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Monday/Tuesday BP: The end of pitchers batting?

The CBA negotiations are ongoing, but it seems as though a universal DH may be on the horizon. I don’t care for it.

Colorado Rockies v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Good morning, baseball fans!

I might have mentioned the fact that I also stream on Twitch at some point in the comments. I bring that up only because it is relevant to today’s topic of conversation. One of my community members brought up the designated hitter coming to the National League on my Saturday night stream and I went into a whole rant about it because it does seem as though one of the things that will come from the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) will be a universal designated hitter.

That community member later sent me this article from Travis Sawchik of FiveThirtyEight that basically lays out both sides of the argument with the numbers, but the conclusion drawn is that it doesn’t really make that much of a difference whether pitchers hit or not. There are some benefits to opposing pitchers, but there are also benefits to players who may be able to extend their careers by becoming a DH.

I immediately thought about Buster Posey, and whether he would have retired if the DH were already a thing in the National League, and that made me pause. Because I think I would welcome the DH with open arms if I could watch Buster Posey play baseball for a few more seasons. But I don’t know if I think that would have changed his mind about retiring.

The article also mentions that the players’ union is for a universal DH, due to the opportunities it provides older players in terms of playing longer and getting really good contracts based solely on their offensive numbers. Which, I can’t oppose. If the players want it, I guess I can’t begrudge the league going in that direction.

But what I wanted to get back to was that the article I linked draws the conclusion that the numbers don’t really change. The games don’t get shorter, starting pitchers’ jobs don’t get easier. It’s more of a culture thing. Those that have the DH want to keep it. Those that don’t have it, don’t want it. And we’ll never change each other’s minds. But it does feel like a factor that the powers that be should take into consideration.

I live for Madison Bumgarner dingers, Tim Lincecum triples, random seasons where every single starting pitcher on the roster hits a home run, Kevin Gausman clutch game-winning sac flies. They may not happen frequently enough to justify not having a DH, but they bring so much joy to me, personally, that I can’t imagine baseball without pitchers batting.

It’s been a part of baseball my whole life, at every level. From the San Francisco Giants, to my work co-ed softball league, down to us as kids playing baseball in the empty lot of the trailer park I grew up in. It’s an essential function of baseball. And I will be sad to see it go.

How many days has it been since the owners locked out the players?

It has now been 62 days and I’m over it. But thankfully progress does seem to be being made, so hopefully they can get this resolved in time for the players to have a spring training and be ready to play ball when the season starts. I’m trying for a more optimistic outlook on life, my therapist says that’s important. Let’s see how long it lasts!