This week’s Red Sox Roundtable discussion concerns the Designated Hitter rule. Is it good for baseball? Should the two leagues decide to institute it in both leagues? Should they abolish it and set the table straight with pitchers hitting for themselves in both leagues? Or should it be left as is since after 40 years it adds to the color and pageantry of the grand old game.
On April 6, 1973 when the Yankees Ron Blomberg dug into the batter’s box against Luis Tiant the square off ushered in the era of the Designated Hitter in the American League, a rule change in one league only that has profoundly changed the way players approach the game, fans are entertained by it and how AL baseball teams strategize over it. I was 15-years old, a rabid baseball fan and player when the rule was instituted. You won’t have to get out your Ouija board to guess which one of the two I still am today.
I’m an AL guy. Always have been, always will be. But the purity of the National League approach is more entertaining in my estimation. It’s the intrigue and drama of knowing that a pitcher who just drilled a guy in the ribs has to stand in the batter’s box the next inning. It’s knowing that even a weak hitting hurler can lay down a sweet bunt to move a teammate into scoring position. It’s that moment, as happened on Opening Day, when the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw had a stellar outing on the bump and greatly helped his cause by jacking a homer en route to a 4-0 Dodgers win.
Don’t get me wrong. As a Mainer transplanted in Virginia, Red Sox blood runs through my veins and always will. I live and die with the team’s ups and downs. I actually think Truck Day is cool. I’ve got a dozen Red Sox caps (some rarely worn so I’ll have a nice one to go with my formal wear), drinking glasses, shot glasses, a 2004 World Championship blanket, Christmas ornaments and apparel of all stripes. Yeah, it runs that deep.
But there are those times after a late night Sox game posting when my wandering eye turns it’s lusty attention to the seduction of a Giants/Dodgers or Cardinals/Phillies tilt, a siren song that I simply can’t ignore.
So now the question is thrown open to you and our crack BSI writing staff. Which is it? Sound off!