Last Update: 15 Aug 00
Return to "Designated Hitter" essay
REPLY #20 TO
(R) One point not mentioned by you or your respondors is the problem with brushback pitchers. The battle between batter and pitcher for territory around home plate is (to me at least) one of the more interesting parts of the game. If Kurt Schilling gives Andres Galaraga some chin music, Galaraga may or may not back off. If Schilling buzzes a little too close, he has to worry about getting it himself from Maddux when he's at the plate.
(MB) I addressed this issue in a previous reply (Reply #10). Retaliation is normally inflicted upon the first hitter faced by the opposing pitcher in the next inning. As such, a headhunting pitcher's teammates are going to be the likely victims of the retaliation whether the brushbacks are thrown by an AL or NL pitcher.
(R) Roger Clemons on the other hand can throw inside on guys all day long without fear of reciprication since he can hide in the dugout. Not that Roger couldn't take some of his own medicine, but I'd like to see him try some day. In the AL pitchers have to throw chin music at other positional players who aren't at all involved in the whole thing to keep opposing pitchers honest. That just does't work, and frequently leads to brawls and fights.
(MB) Any AL pitcher who feels he's "safe" from retaliatory strikes because he doesn't hit for himself would likely be straightened out rather quickly by his teammates. In any case, the brushback is used *far* more often to back off hitters who dig in at the plate than as part of a beanball war. Also, if you'll look at this year's pitching stats, you'll find the pitchers who lead the major leagues in hit batters are in the National League. How could this be so if pitchers in the NL were more fearful of throwing inside due to possible retaliation against themselves?
(R) For that reason and others, I strongly support a league where every player bats.
(MB) The paltry number of beanball incidents over the course of a season does not warrant appealing to them as an argument against the DH. "Basebrawl" is a modern phenomenon that is likely to be more strongly related to factors such as the explosive rise in salaries and "trash talking".
(R) Just because Shaq can't hit free-throws doesn't mean we bring in someone else to shoot for him. We expect him to get better, or to fail.
(MB) Sports don't make rules changes over the ineptitudes of one particular individual player. The DH rule is a fix for the long-recognized problem of the general inability of pitchers to hit and the understanding that hitting is not their job in the first place.
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