Paul Daugherty
Enquirer columnist files news and observations

Paul Daugherty
Paul Daugherty has been an Enquirer sports columnist since 1994 and has been chronicling Cincinnati sports since 1988. He has covered almost every major sporting event in America, as well as five Summer Olympics. Along the way, he has been named one of the country's top-5 sports columnists four times, and Ohio columnist of the year on seven different occasions. Last year, he was voted 2nd-best sports columnist in the country, by the Associated Press Sports Editors.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

The NL Needs the DH

Look at it this way: If the NL had the designated hitter, Jay Bruce would be playing right field in Cincinnati now.

Look at it another way: Would you rather watch a hitter hit? Or a manager think?

Hail the beauty of the double switch, purists. I'll take Big Papi, mashing.

The NL doesnt need a DH. It needs two. Imagine the Reds with Junior and Dunn DH-ing in the same game, batting 8-9. Look at the careers that have been extended: Dave Parker, Don Baylor, Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor etc etc. Players who could still hit, who were still worth watching. Meantime, in the traditional NL, we get to watch pitchers try to bunt. Fascinating.

It's the same logic that puts all the "genius'' managers in the NL... and all the World Series trophies in the AL.

Oh, but DHs arent "complete'' players. Is Dunn?

As for interleague play: Keep it, slim it. We don't need Reds-Blue Jays, but no one can deny the appeal of Reds-Red Sox or Reds-Yankees or Reds-Indians. In a year when their attendance is in the early dumper, the Reds see interleague play as a box office savior. It can be a very nice jolt for small revenue clubs.


at 9:44 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul - I think the AL needs to ditch the DH instead. Making pitchers bat brings more strategy to the game, especially in the 5th/6th inning for a team that is behind with runners on base and the pitcher on deck. Plus, this rule is just as much about a designated fielder for a guy who stinks with his glove.

If I were a manager, starting pitchers would take BP on their off-days. It's pathetic that we can't lay down a decent bunt when it is needed.


at 9:54 AM OpenID Driver28 said...

I never thought I'd say this, being a "purist" and all, but the time for the DH in the NL has come. I can't take watching Adam Done play left field like Saskwatch in a snow storm. Griffey would benefit, too. It would also eliminate the chances of Pitchers getting hurt at the plate or on the basepaths. (see Keppinger's kneecap)

at 9:58 AM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Right Paul, stick to hockey. The DH should be in the NL about the same time as the Reds start opening the season in Florida.

at 10:05 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is the "mangled baby ducks" strategy of the blogger/broadcaster trying to stir something up, but it's a pointless discussion, because it will never happen. Let's have a discussion on why sports blogger/broadcasters feel they have to invent controversy instead of just being a straightforward examiner of facts on the ground (or field). It's false, and disingenuous.

at 10:24 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on, Doc. Six days between posts and this is what is on your mind? If you posted every day, this might suffice as a point of interest. Otherwise, I think that you are mailing it in.

at 10:39 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I prefer NL ball. At least Dusty has the Reds bunting more which if done well by pitchers can move the runner over and be exciting. The AL can keep their DH and add Griffey and Dunn to their corps.

at 11:20 AM Anonymous Wes said...


I have missed your blogs this week! Great radio show last night though.

Let's scrap the DH position all around. They are professional ballplayers whether they pitch, field or hit. To be a professional you should be able to do two of the three better than 99%of the rest of the world.

at 11:46 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul, this is a very good topic for discussion, thanks for bringing it up. Not only do I agree that the NL needs a DH, but I believe that the game of baseball needs some major league renovations.

Baseball was supposedly invented back in 1839 by a guy from Cooperstown, NY, named Abner Doubleday. There have been some changes over the past 169 years, to say the least. Back in the 1800’s a fielder could throw a ball at a runner, hitting him to get an out, ouch! (Rob Dibble tried to bring back that concept a few years ago). The ball has been juiced (not to mention the players), ball and strike counts changed, the strike zone has changed, the mound moved back and lowered, teams added, schedules extended, playoff systems upgraded, wood bats made stronger and lighter, ballpark dimensions changed, lights added for night games, baseball gloves got bigger, protective gear is better and so on and so on.

Back in the early days of football, free substation was not allowed so everyone had to play offense, defense, special teams, etc. Once you came out of a game for any reason, you were on the bench for the rest of the game. Could you imagine watching a football game today with those outdated rules?

MLB needs to think out of box. I think it’s starting to get boring. Yes, I know the new stadiums are wonderful and the food is good, but I still like to watch the game. Here’s the changes I’m recommending.

1) Up team rosters to 27 or 28 players.
2) Have 2 DH’s, one for the pitcher and one for a fielder. This way, both offense and defense would improve.
3) Have a designated runner for one hitter to be named before the game. Could you imagine if a bulked up Barry Bonds had one of these is last 7 years. Talk about managerial strategy. How do you pitch to him? A walk is a double, maybe a triple. It would be very interesting, to say the least.

