Monday, August 12, 2013

1 comments Terence Moore Hates This New Designated Hitter Rule

Long-time readers of this blog know I prefer the National League version of baseball without the designated hitter. Still, if MLB decided tomorrow that they would no longer use the designated hitter I would be happy Evan Gattis finally has a position, hope the Braves try to re-sign Brian McCann this offseason, and would probably be a happy kid. I prefer the National League version of baseball without the designated hitter, but I'm fine with both leagues having different rules and wouldn't lose sleep if the designated hitter rule was implemented in both leagues. Terence Moore feels differently. He's a baseball "traditionalist," or so he believes himself to be. I think a traditionalist is a person who is generally opposed to change in baseball, but is open to changes that help the game. Terence is opposed to everything new in baseball, even things like the designated hitter that aren't new. He hates expanded replay, baseball celebrations, and how the designated hitter is ruining baseball followed by bizarre reasoning on why he won't vote for DH to enter the Hall of Fame all while stating he has voted for a DH to enter the Hall of Fame.

Did you hear the news? When David Ortiz ripped a double into left-center field for the Red Sox in the second inning on Wednesday night at Safeco Field against the Mariners, he broke the Major League record for most hits by a designated hitter.

You may yawn now.

I'm reading an article that you have written, Terence, I was well prepared to yawn anyway.

We're in the midst of (ahem) celebrating the 40th anniversary of the DH,

The DH has been used for 40 years now and Terence Moore still isn't used to it. I guess it takes time.

and Ortiz just provided the latest reason why this thing needs to go the way of flannel uniforms, long train rides for teams on road trips and hitters swinging without helmets.

These are all things Terence Moore either (a) misses being a part of baseball or (b) should miss since he is such a traditionalist who hates change and all.

The DH isn't going anywhere. There are too many folks who cherish the thing, and they do so with gusto.

This is as opposed to Terence, who opposes the DH rule through well-reasoned thinking that basically involves him saying "I don't like change and I'm a traditionalist, the Braves and the Big Red Machine, baseball was better back when Joe Morgan played and no good teams ever lost two games in a row." 

My friend, Milton, for instance, who is a diehard Yankees fan, said, "I love offense, and who wants to see the dang pitcher hitting up there wearing a jacket, just trying not to get hurt?"

Then there are the ongoing whispers that both leagues either will have the DH or just play real baseball. The Miltons of the world will be smiling at the end. I'm frowning over the thought.

It's a sad Terence Moore we are hearing from now. Terence would have normally included a sad emoticon to show his extreme unhappiness at the thought of both leagues adopting the DH, but emoticons are part of technology and technology brings change and change is bad.

As the Last Great Traditionalist, all I can do is hope for the impossible -- you know, that we'll all rise one morning and discover the DH has just gone away.

And yet Terence doesn't realize the irony of this sentence in that calling himself the Last Great Traditionalist it will actually be that one day he doesn't wake up and we will find the dislike for the DH has gone away. Maybe that's not irony. Terence is like the last dinosaur wondering why it is so cold and where all his friends have gone, hoping maybe tomorrow all this cold weather will just go away...hey look, a meteor!

Baseball's professional roots go back to 1869, which means there is nothing traditional about a rule change that only has been around since 1973.

As I seemingly always write, using this logic there is nothing traditional about African-American players playing in MLB and not the Negro Leagues. I'm fairly sure Terence Moore suddenly becomes a non-traditionalist if it turns out African Americans can't play in the majors anymore and have their own separate professional baseball league. I understand though. Terence is a diehard traditionalist except when he likes the change that is being made. When Terence doesn't like the change being made to professional baseball he hides his fear of progress and change in sports behind being a traditionalist. Calling himself a traditionalist is just a lazy way of making excuses for his poor use of reasoning and logic.

Consider, too, that even though the concept of a designated hitter was mentioned for decades before its actual implementation, it wasn't approved until 40 years ago, because American League owners were searching for something to help their overall attendance that regularly lagged behind their National League counterparts.

And now the player's union has 15 DH jobs that the union is not going to allow MLB to get rid of. So that's where we are. The DH was used to make the game more exciting (and really, why would anyone want the game to be more exciting...it's madness!) and now it has become a staple of the American League.

