Archive for November 7th, 2009

In Defense of the Designated Hitter

Ben SheetsOh Pierre. Oh young, naïve, stupid Pierre. Where do I even begin with all the inaccuracies and logical fallacies in your argument?

I think I ought to start with your most ludicrous claim: that somehow the AL benefits from interleague rules more than the NL. Tim and I touched on this briefly before, but this argument is practically indefensible.

Here’s why: Adding a DH to your lineup can never—I repeat, NEVER—make a team worse. Pierre points out that Matt Stairs and Ben Francisco are not as good as Hideki Matsui. Well, duh. And Mark Teixeira is better than Mark Teahen. But guess what? Stairs and Francisco are a lot better than the hitters they replaced: Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez. There is also the added defensive upgrade of playing the better fielder—Francisco—in left over Raul Ibanez for two games.

On the other hand, losing the DH always makes a team worse. And for AL teams, it often makes them significantly worse. Hideki Matsui, the eventual World Series MVP, had to essentially sit out half of the games because of the NL’s antediluvian rules. People made a big deal—rightfully so—about Chase Utley tying Reggie Jackson’s record of five World Series home runs. Well, at Matsui’s rate—3 HRs in 14 plate appearances—he would have surpassed the record with as many opportunities as Utley. But, hey, Andy Pettitte got an RBI, so it all evened out! Continue reading

The Sports Revolution: The NL and the DH

Let me set the scene for you: It is the World Series, and designated hitter Hideki Matsui goes 8-for-13 en route to winning Series MVP for the Yankees. The men the Phillies add to their order in the Bronx, Ben Francisco and Matt Stairs, go 1-for-11.

Let me reset the scene for you: It is the World Series, and designated hitter Hideki Matsui has a tremendous hot streak en route to winning Series MVP for the Yankees. The Phillies, however, acquitted themselves nicely, stretching the series to seven games with the aid of their own designated hitter, Jim Thome.

Now, Pierre should not need to tell you that he is against the designated hitter. Pierre is a man of reason, and that should inform you of his stance on that issue.* But since he sees no hope for the elimination of the designated hitter in the near future, he is forced to advocate for an even more extreme solution: The National League must begin using a designated hitter, as well.

Continue reading

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