Thursday, June 6, 2013

6 comments Terence Moore Does the Anti-Designated Hitter Crowd No Favors

I've usually been anti-designated hitter in a way. I don't hate the DH and I am not against the use of the DH, but I prefer the National League style of baseball. I also don't really care that the American and National League play by two different sets of rules in regard to pitchers hitting. It's never bothered me and Interleague Play has never bothered me either. I tend to prefer baseball without the DH, but I do find myself as I am getting older (imagine that, getting older and becoming more open-minded to change) thinking that I wouldn't completely hate it if the National League started using the DH. Still, I consider myself to be in the anti-DH crowd, at least in terms of the National League adopting the DH, for the time being. The problem with being in this crowd is that Terence Moore is part of this crowd and when he writes articles about why the National League doesn't need the DH those articles tend to be crappy and steeped in "tradition" as being the only reason the National League shouldn't use the DH. It's a tough group to be in when the persuasive arguments aren't so persuasive. Terence continues to call himself a "traditionalist" as if being a "traditionalist" means you aren't open to any kind of changes in baseball at all. I don't see that as being true. You can be a traditionalist and still be adaptable. Well, "you" can be adaptable as a traditionalist, but Terence isn't capable of doing so.

It's been 40 years since the American League began using the designated hitter, and my teeth still are clenched.

Change is always bad! Terence Moore thinks the two biggest factors that contributed to the decline of baseball is the designated hitter and baseball integrating. Wait, that doesn't make sense. Terence only dislikes the change brought to baseball from an unspecified year in the past until now. All change before that unspecified year is just baseball "evolving." Integration in baseball is good, but every change after that is bad. Changes that are good are good changes and bad changes from an unspecified year in the past until now are bad changes. There, you are less confused about why Terence Moore hates only certain changes through the history of baseball.

Then again, I'm the baseball traditionalist who lives in a National League city (as in no DH), which means I'm a little paranoid these days.

I live in a city without a MLB team, so using this logic I should not like baseball at all.

That groan you hear is from the traditionalist.

No, I think you give traditionalists a bad name. I believe traditionalists can still like changes that are brought on by the natural evolution of the game of baseball.

First, about this omnipresence of Interleague Play: Ugh.

Here's the shitty part of this column. Why doesn't Terence like Interleague Play? I'm sure he has a good reason, right?

Give me the days when the NL and AL only saw each other during Spring Training, the All-Star Game and the World Series, and all was well with the universe -- at least, on my side of it.

Nope, it's not a good reason. Terence doesn't like Interleague Play because that's not how baseball was when he was growing up. So naturally everything must stay the same from when Terence was younger and there can be no changes in the sport of baseball. This is why it is hard to be on Terence's side regarding any issue. His reasoning for being on that side usually sucks and his crappy reasoning starts to boil over on you.

There was magic back then when the two leagues met, because it was a rarity.

There wasn't magic, there is only nostalgia making it seem like a more simple and better time.

"So Boog Powell really is that big," you thought with wide eyes as an NL chauvinist?

Herein lies the problem in allows fans of National League baseball to watch players from the American League on national television whenever they may want to. So there is no "wide eyes" of a NL chauvinist because we see these players all the time now. What Terence really misses is the days before national television, ESPN, and MLB Network.

Now it has come to this for traditionalists: The Minnesota Twins will travel to Atlanta next week to play the Braves at Turner Field, 

Holy shit, no way! The Twins are traveling to play Atlanta at Turner Field? How could this happen? How could a rematch of the 1991 World Series occur outside of another once-in-a-century meeting in the World Series? I can't believe it. These teams should only play once every 100 years. The 1991 World Series is being re-played and there is nothing at stake. Not pride, not anecdotal tales of Jack Morris' playoff dominance, nothing.

and it doesn't feel anything like 1991 for so many reasons.

The Braves and the Dodgers just got done playing a series against each other and it didn't feel like the 1991 NL West pennant race at all. Let's get rid of Interleague Play AND get rid of NL/AL teams playing other NL/AL teams outside of their division. NL East teams can only play NL East teams and so on. If we can't exactly replicate the feelings from baseball series in the past, what's the point of even having a future?

