The Futility of the DH

Yeah, folks, it's that time of year again! INTERLEAGUE! Yep, the Giants get to play teams they wouldn't normally get to face, as well as enjoy one of the bleaker parts of the game – the designated hitter.

If there's one reason I'll never become a true A's fan despite how much I admire that team, it's the simple fact they play in the AL. "So?" you might ask.

Two letters for you: DH.

Yeah, the lovely designated hitter. Gee, what's next, a designated fielder? Designated runner? Oh spare me.

Baseball has evolved with time. And that's great; baseball is changing to better suit the current era – which revolves around the longball. But while chicks MAY dig the longball, this chick certainly does not dig the designated hitter. I am not alone in this stance. The way I see it, the designated hitter is just a way to give some old, washed up player a job.

When the DH was introduced, it was meant to bring more fans to the game. Designated hitters are usually players that are defensive liabilities but can hit the ball a long, long way. Hard, too. I guess MLB thought, "Well, since so many fans love seeing balls hit far, let's make a DH!"

I've tried to understand what kind of mentality thinks the DH is a good idea, and every time I come up short. Anyone want to enlighten me?

First of all: the DH should not even be considered a "position." Excuse me? What "position" do they play? On-deck-circle-stander? Bench-sitter-until-it's-my-turn-to-bat? Yeah, totally not getting it.

Secondly, a DH means the pitcher doesn't bat. One of my friends has said that he'd much rather see some washed up old player batting than a pitcher. He argues, "Why would I want to see the pitcher bat? It's like an automatic out." Well, that's not true! Pitchers have batting averages too! (Said a bit tongue in cheek, but you get my point.)

It isn't fair that the pitcher doesn't bat. He should be required to. The DH is a wimpy pitcher's way out of having to try to hit a 93 mph fastball or an 88 mph slider. Then they'll know how intimidating they themselves might be on the mound. Also, when a batter bats, he gets this tingly feeling in his fingers when he makes contact. This may affect a pitcher's pitching.

Another thing I don't like about the pitcher not batting: excessive head hunting. (See: Roger Clemens) Nasty. AL pitchers can hit all the batters they want, all day, and not have to worry that they'll get hit by the opposing pitcher in return. Nah, their teammates will take the retaliation pitch instead. I'm not saying this is bad, exactly, I'm just saying it's not right. The DH makes it much too easy for pitchers to randomly hit whomever they please because they're not the ones that are gonna get hit. Somebody else on the team will.

It all comes down to this: Wanna hit? Grab a mitt.

Michelle Lo, also known as the Armchair Manager, writes recaps and other miscellaneous articles and designs some of the graphics at She can be reached by email at

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