Earlier this week, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig formed an advisory committee to consider rule changes. Selig has stated that there will be “no sacred cows,” and Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune has openly wondered if the committee might suggest an end to the designated hitter rule in the American League.
But to say the designated hitter has not been embraced by all baseball fans is quite an understatement. It is unquestionably the most hotly debated topic in baseball over the past 35 years. Neither league seems to have much interest in volunteering to change, which means for now baseball will continue to be the only major professional sport to play under more than one set of rules.
Proponents of the DH rule will point out that the rule accomplishes what it set out to do, increase offense. And more offense equals more excitement for fans. The MLB Players Union also strongly favors the rule as it allows older players who are no longer proficient in the field a chance to continue playing when they may otherwise be forced into retirement (think Edgar Martinez or Frank Thomas).
Those opposed to the rule counter that the DH eliminates some of the strategies that make baseball so exciting. When a pitcher is pitching well late in a game and comes to the plate, should the manager keep him in the game or remove him for a better offensive option? Additionally offense has increased tremendously since the early 1970s, so many will argue that the rule is no longer needed to serve it’s intended purpose.
Naturally most fans of American League teams are in favor of the designated hitter rule while most fans of National League teams are opposed. What is you opinion? Is it time for baseball to make one rule for both leagues? If so, should the DH be eliminated or expanded?