Back then, both teams had never faced each other.

Thus the magic.

Actually the magic in the 1991 World Series consisted of two teams playing each other to determine who will win the World Series. That's the magic of the World Series, not the magic of an NL and AL team playing each other. I guess Terence Moore wants only a World Series victory to be a stake anytime an AL and NL team play each other.

While the Expos were a known entity around here from the NL, the Blue Jays were from that other league, which made them mysterious and delightful for Braves fans.

The Blue Jays really weren't mysterious and delightful for Braves fans who could have watched some Blue Jays games on television in 1992. Sure, if you are a baseball fan and only watched your favorite team (paging Peter King) and ignored the rest of MLB then any opponent your team plays will be mysterious and delightful. Otherwise, as a fan of baseball you had seen the Blue Jays play, but just not seen the Blue Jays play the Braves. Plus, every NL team doesn't play every AL team, so there is a chance of a World Series where the teams haven't played that year and both teams are delightfully mysterious.

Anyways, the Blue Jays will follow the Twins to town this month for Interleague Play, and this won't be the first time either team has visited Atlanta since their World Series days against the Braves.

So no magic here, but that's me talking.

The Braves played the Pirates a month or so ago in Pittsburgh. There was no magic in those games either, unlike in the 1992 NL Championship Series when there was magic. Maybe the reason there was magic in the 1992 NLCS and 1992 World Series is because they were the freaking NLCS and World Series. The stakes are always higher when a World Series title or World Series appearance is at stake.

Such games consistently outdraw their counterparts by huge margins. That's also why the number of Interleague games won't exactly shrink over time.

The Interleague games are popular because people like to watch them. Isn't that what sports is supposed to be about anyway once we wipe away all the nostalgia and narratives? What events the fans want to see and what they will pay to see these events? At their heart, sports are entertainment and if the fans like something then generally MLB/NBA/NFL/NHL will like it when the fans are entertained. So if Interleague Play does well with the fans, that's why MLB continues playing these games. I don't see that as a bad thing. It's like the one-game Wild Card playoff I hate. It draws interest and ratings, so that's the reason for the one-game playoff's existence.

Consider, too, that the days are gone when advocates for either the NL and the AL viewed their roles as the Hatfields versus the McCoys, dogs versus cats, good versus evil. Uniformity is on the way for everything in baseball, and you know what that means?

It means that if you clench your teeth at the idea of the DH being used since 1973 then you are craving uniformity in baseball as well and are being a bit of hypocrite crying about uniformity in baseball. See, if Terence wants to get rid of the DH in the American League then he is actually arguing for more uniformity in baseball. The National and American League would both use the DH, thereby making baseball more uniform than it currently is. I'm sure Terence didn't think about this little fact.

Sooner rather than later, both leagues will use the DH or go back to the pure and decent way of playing a baseball game.

And going back to "the pure and decent way" would cause there to be uniformity across both leagues, whereas now with the DH being used in the AL, but not the NL, there is a lack of uniformity. 

Guess which side I'm on?

The side that doesn't want there to be any change. I don't even need to guess at this point. If there is a change being made to baseball, Terence Moore is against it. He's a traditionalist. I laugh at the idea of a traditionalist from the 1930's or 1940's who didn't believe African Americans belonged in the majors and baseball should not integrate. Hey, a real traditionalist in the 1940's would not have supported players from the Negro Leagues playing in the majors. It's not a pure and decent way of playing the game of baseball.

We're back to my restless nights. Since the inception of its DH days, the AL has topped the NL most seasons in runs, RBIs, homers, slugging percentage, on-base percentage -- virtually all things offensively, which only makes sense.

This is neither pure nor decent. The use of the DH is the opposite of pure and decent. It's the Lindsay Lohan of baseball rules. It's disgusting and filthy. How dare one league lead the other league in virtually all things offensively! How can we compare the two leagues if one league uses the DH and the other doesn't? It's not like they can play regular season games against each other...

