Re: The Reds & and the new DH debate
I don't expect to change anyone else's mind, but I hate the DH. If the DH is made universal, baseball will get significantly less of my attention and my money. This is not an idle threat. I will hold this grudge effectively. And you can't really call me a "traditionalist" for feeling this way, because the DH has been in effect since 1 was one years old. It's been a reality since I became aware of baseball, and the more I learn about baseball, the more I don't like it.
Scarcity is interesting on a macro level. When conditions of scarcity exist, decisions have to be made. Decisions are interesting. Those of you who say it's less interesting on a micro level to watch a pitcher hit than to watch a good position player hit are correct; however, this has a highly positive effect on the macro level. Even if I have to suffer through a couple at-bats per night from a starting pitcher, I like the fact that if the hitters in your starting lineup fail to score runs, your ace pitcher might have to come out of the game in the 7th inning. It's a team sport, after all.
The way the game is now, if you fail to field a balance team, your team gets punished. Punishment is awesome:
Punishment: If your team can't score runs, and if your starting pitcher (like 99% of starting pitchers) can't hit either, he might have to get pinch hit for in the late innings
Punishment: If you have a slugger who's a butcher with the glove, then he should be forced to humiliate himself and amuse the rest of us by having to play the field.
Bud Selig is going to retire in the next few years (I assume), and this issue is one of the only things I care about in terms his successor. I could live with a 2 or 3 year work stoppage in exchange for another 40-50 years in which the Reds get to play DH-free baseball. Let me put it another way:
I'd be just fine with Mahmoud Abedinejad as the next commissioner of baseball, so long as he will prevent expansion of the DH.
As an aside, I think the importance of field goal kicking has hurt football immensely. I think it's absurd that a specialized skill which is so removed from the essence of the game can decide whether a team wins or loses a championship. If I were king of the world in football, anyone who hadn't appeared in one of the prior 3 plays from scrimmage would not be allowed to kick the ball.
As another aside, I am highly skeptical of the post above which said that the Red Sox would not have won the World Series in 2004 were it not for the DH. If the DH wasn't an option, Ortiz would have played 1B more often (btw, he started 31 games there in 2004). And they would have been fine. He's not a great defender, but Miguel Cabrera isn't a great 3B either. The Tigers did okay this year.
I could also argue (probably correctly) that if Edgar Martinez played in the NL he would have played 3B and or 1B, he would have won several batting titles, nobody would really notice his subpar defense (heck, he might have even improved over time), and he'd be in the Hall of Fame now.
How, then, are those people of the future—who are taking steroids every day—going to look back on baseball players who used steroids? They're going to look back on them as pioneers. They're going to look back at it and say "So what?" - Bill James, Cooperstown and the 'Roids