I challenge you to a duel. There’s a caveat though.
You have to tie one hand behind your back.
Or instead, you have to hop on one leg the entire fight.
Actually, just fight me with one eye covered.
All those seem ridiculous don’t they? That’s what most of us see during National League play or interleague play when teams play without a designated hitter, DH.
The necessity of a DH becomes more evident every year. Pitchers getting hurt in the batter box, running bases, or even sacrificing an at-bat to Bartolo Colon, who’s batting average is .100. And he usually bunts anyway!
It’s honestly ridiculous to risk someone as valuable as a starting pitcher doing something that is an unnecesary part of his job. New York Yankees fans can attest to this notion. Back in 2008, Chien-Ming Wang, coming off back-to-back 19-win seasons, 8-2 at the time, injured his foot running bases. He was never the same pitcher again.
Just recently, Masahiro Tanaka, also of the Yankees, strained both hamstrings scoring on a sac fly.
You could argue that he should be in shape to run bases, but he was in excellent condition to do his real job, commanding the mound.
Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz of the Mets have also suffered injuries this year on at bats and those are guys who are expected to go seven or eight innings as a pitcher.
Another thing is pitchers are not getting better in their at bats. Very few desire to hit and the ones that do are not good, Shohei Otani notwithstanding.
It’s a shame Ohtani could be out until 2020.
Let’s be clear though, the split DH isn’t hurting the game. The current rules have been in place for over 40 years and yet we all still watch to varying degrees. That, however, does not change the fact that we watch high level sports to see high level players do what they do best. We want to see pitchers pitch. We want to see hitters hit.
How we appreciate any sport is a matter of taste. My taste buds aren’t fond of pitchers as hitters.
“Pitchers are absolutely useless as hitters.” John Heydler, NL President, 1928.