National League Needs to Implement the Designated Hitter
Now is the time for Major League Baseball to expand the designated hitter to the National League
We have seen with Kyle Schwarber in the World Series where the young power hitter can not play in the outfield after recovering from a torn ACL. Not having Schwarber in Wrigley led to the Cubs to losing two games at home.
This issue does not directly stem from Schwarber not playing, but for the integrity of the game, and futures of players like Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols.
In a study conducted by FiveThirtyEight, there is virtually no difference in pace of play or total time duration between American and National League teams. Baseball as been trying to adjust pace of play, and there’s no impact made by the designated hitter.
From 1975 through 2013, the American League has dominated in runs scored. From ’75-’97 the American League scored more runs every single season. A big change swept baseball, as the National League led in runs scored every season from 1998-2012.
The big reason was the steroid era, with players such as Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Gary Sheffield allegedly using performance enhancing drugs. With each of those players hitting 40-70 home runs a year, the inflation of the National Leagues numbers are clear.
During the 14-year time frame where the National League was scoring more runs, players such as Jim Thome and Ivan Rodriguez moved to the National League through free agency.
Additionally, the National League saw an influx of young power hitters such as Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, Jason Bay, Matt Holliday, Prince Fielder burst onto the scene, and had prolific careers as power hitters.
Careers for players such as Howard, Holliday, and many more could be extended and those players can stay with their teams for much longer periods of time. We see the situation with Pujols working perfectly in Los Angeles. Extending the designated hitter helps teams looking to make trades not be as handcuffed based on where they can trade certain people.
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Overall, this move makes too much sense. This is no longer a league that was once two now merged into one. Interleague play and the advancement of technology has changed how we experience baseball, and all of the rules should be the same for all teams.