Monday, June 27, 2011

Interleague Part II

Earlier, I noted about American League managers and their fascination with double switches. This year, I watched mostly National League games for the first few months. Over the past week, I have watched several games with NL announcers calling a game in an American League park. They kept obsessing over that "9th hitter" in the lineup. There are a handful of tough yet positionless DH's in the AL. Generally, it seems to me that many teams just look at their eight best hitters and DH the worst fielder among them. If it were an NL team, he'd be in the field. In the AL, that extra half of a player is actually in the field. And he probably hits below .250 with little power. Heck, some of them probably hit closer to .200. At this point, there are only two differences between AL and NL baseball. The AL has a slightly better defense on the field. Whereas, in the NL the worthless hitter at the bottom of the lineup has productive at-bats, drives in key runs, and gets the bunt down. This is really just my perception, but I'd be interested to compare it to reality. But if I took the time to fact check everything, then I wouldn't ever post anything.

Personally, I love having a DH in exactly one league. The DH brings a different kind of purity to the game. You have a real pitcher, eight real fielders behind him, and 9 real batters in the lineup. As the game has specialized, it's just not possible to have 9 all-around players out there. That's, of course, the purity of the NL. The rules of the game force everybody to do everything. The players, coaches, and managers have to decide the perfect balance of skills.

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