Dorhauer: The DH and the essence of the game

From Adam Dorhauer at The Hardball Times on October 17, 2014:

Nothing attracts the ire of baseball fans—or, if not baseball fans per se, then at least of baseball purists—quite like the designated hitter. It’s an assault on the very essence of the game: everybody fields, everybody hits—no exceptions. It’s not a question of whether the DH is good or bad for baseball—it flat out isn’t baseball.

There are plenty of interesting things you could discuss regarding the DH: the effects on strategy, the effects on pitcher usage patterns, how it shapes the careers of players afflicted with injuries or of poor-fielding sluggers, or even whether the DH is the best option for removing the pitcher from the batting order. I’m not going to discuss any of them. Once you dismiss the DH outright as an affront to the purity of the game, none of those things matters.

Instead, I’m only going to address one issue: is requiring the pitcher to bat essential to the core premise of baseball?

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Originally published: October 17, 2014. Last Updated: October 17, 2014.