In Memoriam – Pitchers at Bat

In the settlement between Major League Baseball and the Players Union an unfortunate clause was included. It enshrined the Designated Hitter for the National League. The American League has abided by it for decades so it is not unprecedented. But I have always enjoyed the strategy implications of the pitcher batting for himself and the sheer tradition of the game.

I get it. Fans clamor for more offense, more hits, more homers. But I liked seeing the manager squirm as he weighed his options when the quandary came as to whether to keep the pitcher in for a situation or bring in a pinch hitter. Not a problem anymore. We will see fewer gray haired managers at this rate. I have watched a number of Cincinnati Reds game this season (albeit through copious tears due to their terrible start) and have missed the pitcher batting.

It has always surprised me that pitchers were uniformly so terrible at bat with rare exceptions (looking at you Babe Ruth and Shohei Ohtani). After all, they should know what to expect from a fellow pitcher and their tricks better than any other player other than a catcher. I guess the musculature of pitching must interfere with the musculature of a hitter or something like that. Shame, and it hasn’t aided my Cincinnati Reds so far. More shame. Go Reds!

As always you can find more at and on Twitter @walterthinnes

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