With baseball in the midst of interleague play, let’s think for a moment about the designated hitter. I hate the DH, but it might be time that the National League finally succumbs and adds the rule to its league.
It was always silly that the two leagues played under different rules. It became even more ridiculous when interleague play was instituted. And now that the Astros will be moving to the American League next season, requiring an interleague game every day, it is downright asinine.
I was hoping that at some point the AL would abandon the DH, but the MLB Players Association would never allow that to happen. Those 14 (soon to be 15) DHs are usually big-money players and the union is not about to see 15 multi-million dollar contracts go away. I thought a compromise could be reached by expanding rosters to 26 players, resulting in 30 more union jobs. But those players would likely be making the minimum; a net money loss for membership.
The reason both leagues should play by the same rules is that NL teams are under a distinct disadvantage when they play at AL parks and have to use the DH. NL teams have to use a spare bench player as the DH while AL teams have their usual slugger in that spot.
It’s no surprise that AL teams dominate interleague games every year.
This will likely happen sooner rather than later when NL teams notice AL teams are winning a couple of series a week against their league.
It’s funny, the NL is the only professional league that doesn’t use the designated hitter, yet most fans and baseball people don’t like it. But it won’t matter — the DH will soon be the law of the land in the NL, the final holdout.