Pre-World-Series-Debate: American League vs. National League

Designated hitters vs. pitchers who bat.
Fenway Park vs. Wrigley Field.
Cal Ripken, Jr. vs. Tony Gwynn.
What’s better and why? Discuss and don’t hold back.

Pardon me if this has been covered before, but I couldn’t find it in a search.

  1. I like the DH. I’ve never really understood the obsession people have with having pitchers bat. I’d rather give the 600 at bats to someone who can do something with them; it gives more guys a chance to get playing time, which is cool. Of course, as a Blue Jays fan, the DH has given me a chance to see Dave Winfield and Paul Molitor play the World Series hero, so that’s cool, too.

  2. How could you possibly choose? Actually, both leagues have many beautiful parks now. Pacific Bell Park in SF is like a dream stadium. But really, the greatest of all parks is Yankee Stadium, the Mecca of abseball.

  3. Hard to compare. Very different players. If I had to choose I’d take Ripken, but if I already had good infield defense I’d have to take Gwynn.

Although my team is in the AL, I don’t like the DH. It’s a tougher game without it, and that’s what’s great about baseball; although football is more technically complex, there’s so much happening the moment the pitch crosses the plate the game can almost become a duel of wills between the pitcher and the batter.


I’m very sad, now RickJay. I thought I knew you. :wink:

The DH is an abomination and a disrespect to the game itself, created for the purpose of “improving” offense but resulting in far too many short-sighted GMs giving jobs to players who can still hit but whose level of all-around skills would limit them to the minor leagues.

Baseball players who cannot play both offense and defense should suffer their fate accordingly, not be given cushy one-responsibility jobs. Pitcher can’t hit? Tough. The other team gets an easy out every nine batters. Great hitter can field? Stick him in left field and pray for the best, but plan to watch your E stats go up.

The only thing that saddens me more than the obsession with money that has driven such moves to “improve” offense is that it has worked so well, which only serves to justify its existence in some minds and encourages other stupid notions.

Sports fans who want their teams to have specialists at offense and specialists at defense really would be better served by football, and baseball would really be better served by concentrating on what makes it a great sport and encouraging new fans to embrace that rather than gimmicking itself up.

Damn. Obviously, that should have been “Great hitter can’t field?”

:slinks back off to GQ:

I’m curious; how does giving a job to Paul Molitor make somebody “short sighted”? Filling a need isn’t short sighted. Putting Edgar Martinez in a lineup isn’t short sighted - it’s smart.

If that’s your opinion, great. I really don’t see it as being anything other than a subjective opinion, though.

In light of the fact that the DH rule is now 28 years old, it’s not a new gimmick. No league keeps the rule because they’re catering to any particular kind of fan. The minor leagues all use the DH rule because it gives them more at bats with which to train and develop minor league hitters; it’s 12.5% more times you can send prospects to the plate to learn their trade. The AL uses the DH more or less because they just always have for so long, and getting rid of it would A) be a hassle, and B) take some stars out of the lineup (e.g. Edgar.)

I don’t think anyone seriously thinks that pitchers hitting is what makes baseball a great sport, and its greatness isn’t diminished by the DH. Besides, there’s a league with the DH and a league without, and even that is, in and of itself, really cool. I like having two leagues with little rule differences.

And in the exchange, training generation after generation of young pitchers who can’t hit, thus feeding the cycle of “need” for DHs.

:hangs head in despair:
After I carefully went to all the trouble to avoid playing the “tradition” card in speaking against the DH, you don’t seriously mean you’re going to use it to speak in favor of it, do you? Oh, my.
And in response to these stars being taken out of the lineup, I have no problem with adding a position or two to the roster for additional pinch-hitters who can’t do anything else. I would just appreciate the acknowledgement that that is what they are: faded players whose abilities now limit them to single-purpose functions. If it’s good enough for Dennis Eckersley, it should be good enough for Edgar Martinez.

** No DH! **

I remember in the seventies watching the Game of the Week Saturday on NBC, with Joe Garigiola and Tony Kubek. Kubek had just made a rather spritied attack on the DH, pointing out that it was interesting to ponder in what situations a manager might choose to pinch hit for a pitcher, and that the DH removed this from the game. Garigiola responded along the lines of, “that’s about as exciting as watching the grass grow.” That of course misses the point entirely. It is in fact the little things like this that add up to help make it such a great game. I’ve never stood up and cheered when a manager had his infield shift for a particular hitter, but that doesn’t mean it makes the game any less interesting.

