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Last Roundup for Nine-Man Baseball?

March 2nd, 2021 · 1 Comment · Baseball

I have loathed the designated hitter rule from the start — which was in 1973, when Major League Baseball’s American League chose to make the DH baseball law.

To its longstanding credit, the National League refused to follow the AL’s move, which was in keeping with the more traditional league’s status that has for a century-plus been known as the Senior Circuit.

The NL began play in 1876; the “Johnny-come-latelies” in that other league didn’t get around to organizing until 1901.

Yeah. What do those guys know about ball?

The NL to date has decided it doesn’t need players who never cross the lines, who never pick up the glove and wait for their at-bat to come around again.

The biggest issue I have with the DH is this: It allows players into the lineup who are not ready to play defense. And that is why fans of the National League still sometimes refer to the AL’s “10-man brand of baseball”. Because it IS different.

Now, however, the clock is running out on the National League, after 150 years of doing things the “right” way.

Last year, the NL used the DH for the first time, as baseball looked for ways to hurry along games as the Covid-19 pandemic swamped the game — and the globe.

My gag reflex was often engaged as every 2020 game became a DH game.

It had been feared the DH would be back again this season, “for good”, but some language in the Collective Bargaining Agreement has caused it to be stalled until 2022 when, according to The Atlantic‘s Ken Rosenthal, “the universal DH is almost certain to be part of the next CBA, starting in 2022”.

That could leave only one league of significance still resisting the DH — Japan’s Central League.

Thus, if you want to see American baseball teams play in a nine-man-at-a-time game, as God and Abner Doubleday intended, you’ve got the 2021 season to say goodbye.


1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Doug // Mar 2, 2021 at 3:08 PM

    If you hate the DH, I suspect you aren’t too thrilled with 7 inning doubleheaders and each offense getting a runner on second to start every extra inning.

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