I have to give the National League some credit on one thing –the only thing that separates it from the American League — the pitcher having to bat. Growing up with the Rangers, it’s hard not to favor the DH. Seeing more homers, more hitting, and watching the American League annihilate the National in the All-Star Game makes you think that the American League has a better system going, that they play the game the right way. The National League hasn’t won the All-Star Game since ’97, which is 13 years. American League has won it 7 consecutive times though due to the tie in ’02. The point is that I agree with purists that pitchers should bat. I know it’s not going to change, and I’m not going to change the team I root for just b/c of that rule, but here’s why I favor making the pitcher batt:
- Having to have the pitcher batt adds much more strategy to the game. There’s much more emphasis on when you decide to pull your pitcher. You have to think about when to pinch hitt and pitchers are forced to execute the bunt frequently which is a great team aspect of baseball.
- Also the total length of the game is usually shortened b/c usually the pitcher is close to an automatic out. Baseball is a long enough game as it is. Seeing a 10 or 15 run game in the National League is simply less likely to happen, and when I think of a good baseball game it’s going to have less than 10 runs in it.
- Finally, the pitcher being able to drive his own runs in and create his own lead makes the game much more wholesome to me. A pitcher can be a hero from both sides of the field, just like any of the other 8 players. If a pitcher is a good hitter in the National League (Hampton, Zambrono), he is rewarded, as opposed to the American where he is a no-factor on the offensive side. I believe this also encourages more of a team spirit when a pitcher moves a runner over by bunting or picks up the guys on base by getting a RBI in a clutch situation.