REPLY #15 TO
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his 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) Of course, you don't address symmetry argument, which admittedly is a matter of aesthetics.
(MB) Exactly. That's why it has nothing to do with any discussion of the DH
rule. After all, since both teams play by the same rules whether or not there is a DH, isn't symmetry still preserved?
(R) Otherwise, comparing the top ten pitchers is meaningless. A better comparison would be to go down the line. The AL every year is higher in categories such as batting average, ERA, batters faced per pitcher, and complete games, not to mention the all important length of game category--probably the most responsible for killing interest in the sport.
(MB) The American League has traditionally been a "hitter's league" even before the inception of the DH rule, so that is a non-issue. As far as other stats go, there is still no support for any notion that the DH causes pitchers to be overworked in the American League. In 1999,
National League pitchers averaged 5.98 innings per start while their American League counterparts averaged 5.79 innings per start. National League starters completed 128 games while American League starters completed 109 games. Of course, there are two more teams in the NL, but even on a per-team average, the NL teams (8.00) averaged more complete games than did AL teams (7.78).
As far as length of game goes, I don't understand why shorter games are "better". The excitement value of a baseball game is a factor of its competitiveness and not of how long it lasts. The 15-inning playoff game between the Braves and Mets was hailed as one of the best ever even though it lasted forever. Are fans really more interested in getting the game over than in savoring what happens during the game?
(R) Consider this: before the DH, most teams had a 4 man rotation, instead of a 5-man rotation and a middle relief specialist. Why? pitchers burn out early and have fewer quality years in them.
(MB) The switch from 4-man to 5-man rotations has nothing to do with the DH. If you think otherwise, you'll need to explain why the DH-free National League also uses 5-man rotations.
(R) Don't blame expansion either for the pitching shortage--expansion has yet to keep pace with population growth.
(MB) There weren't enough quality pitchers to go around when each league had only 8 teams and each team used a 4-man rotation. Now, we have 30 teams (soon to be 32) which use 5-man rotations. That means baseball has gone from needing 64 starters to 150 starters over the past 40 years through 1999. Certainly, the population of the United States hasn't increased 2.5 times over that same period. Therefore, if the population couldn't produce enough quality starters 40 years ago, why should we expect the problem to be anything but much worse now?