended by the designated hitter is not produced nor is it needed in the world of baseball today. Since they aren t doing their job, I think they should be out of a job.