The DH was a gimmick, and the gimmick became more than that. It became a way of life in the AL, and now that gimmick-turned-staple is affecting the game in so many ways.

The DH is a cancer that forces itself into the game of baseball only to slowly eat the game away until the sport has become more exciting to watch. There are quite a few changes in sports that started out as gimmicks and now have become staples of the sport. The three-point line in college basketball is one example and now I can't imagine the sport without it. That's one example of a change in sports that was seen as a gimmick that eventually became an important part of the sport. Another example is the change in the NBA to where dunking was allowed. It made the game more exciting and now I can't fathom basketball without the athletes having a chance to dunk the ball.

Just two examples ...

After months of recovering from a damaged ankle, Derek Jeter returned to the Yankees' lineup on Thursday -- as a DH. Team officials thought it was the best way to ease the 39-year-old "shortstop" back into action, which means so many guys who otherwise wouldn't have played in the past for whatever reason are playing now.

How terrible. A Hall of Fame shortstop is allowed to play baseball because he can be the DH. It's always horrible when fans get to see a Hall of Fame player on the field rather than sitting injured on the bench.

Mickey Mantle. I keep thinking about the Mick. He spent the majority of his career with the Yankees maneuvering on notoriously bad knees. You know where I'm going. If the DH was around for Mantle during the 1950s and '60s, his 18-year career would have been significantly longer -- along with his list of accomplishments.

Terence tends to use reasoning in his columns that he believes is helping to prove his point, but this reasoning usually only serves to help prove the point he is arguing against. This is a situation where the reasoning Terence is using isn't exactly helping to further his argument against the use of the DH. Having the DH around would have allowed Mantle to have played longer and given baseball fans more of a chance to see him play. I don't see that as a bad thing, yet Terence is framing this as a negative for some reason.

You also could apply that to other aching players of yore.

Again, why is this bad?

Switching gears, let this sink in: Ortiz is the all-time DH hits leader after his 1,689th career hit this week while playing that position. That doesn't exactly have the same feel as, say, Hank Aaron and Cal Ripken Jr. surpassing 714 home runs and 2,130 consecutive games played,

Let this sink in, why does every MLB record that gets broken have to have the same feel as a historical long-time record being broken? The DH isn't new, but it is still new relative to baseball, so why does this record being broken require a mid-game ceremony and a lap around the field for David Ortiz?

Aaron topped Babe Ruth's old mark, and Ripken soared passed that of Lou Gehrig.

Lou Gehrig passed Everett Scott for the MLB record for consecutive games played. Passing Everett Scott just doesn't have an historic feel to it, does it?

Whose record did Ortiz surpass?

Harold Baines.

Baines is a nobody! Look at his Baseball Reference comparables and you find more no-names. Tony Perez, Al Kaline, Dave Parker, Billy Williams, Andre Dawson, and Jim Rice. I'm sorry I've never heard of any of those guys, have you? Who is this "Harold Baines" guy? He's definitely not Hank Aaron. If any player breaks a record that wasn't previously held by one of the top 10 baseball players of all-time then Terence finds that broken record to be boring.

See what I mean?

Not at all. Do YOU see what you mean? You mean a record isn't worthy of mention if it isn't held by a player you deem to be one of the best players of all-time.

That said, nobody ever would confuse Baines with Ruth or Gehrig.

No one is trying to confuse Baines with Ruth or Gehrig. Baines not being on the level of Gehrig or Ruth doesn't mean Ortiz passing Baines' hits record is not impressive.

The same goes for Ortiz, and that's despite the fact that historians could say he is the greatest DH of all-time -- whatever that means.

I don't know who these unnamed "historians" are (I always love it when a writer introduces an opposing opinion based on a generic group of people who hold this opinion), but I think Edgar Martinez is probably the greatest DH of all-time. Regardless "the greatest DH of all-time" means exactly that, the greatest player to be a DH for most of his career.

I'm not sure how it is possible to be confused by this phrase. If these generic historians said "he is the greatest pitcher of all-time" or "he is the greatest second baseman of all-time" I doubt Terence would be confused.

