The American League and National League have had separate rules for too long. It makes sense to bring the designated hitter to the National League.
Back in 1973, in order to boost offense and therefore draw in more fans, the American League decided to implement the designated hitter rule, allowing a batter to take the pitcher’s turn at the plate and the pitcher remain in the game. This was back when there was still a fierce rivalry between the American and National Leagues, and the American League was hoping to get a leg up in fan interest.
Here we are, nearly half a century later, and we still have separate rules for MLB’s two leagues. Imagine if the AFC and NFC had different rules in the NFL, or if the Western Conference and Eastern Conference had different rules in the NBA. It seems absurd to think about, yet that’s what MLB is like in 2019. This is in spite of the fact that we now have more unity in the game, such as the emergence of interleague play and the elimination of separate league offices and “league” umpires.
To many fans, the designated hitter is an abomination; it’s not real baseball if the pitcher doesn’t bat. It’s an understandable argument to a point, especially since having the pitcher’s spot in the lineup brings a certain strategy to the game.
Despite the fact that the league doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to implement the same rules for both leagues, I think most fans would like to see uniform rules throughout the game. However, especially given the changes that have taken place in the game over the years, it makes sense for the National League to start using the designated hitter, as opposed to going back to pitchers batting in the American League. Here we look at three reasons why.