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Message #5378 of 6634  *NEW*
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Rob Reed  
Subject:  Hank Steinbrenner says that the NL should take on the DH. What's your take?
Date:  6/19/08, 12:39pm (Last Edited: 6/19/08, 12:44pm)
Here is my take, from the comments (awaiting moderation as of the time of this entry):

I haven’t revisited this issue in a long time, so let me start with my original proposition that I have adhered to for a long time previous: The DH is a silly concept, whose value to baseball is solely to allow aging sluggers an opportunity to continue mashing and maybe break a few records. But, I accept the DH and actually like the difference between leagues, enabling me to have yet another reason to hate the “Anaheim” Angels versus my beloved Blue Crew.

Suddenly, I’m revisiting my prior opinion, and I’m not liking it. I’m changing my mind (not on the hating the Angels thing, mind you).

Baseball is a different game than it was forty years ago. We have specialist-ballplayers, and the focus of baseball training is on singularly making a player stronger by focusing on what matters.

In the case of the pitcher, he will pitch. He won’t spend time developing in the batting cage because it is much less important to the big picture.

In the case of the hitter… well, how often do you think Ryan Braun or Prince Fielder were working on their bunting when in the minors?

The point, Patrick, that you made that slapped some reality into me was this: “so the NL wonders why everyone else does not recognize that the double switch is sufficient justification for the DH rule.”

I never gave this a lot of credence… until now. And, you’re right. The double switch just has a “bush league” feel to it when you think about it… almost like this is the kind of rule we would find in a t-ball game being played by hapless five-year olds (so, the article gets even more interesting when you point out that even t-ball goes with the DH).

On the fantasy level, I like the idea of putting all pitchers on a level playing field.

So, in the end, I’m flip-flopping. And, even worse, I’m agreeing with a Steinbrenner. Fortunately, Hank (and George) have nothing to do with the “Anaheim” Angels, so my integrity is salvaged, albeit only partially.

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Message #5379 of 6634  *NEW*
To:  Rob Reed
Subject:  Re: Hank Steinbrenner says that the NL should take on the DH. What's your take?
Date:  6/20/08, 6:11am
I think Steinbrenner is an idiot!

What did you think I was going to say?

I think he's just whining because one of his high priced star players on his gazillion dollar payroll got hurt. Now he can just use his endless Yankee money & go out & buy another pitcher or two. I call him a wambulance.

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Message #5380 of 6634  *NEW*
To:  Rob Reed
Subject:  Re: Hank Steinbrenner says that the NL should take on the DH. What's your take?
Date:  6/20/08, 8:58am
I have no idea if Rob read what I wrote before he wrote his piece. That's one of many downfalls with the moderated comments that FBG uses. Anyway, here's what I said on the original discussion in regards to strategy/double switch:

And whether you want to admit it or not, there is a lot more strategy in the NL. And it’s not the double-switch. Anyone who says that is an idiot. It takes very little strategy to execute a double-switch (although I’ve seen Major League managers bungle it).

Instead, the strategy comes through with decisions where the outcome is not cut and dried.

You’re losing 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning and your pitcher comes up with a man on second base - should you pinch hit for him?

Your sixth place hitter gets on first base. What should you do with your seventh hitter? Should you bunt and risk an intentional walk that brings your pitcher to the plate or do you swing away or do you play hit and run?

You’re up in an obvious pinch-hit situation. But your pitcher (let’s call him Johan Santana) is probably a better hitter than the dreck you have for a bench. Should you follow the standard move and PH or let the pitcher hit?

The other team threw at your star hitter and the umpire did not issue a warning. Do you have your pitcher retaliate? If so, what’s the likelihood that they throw at him the next time he comes to the plate?

You have Don Drysdale or Bob Gibson or Rick Ankiel or Dontrelle Willis or any other good-hitting pitcher on your team. Do you bat him somewhere other than ninth to maximize his value or are you concerned about the psyche of the player batting behind the pitcher?

Those are five situations, common ones, that happen all of the time in NL games where a manager gets to prove his worth. How well does he know his team? How well does he know individual mental makeup (Ned Yost decided just this year that Jason Kendall was strong enough to bat behind the pitcher)? How well does he know the other manager? Those are all strategy questions that don’t exist with a DH. I’m sure other readers could come up with additional ones.

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