Thursday, November 27, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

To DH or not to DH

With more Interleague play on the horizon, shouldn't there be just one rule.

To DH or not to DH

(Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)
(Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)

Houston is moving. No, not the city, the baseball team.

In 2013, the Astros will be competing in the American League, making an odd number of teams (15) in each league. That means there will be Interleague play during the entire season.

And along with Interleague play comes the dreaded Designated Hitter rule, used in all AL games since 1973. But National League teams have only had a taste of the DH in World Series (since 1976) and Interleague games (since 1997).

With tomorrow's All-Star Game set for an AL Park (Kansas City), we thought it would be a good time to see how our readers feel about the DH and its future. In our poll (to the right), we give you four options from which to choose: DH for all ... no DH for anybody ... DH just in AL Parks ... and DH just in NL Parks for interleague play (the home team already has an advantage by being the home team, this throws the visiting team a bone.)

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How would you like to see the Designated Hitter used in Major League Baseball?
USE IT (All games, all the time).
 
  36 (26.3%)
LOSE IT (All pitchers go back to batting all the time).
 
  81 (59.1%)
AL PARKS ONLY (Use DH only in any game played in an AL Park).
 
  18 (13.1%)
NL PARKS ONLY (Use DH only in Interleague Games played in NL Parks).
 
  2 (1.5%)
Total votes = 137

While the BoopStats staff (of one) has always hated the DH, we've grown to hate even more the fact that there are two different sets of rules in one sport. Imagine if the NHL put the red line back in for just the Eastern Conference or holding penalties were five yards in the NFC and 10 yards in the AFC. Ridiculous.

So, since it seems the longer shot that the AL will drop the DH, we are now advocating that the NL adopt the DH as soon as possible. That might not help the Phillies, who until Jim Thome's last blaze of glory with the club last month, has gotten inconsistent (and often awful) productions out of their DHs (see below).

We'd like to see what you think, but before you vote, remember this tidbit:

If the DH were in effect 100 years ago, Babe Ruth would have gone down in history as one of the greatest pitchers of all time, rather than its greatest hitter and the man who saved baseball following the Black Sox scandal. Something to think about  ... 

PHILLIES DH PERFORMANCE
Year         Avg.     OBA      Slg.    HR    RBI
1997 .184 .205 .289 1 2
1998 .303 .361 .364 0 3
1999 .359 .419 .487 1 6
2000 .125 .263 .125 0 1
2001 .219 .324 .281 0 0
2002 .258 .425 .548 2 4
2003 .214 .267 .429 2 3
2004 .324 .390 .919 7 12
2005 .281 .425 .313 0 1
2006 .270 .341 .541 3 6
2007 .217 .280 .478 1 5
2008 .083 .120 .083 0 0
2009 .270 .325 .432 1 6
2010 .235 .308 .382 1 5
2011 .136 .240 .136 0 1
2012 .324 .405 .703 4 14
Bob Vetrone Jr.
About this blog

Boop – who goes by Bob Vetrone Jr. when he is undercover or paying bills – has been at the Daily News since 1982, after working for five years at the Philadelphia Bulletin up to its closing. Along with helping to build the sports scoreboards most nights, he has had great input into the papers’ special sports pullouts – March Madness, Broad Street Run, Record Breakers, Greatest Moments – as well as its day-to-day, award-winning event coverage.

A 1980 graduate of North Catholic, he took some evening college courses. Those lasted right up until the first conflict with a Big 5 doubleheader.

His favorite books growing up were the NBA Guide and the Baseball Encyclopedia, which was, for all intents and purposes, the Internet before there was an Internet.

He has been immersed in sports statistics since the early 70s, when his father (long-time sports writer, broadcaster and the Daily News’ Buck The Bartender), would take him into the Bulletin newsroom overnight in the summer and let him update the Phillies statistics in a little, black spiral notebook. But things have changed tremendously in the decades since … He now uses a big, black spiral notebook.

To listen to Boop on 94WIP, click here.

Reach Bob at vetronb@phillynews.com.

Bob Vetrone Jr.
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