The Tuesday Discussion – The Double-Hook DH?
This week we asked our writers:
How do you feel about the experimental double-hook DH rule?
Here are their reactions:
Paul Semendinger – I am starting to believe that the people who are the caretakers of the game of baseball do not actually like the game of baseball. In fact, I am becoming more and more convinced that they hate the game. When they should be celebrating the game, they keep telling the fans that the games are too long, that it has a pace of play problem. They keep adding rules to get the games over more quickly (basically saying, “You don’t want to invest your time in our product”).
Baseball’s caretakers are taking virtually every aspect of the game and finding ways to change it. They are working on making the game completely unrecognizable to its fans. I know the arguments they make, “This will create strategy” (until it doesn’t) and “What clever thinking…” (it’s not).
If these decision makers don’t hate baseball, it is plainly clear that they do not understand it. They seem to have no clue about what makes baseball such a great and original sport.
In short, this rule idea is an abomination.
With this rule, it becomes take out one player and you’re penalized by being forced to take out another. It’s baffling and I am amazed it’s even being discussed.
Many pitchers in the Major Leagues haven’t hit or run the bases since they were kids. The DH is prevalent at all levels of baseball including in college and the minor leagues
With this rule, pitchers be thrust into the lineup. Not only that, many will be batting in prime spots in the batting order, where the DH usually hits. Even worse, the pitchers who will now bat are ones that even in the National League don’t usually hit as often because they’re relief pitchers. (Case and point, last year, Tyler Rogers led the National League in games pitched. In his professional career – including the minor leagues – he has had a grand total of 13 plate appearances since 2013. That does not, to me, sound like a person ready to face big league pitchers during important game action.)
With this rule, managers will be forced to put their pitchers in harm’s way by having them bat and run the bases or by keeping them in harm’s way on the mound when they don’t have their best stuff, when they are tired, or when their arm might be sore because now keeping the pitcher in a little longer becomes a different type of strategy move. (“They had to keep him in because their best move was hoping the DH, due up the next inning, could deliver the big hit.”) This rule will hurt pitchers in the long and short term.
Once again, the caretakers of the game have come up with a new rule idea that doesn’t address, at all, any of the problems with the game as currently constructed. It’s a rule that sounds fun and exciting, but one that radically changes the sport and they way it is being played.
In short, it seems that baseball’s leaders seem determined to kill the sport.
I will give them credit for one thing – if the game is dead, the pace of play problem will be solved.
Tamar Chalker – I am far more amenable to this rule change than the runner on second debacle. I think since the DH has always been a thing in my lifetime and fandom, I don’t feel as passionately about it as others do. I find the strategic element of this far more interesting, too.
Lincoln Mitchell – I think this rule is great because it does so many things that would improve the game. It incentives developing starting pitchers who can pitch deep into games. It makes players who cannot play in the field less valuable, it reintroduces strategy around things like pinch-hitting that have gradually been disappearing from the game-particularly in the American League and it makes it necessary to have a deeper and more diverse, with regards to skills, bench. The seven pitcher per team, 15 strikeout game has substantially contributed to pace of play problems, a less strategic game and ultimately a less interesting product on the field. This rule will change that, while also introducing some very interesting calculations in the game. Managers would have to decide when to forego the DH altogether, approach pitching changes much more thoughtfully and think about roster construction differently. The default setting of 13 or 14 pitchers on the roster would make much less sense. This proposal would have many ripple effects, most of which would be positive. It also does not really undermine the integrity of the game because it tinkers with the DH rule which already undermined the integrity of the game.
Derek McAdam – This rule seems absolutely ridiculous to me. If a pitcher gets hurt in the first inning, the entire team will be “penalized” for his injury. In the Yankees case Giancarlo Stanton, or whoever the DH is on a particular day, may only get one at-bat depending on what happens. Teams will pay their DH’s $20-30 million a season to hit, whereas this will decrease their value tremendously and make it seem like a huge overpay. This is a terrible proposal and hopefully it is not received well in the Atlantic League.
Ed Botti – Commissioner Manfred, the gift that keeps giving. Not quite sure yet why he has a full out assault on the game of baseball. But I have a feeling we will not have to deal with him much longer, based on some of his other recent decisions off the field.
This one leaves me, once again, scratching my head.
On the same day he agrees to have the Atlantic League (his personal laboratory) move the mound back a foot for the purpose of “giving hitters more time to react to pitches” and to generate more offense, he then makes a complete 180 and comes up with the “double hook”.
Losing a DH when the starter is taken out will do for the offense what New Coke did to Coca Cola stock back in the 80’s.
As has been noted numerous times, you really have to wonder if this man even likes the game of baseball.
He is a narcissistic control freak that has no business in the game of baseball.
Patrick Gunn – I’m not a fan of the double-hook rule. If you don’t like the DH, this rule may be a compromise to bring strategy back to the game in the form of endless pinch-hitters. However, this prevents any chance of teams using an opener and hurts designated hitters if starters just don’t pitch well. What fan wants to go to a game where Shohei Ohtani doesn’t get an at-bat because the Angels’ starter only goes 0.2 innings? The way rosters are constructed, teams would be forced to allow relievers or use starters to hit late in the game which would not work. Maybe you have fewer pitchers on your roster to make room for a larger bench, but now your pitching depth is hurt. I’ll admit to being defensive of the designated hitter, but this rule change would not be a good solution for MLB for integrating the DH into the National League.
Chris O’Connor – While I do not love it, I would like to see it implemented at least for experimentation in the Atlantic League because I want the games to be more about starting pitchers. In baseball today we are seeing the starting pitcher pulled from games earlier than ever before, often before the fifth inning. The classic pitcher’s duel is a lost art and the constant churning of the bullpens leaves baseballs without much protagonist-antagonist drama. It is hard to get too invested in any one at bat if these hitters are seeing a new pitcher every time up; I personally enjoy seeing hitters and pitchers that frequently face off each other compete. Lessening the amount of relief pitchers allowed per roster seems like a better way to do incentivize starting pitching, but I could get behind this change if it accomplishes the goal of more starter innings.