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Reports have surfaced that Major League Baseball plans to return to an AL-only DH, like in years past. According to LaVelle Neal of the Star Tribune, the players union and MLB will need to come to a bargaining agreement to stop the reversal. People have criticized the inconsistent application of the rule for years between the two leagues. The problem now isn’t inconsistent application, it’s the rule itself. All of Major League Baseball need a DH, not just the American League.
As of now, the DH will be AL-only next season, I’m hearing. The union and MLB would have to expand it to both leagues through bargaining.— LaVelle E. Neal III (@LaVelleNeal) October 22, 2020
Compared to the NBA, baseball enjoys respectable ratings. Some of this audience interest may come from an increase in runs thanks to full-time DHers, but the first post-pandemic season isn’t the time for a trial run. Commissioner Rob Manfred shouldn’t attempt to fix what isn’t broken.
Though they were moderately successful at bat when the average fastball barely topped 90 MPH, pitchers nowadays struggle at the plate because their peers on the mound are just too good. They can dish it out, but most of them can’t take it.
And there appears to be a correlation between the number of runs scored and the level of social media interactions about MLB. The MLB should try to put players –including pitchers — in a position to give us the best show possible.
Watching a dude whose job is to pitch take three worthless cuts is nothing but an excuse for those at the game to go grab a hot dog and for those watching at home to change the channel. Forcing pitchers to bat does the players and the fans no good.
Can baseball afford to take a step back?
The answer is simply, no. Baseball is a thinking man’s game in an era of constant distraction. Generation Z, Millennials and Baby Boomers all have many different activities to do at any given moment. Commissioner Manfred knows he’s engaged in a never-ending battle for our attention.
Baseball is a game that already takes time to develop. Having a pitcher embarrass himself at the plate is a time suck that no one needs.
It remains to be seen whether MLB will make sure the DH sticks this offseason. It certainly should be a concern. Losses in revenue due to lack of fans could potentially dampen any urgency they would’ve had to keep the DH, but they should make it a priority anyway. Fans and pitchers everywhere are counting on it.