This week, Commissioner Rob Manfred said that National League teams might be more receptive to the DH.
Some of you want it, some of you don't. Here's something that might make both sides happy! Hear me out.
The American League has more exciting offense because of the extra hitter, and they let their pitchers do what they get paid to do. Pitch! Plus there's no risk of stupid injuries on the base paths or at bat.
But the National League style of play can be more strategically exciting with bunting, running, and double switches. Plus! I'm a purist. Nine players. Nine batters. Nine fielders.
This debate has been raging in barrooms and ballparks since the DH came to the American League in 1973. Well, folks, our long national nightmare is over. I was once told of a plan, by a guy whose name I forget, a couple of years ago I think... But this third-way idea could put the DH controversy behind us forever.
You can only DH for the starting pitcher.
Think of it! It's simple and the best of all possible worlds! Plus, it would bring uniformity of play to both leagues.
All the multi-million dollar, inning-eating arms on the team can just focus on pitching. Never again will Adam Wainwright tear an Achilles trying to get out of the batter's box. (Sorry, had to slip that in there.) Because until the starter is pulled, his batting order spot is taken by a DH. If the starter is pulled for a relief pitcher, that relief pitcher is then inserted for the DH, or any other player in a double switch, provided the DH takes a position on the field. From then on, the relief pitcher is inserted into the batting order at either the DH spot or the double switch spot, setting up inevitable substitutions later in the game.
Here's an example. Say Kyle Schwarber, batting fourth, is the DH. Travis Wood relieves Jake Arrieta. Travis Wood is now batting fourth. Which might or might not be advantageous, and Schwarber is out of the game. Unless...
Joe Maddon sends Schwarber in to play left field and takes Chris Coghlan, playing left field and batting seventh, out of the game. At which point Wood is in Coghlan's spot, seventh. Schwarber remains in the fourth spot, now as the left fielder.
This rule maintains, if not adds to, the strategy of the N.L. game. If you pull the starter, you lose the DH. Or maybe the rule doesn't kick in until after the third inning in case the starter gets lit up. But it would apply to any pitcher on the mound after the third. I haven't hammered out the details as it's above my unpaid pay grade.
What's that you say, DH lover? Now the benches and bullpens will be short? Au contraire!
Add a 26th roster spot. Every MLB team has at least a minimum salary laying around for a lefty arm, a speedster, or a utility player. For you fans of specialization, this player addition could really make the chess game of baseball even more exciting.
This new DH rule would protect high priced pitchers, and also makes them work a little harder for their money with the added incentive of pitching deep into the game to maintain the DH. And it gives veteran hitters and good hit/no field players more jobs around MLB in which they would rarely have to play the field.
Everybody wins! It's the perfect solution. Of course, I'm sure I didn't think of something that ruins the whole plan, but I trust that you will point out the holes in my theory below.
You're welcome, Mr. Manfred. I freely share with you this third-way DH idea told to me by some guy one time, but I forget who...