Further, I actually find close, low scoring games to be more suspenseful, with a much bigger payoff when my team wins. (I don’t have a cite, but I believe a recent poll suggests most other fans agree). There are plenty of teams with great hitters, who get ample opportunity to provide offensive excitement. And if the DHs are to the point in their careers that they can’t play defense anymore, then we’ve all had plenty of time to see them in the past. The suggestion by RickJay that a team gets 600 more at bats is of course true, but if offense isn’t the most important thing to me, then it obviously won’t help sway me to support the DH. Therefore, I don’t see any added benefit that the DH brings to the game. I say get rid of it.

Dang. In regards to the poll I mentioned, I should have said “a majority of fans agree”…

I have to take issue with this statement. Pre renovations, sure, you can make an argument to put Yankee Stadium on the list of Meccas with Fenway and Wrigley. But since the Stadium’s renovation in 74-74, it’s just not the same. The short porch to right, while still there, isn’t nearly as obscene, Death Valley is gone, there’s no in play monuments anymore, the facade is in the wrong place…it got sanitized, as sad as it is. And the additional fence movements in 85 and 88 made it even more standard.

Wrigley and Fenway, on the other hand, just don’t change. The last time Fenway actually MOVED a fence, rather than just relabeling the distance, was 1942, when the right field fence was moved in by 2 feet.

Wrigley hasn’t had a dimension in fair territory change since 1938, althought the backstop was moved 2 feet back in 1982.

They are the 2 crown jewels of baseball. They are the TRUE Meccas of the sport. While Yankee Stadium certainly ranks in the top 5, to call it the Mecca of baseball is to do a grave disservice to the game’s TRUE holy sites.

I gotta be a dissenter in the stadium debate.

I hate Wrigley field. Yes I am saying it, Wrigley field sucks. More than half the seats have views obstructed by the support system. I mean, there are steal beams in the freaking middle of my view. If you are unlucky you can’t see first base, the pitchers mound, or home plate. I’ll admit the vines, and the score board give it charm but give me Comisky any day.

I don’t understand this. I think you need to very carefully read my comment. I wasn’t using tradition to “Defend” the DH. Heck, I didn’t even mention tradition. Not sure where you got that.

I like the DH because in my honest opinion the benefits outweigh the cons. On the other hand, it’s nice to have a league that still doesn’t use it.

My apologies, RickJay. I understood you to say that

which is a remarkable parallel to the deficient argument so often made that the DH is “bad” solely because we didn’t have one for so long.

I hope you can see where my misunderstanding arose.

*Originally posted by RickJay *

You mentioned it give more guys playing time. Fair enough. But is that the only pro? And what do you see as the cons? Just curious.

*Originally posted by notcynical *

The other pro is that it has allowed legitimately great players like Edgar Martinez, Paul Molitor, and Dave Winfield to continue their careers are injuries made playing the field risky. I enjoy watching them play, and I’d rather watch them play than watch pitchers hit. That’s a subjective call, I freely admit.

The cons, to my way of thinking, are that A) you do miss the occasional thrill of a pitcher getting a hit, and B) you have to listen to people complain about all the strategy that’s missing.

What I don’t think is a con is the alleged loss in strategy. Any twelve-year-old knows how to execute a double switch. The number of strategic decisions actually being made is pretty small; for the most part, handling the pitcher’s spot in the batting order is a series of no-brainer decisions. It’s not very often that you’re faced with a legitimate dilemma. The real difference between managers is their ability to recognize talent and use players in appropriate roles, not in-game tactical genius.

A National League guy who favors the DH.

And Edison INTL(Home of the Angels) is a little slice of heaven. At least in comparison to Dodger Stadium.

Here’s an interesting thought, why not have one league have the DH and the other not. This would allow baseball fans something to argue about infinitum. The AL and NL should not be cookie cutter copies of each other. I know you are all going ooooh, aaaah, what a great idea. Thank you, thank you very much.

I enjoy watching when the DH is hitting in a tense situation, especially with a closer on the mound. It is power vs power. What a great end to a close game. The DH also allows an everyday position player an opportunity for some rest without having to sit on the bench.

But I also enjoy watching the pitcher hit. There are some good hitting pitchers, but I have noticed most of the time with a runner on, the pitcher will bunt. It provides a team with an oppportunity to play “little ball.”

I have heard the theory that there would be alot less hit batsmen and charging of the mound if the DH was eliminated. This is hogwash. The NL has just as many hit batsmen as the AL. (just don’t ask me for cites, just an observation from watching games).

spooje we will get you to move to Orange County soon. The assimilation has started. Bwa ha ha.