Instead of a traditionally weak-swinging pitcher in that spot, the AL has an accomplished slugger.

It's hearsay! The American League is making a mockery of the sport by making their league more exciting.

Conversely, instead of old-fashioned baseball strategy such as double switches late in games, the AL has little of that.

That's part of the reason I prefer the National League game, but I don't ever watch a Yankees game and marvel at how different it is from a Braves game. There is less strategy used in terms of double switching, but it feels like the same sport to me. Maybe I am in the minority, but the American League just has less double switches and that doesn't bother me at all.

The NL is forced to play that game during Interleague Play, All-Star Games or World Series games that take place in AL parks.

The reverse is true as well. American League teams are forced to play the National League game in Interleague Play, (I am only capitalizing it because Terence is doing so and I think it makes it easier to read when I am consistent, but why is Terence capitalizing "Interleague Play" again?) All Star games and the World Series, so no one league has an advantage. It goes both ways, so this is not a good point Terence is trying to prove.

More than a few NL teams have tried and failed to find somebody close on their roster to match the DH of their AL foe.

So the answer Terence is screaming for is more uniformity in baseball, right Terence?

Plus, there was that famous rant in 2008 when Hank Steinbrenner morphed into his father, George. It was after his Yankees lost ace pitcher Chien-Ming Wang for several months due to a baserunning injury in Houston, then an NL park.

It's all fun and games until the Steinbrenners get pissed off. Then it becomes a major problem that needs to be corrected by baseball IMMEDIATELY.

It was a rule that lasted in both leagues until 1973. Then came the split, and 40 years later, we're on the verge of a merger.

Are we on the verge of a merger though? I haven't heard that the National League was going to adopt the DH. The mere existence of Interleague Play doesn't mean the NL will be adopting the DH anytime soon. That's part of the traditionalist scare tactics I guess. Make it seem like statistics/computers will replace humans or make it seem like the mere existence of Interleague Play means the National League will soon adopt the designated hitter.

Yep, you know my vote.

I wish you could defend your vote better than merely stomping your feet and saying, "That's not how it used to be and that makes this change bad for the game of baseball."

I may as well be pro-designated hitter if the only anti-designated hitter argument overly relies on nostalgia and an overwhelming resistance to change. It's hard to be anti-designated hitter when you have Terence Moore on your side.


Anonymous said...

"clenched teeth" "restless nights" Man, Terence Moore is REALLY bothered by the DH. Like, it affects his day-to-day life. I like to imagine him and his wife trying to have a nice dinner, but he can't unclench his teeth or stop fidgeting in his chair because THE CONSARN DESIGNATED HITTER EXISTS.

If you enjoy seeing the pitcher hit, more power to you, but I kinda get tired of the automatic out at the bottom of every NL lineup. Other sports have mass substitutions, and no one cares. We don't ask RBs to be LBs or WRs to be CBs. No one complains when a basketball coach makes offense-defense switches. So what's really the difference with the DH? Pitchers don't get paid to hit, they're almost entirely pathetic at it, so why even bother? I used to be more anti-DH, but over the years I've come around to the idea that pitchers are terrible hitters and don't need to hit. And it's not an affront to the game if they don't.

HH said...

Sooner rather than later, both leagues will use the DH or go back to the pure and decent way of playing a baseball game.

No blacks and no Jews?

HH said...

Argh. I made that comment before reading the whole thing and noticing you made the same joke.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I can Terence giving a toast at the wedding of his daughter and then ending it with a 5 minute rant about the DH.

"This day would be perfect if we just didn't have the DH!"

HH, the days before Hank Greenberg and Shawn Green were the golden days of baseball!

It's okay to make that joke again. It's still funny.

Murray said...

If anything the NL will adopt the DH before the AL gets rid of it. No way the union will give up those jobs

Bengoodfella said...

Murray, probably true. I think we are a few years from the NL adopting the DH, but it's probably going to happen at some point.