Who was considered the best DH before Ortiz?

Edgar Martinez.

I still consider Martinez to be the best DH of all-time, but of course I am not a "historian."

As was the case with Barnes, Martinez was pretty good...but he'll likely never make the one in Cooperstown, because some Hall of Fame voters (like myself) don't believe players who primarily were DHs deserve such an honor.

I don't believe left-handed starters deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. I don't believe Hispanic third basemen deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. I don't believe a player who played less than 10 seasons deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. I don't believe Mariano Rivera should be in the Hall of Fame because he's a reliever.

It sounds pretty stupid to cherry-pick certain players who shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame, doesn't it? It's just silly to draw a line in the sand and say, "DH's don't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame" without at least going over Martinez's batting statistics to see if they are superior enough to merit induction into the Hall of Fame.

Would Terence Moore not vote for Chipper Jones to enter the Hall of Fame simply because (or if) he wasn't a great fielder? If you aren't going to keep a player out of the Hall of Fame because he isn't a good fielder then why not vote for a player because he didn't field at all for the majority of his career?

To vote DHs into Cooperstown would be unfair to those who had to perform with a bat and a glove more often than not.

Not entirely. Relief pitchers like Mariano Rivera don't always pitch more than 1-2 innings per game and I don't think anyone would be stupid enough to suggest Rivera doesn't deserve Hall of Fame induction. I'm fine with keeping DH's out of the Hall of Fame as long as hitters who otherwise would make the Hall of Fame for their batting statistics are kept out of the Hall of Fame due to their fielding ineptitude. If a player was a below-average fielder then keep him out of the Hall of Fame. If that happened, fine, keep DH's out. Don't pretend fielding is part of the game and then completely ignore it as a criteria for the Hall of Fame if a player hits the baseball well enough to merit induction.

Still, this gets a little messy, because of Paul Molitor and Frank Thomas. While Molitor did enough DH-ing to rank sixth on the all-time DH hits list, he spent a slew of his 21 years with the Brewers in the infield and the outfield. He already is in the Hall of Fame, and he got my vote.

Why did Molitor receive your vote, Terence? Surely since you have written an article about why the DH needs to go away and you won't vote for a DH to enter the Hall of Fame, yet you voted for the player who is sixth on the all-time DH hits list, you will explain how Molitor isn't too DH-y for you? So what say you?

As for Thomas,

I guess Terence just wants to skip over the explanation for why he contradicts himself and voted for Molitor to enter the Hall of Fame. It's better that way because I am betting Terence has no good reason for why he voted for Molitor but would not vote for Ortiz.

during much of his 19 years with the White Sox, he alternated between first base and DH. To be exact, he had 968 starts at first, compared to 1,308 as the DH. He even spent his last six seasons just as a DH. Anyways, he is eligible for the baseball Hall of Fame for the first time in December, and he'll make it with ease.

What terrible writing. So even though Frank Thomas played more games as a DH than he did at first base Terence Moore will vote for Thomas to enter the Hall of Fame? I guess Thomas has the luxury of not having gotten too many hits as a DH because otherwise Terence would see that kind of excellence at the DH spot like he sees in David Ortiz and proclaim Thomas as too DH-y to deserve Hall of Fame induction.

The lesson is that Terence Moore will vote for a player if he was a great DH, but if a player was too good at being a DH then he won't get Terence's vote. Don't excel at your job or else you don't deserve induction into the Hall of Fame. Above-averageness at being a DH is all that can be accepted when it comes to being considered for the Hall of Fame.

You can't ignore Thomas' 521 homers and lifetime .301 batting average. He also has a great nickname (The Big Hurt), and he did spend a bunch of games on defense.

Edgar Martinez has a .312 career average along with 309 home runs. Ortiz hit .286 and has hit 420+ home runs. They didn't have snappy nicknames, which apparently is now a part of the Hall of Fame criteria a player must meet.

Sorry, fellow traditionalists.

Didn't Terence say he was the Last of the Great Traditionalists? If so, he is apologizing to himself when he should really be apologizing to all of his readers. If anyone wants an example of Hall of Fame voters with their head up their butt, then look no further than this column. 

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