With exceptions to some of the best hitting pitchers of all time from the early Babe Ruth who was later put in the outfield, to the more recent Dontrelle Willis and Carlos Zombrano, major league pitchers are usually only capable of maintaining and constantly using two to three of the five tools of baseball: fielding, arm strength, and once in a blue moon, running speed. Cardinals pitcher, Adam Wainwright will miss the rest of the 2015 baseball season with the team because of an achilles tear that occured when he was batting against the Milwaukee Brewers.
But in the national league, where Wainright presides, he has no choice but to step up to the plate evert start. It has long been the tradition of America’s favorite past time for the National League to play their best eight batters and a pitcher versus another eight hitters and a pitcher while the American League utilizes all nine of the available lineup spots. But when does the sacred tradition change, and at what point does enough become enough? While I, a very happy Mets fan, will always prefer the eight on eight method, some prefer the other, not for the entertainment, but for the protection. For players who are being struck by pitches, or like Wainwright, who have season ending injuries, it could cause different outcomes to playoff contending teams. And for many, some don’t see the value of one at-bat being worth a possible 20-30 games a pitcher can actually pitch in. For people like me, it’s about the strategy behind having a pitcher in the number nine spot. Having the capability to go the rest of the game keeping the opponents silent, or putting in a pinch hitter to have a better shot at driving in the tying run; that’s the strategy behind trying to win a ball game. It’s the inevitable question every National League manager must face late in the game.
Designated hitters do exist in high school baseball, but not in the sense that only a pitcher can be absent from hitting. Currently, any player in the field can be replaced by a DH. Head baseball Coach John Crumbley thought of the possiblity of the major league DH rule making itself all the way down the ladder to high school ball to be a good thing. He added that the DH isn’t necessarily a bad policy to institute in the game at the high school level because, essentially, it would put the bat in one more player’s hands in a game than they would have normally without the rule. He also said in the conversation that if the lineup would turn out better, and if a DH would be an advantage to himself and the team, then he would definitely consider utilizing it.
By: Evan Abramson / Online Sports Editor