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REPLY #2 TO
"DESIGNATED HITTER"



Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.

Italicized/emphasized comments prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.

My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).

(R) In an ideal world, all ballplayers would have both offensive and defensive value, and would be judged on both. We would not have pitchers who don't hit and DHs who don't field.
(MB) Baseball has always had places for good-hit, no-field players as well as for good-field, no-hit players. Usually, that spot is on the bench (*grin*) but there are numerous examples of starting players who fit into one of those two categories.
    Pitchers, however, are different from other players on their team. Their contribution is so unique and important that they are judged solely on their one skill. Nobody really cares if a pitcher can't hit, field, or run.



(R) The world has not been ideal during my lifetime. When I was young, I tried to find out, during the season, how my favorite pitchers were hitting. The information was not in the newspapers or the Sporting News. I could read individual game box scores, and that was about it.
(MB) This is another indication of how relatively unimportant a pitcher's hitting ability is to their team and to baseball in general. In addition to taking up space in the #9 spot in the batting order, they also often reduce the effectiveness of the #8 hitter. Opposing teams often pitch around that hitter in order to get to the weak-hitting pitcher.


(R) If pitchers had been expected to hit, and rewarded for hitting, when they were still in the lineup, I would have regretted the DH rule as diminishing the game. Since pitchers never have been hitters in my lifetime, the rule merely gives me nine batters to watch in the lineup.
(MB) Perhaps, it is the obvious nature of this that escapes those who passionately oppose the DH. They decry the "loss of strategy", but there are almost no situations where there is anything actually lost. The so-called "managerial decisions" involved when the pitcher must hit for himself are almost always no-brainers. The offensive improvements gained by using the DH rule *far* offset any opportunities for minor strategic decisions.
    I watch baseball to see the players play and not to see the managers make obvious moves.




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