Feel free to forward these improvements to Bud Selig if you want.

at 12:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 11:16 -- go out and watch softball

Eliminate the DH. The pitcher hitting gives a good pace to the game plus it benefits the pitcher to be able to pace himself somewhat. Isn't anybody tired of pitchers given up 5 runs in 5 innings and that being ok? Who wants to see untalented lugs like Griffey and Dunn anyway? Home runs are overrated for excitement. Ball goes over the fence, people scream.
How about a double in the gap, outfielders converge, guys have to hustle around the bases, cut off throws have to be made, close calls at the base.

Whatever happenend to that basketball league where they had
a trampoline. Maybe that's what
we should do, put a trampoline halfway between every base. Wouldn't that be exciting?

at 12:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great logic, slim down interleage play by only playing large market teams like the Red Sox or Yankees. So the Sox and Yanks can play 16 interleage series while everyone else only plays teams in their own league.

Starting in 2009 only the Yanks and Sox shall play interleague games to help boost attendance for small market teams.

at 12:53 PM Blogger jeff said...

Anon at 11:46, I think you just described high school baseball with your suggested changes.

Nothing should change about the way the game is setup. They have refined it to the best possible rules. Just because things changed in the past doesn't mean they need to change now.

at 1:06 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


While you're at it why don't you just two platoon like football. Have an offense and defensive team and pay the guys that play both ways double. Just so you wouldn't have to watch the slow lazy guys like Griffey run you could have unlimited designated runners on the team.

at 1:58 PM Blogger Paul said...

Great idea, Paul. More hitting = more excitement.

While we're at it, maybe we can bring in the fences a bit and let the players use aluminum bats.


A 1-0 pitchers duel is far more interesting to me than a 14-10 slugfest. No need for baseball to cater to the least common denominator here.

at 2:25 PM Blogger Another losing season said...

I would rather watch a manger make all the classic strategic moves. I would rather watch a pitcher execute a sacrifice bunt. What I don't want to watch is an overweight, over-the-hill player going 1 for 5 and then having problems running to first base.

That said, Dusty Baker and his decisions makes me wish for the designated hitter rule.

at 2:38 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Why do I want to watch Adam Dunn hit .203 and strike out 200 times or Griffey hit .235 and loaf down to first base on his grounders to second?

The crawl to 600 continues tonight.

at 2:40 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for interleague play: Keep it, slim it. We don't need Reds-Blue Jays, but no one can deny the appeal of Reds-Red Sox or Reds-Yankees


My guess would be that the Yankees and Red Sox would look at the game with the Reds as you would look at the game with the Blue Jays.

at 4:57 PM Blogger jbarnes said...

Instead of adopting the DH to be like the AL, the NL should think out of the box and come up with some of their own rules to distinguish the two leagues. Tagging baserunners is boring, fielders should be allowed to throw the ball at baserunners, if you nail them, they are out. Baserunners can carry their gloves with them, if they catch a ball thrown at them, all runners advance two bases. The first batter of an inning can choose which direction to run the bases, counterclockwise all the time is boring!

at 5:00 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 12:32,

Don't you feel like you're watching softball when you're watching the Reds ... and BAD softball at that?

Better players would fix the problems you mention more easily than the elimination of the DH would. Watching Adam Dunn play defense is at least as painful as watching the pitcher bat.

As for the trampoline idea ... well, the Reds need all the help running the bases they can get.

Adam from Indiana

at 5:17 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

You want to see runs scored...

Go watch the Metro Slow-pitch softball tournament....Major Division....

It's no secret why the interest in the Majors has dwindled over the years..... Too many runs....

Same thing applies here...

Don't mess with a great product. I'll take a 2-1 2:07 game any day over a 9-8 3:37 game...

at 5:19 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Best part of watching the Reds is the comic relief of seeing Adam Dunn trying to corral a ball bouncing around in the LF corner. Its kind of like watching a fat Rocky Balboa chase a chicken.

at 8:58 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If a ptcher trying to hit a fastball makes sense >> then Griffey trying to pitch is the next logical step.
However, Kudos to Harang who actually can lay down a bunt.

at 9:07 PM Blogger Laser said...

I do get the impression that NL baseball cities are more conservative and tradition maintaining.

It'll take a couple generations for a more open attitude towards a DH change.

at 9:22 PM Blogger garbonzo said...

I had the same thought 12:41. So all NL teams would play a series against the Sox and/or Yanks? Hmmm...PD didn't think that part through.

at 12:17 AM Anonymous Kilroy said...

"While you're at it why don't you just two platoon like football. Have an offense and defensive team and pay the guys that play both ways double. Just so you wouldn't have to watch the slow lazy guys like Griffey run you could have unlimited designated runners on the team."

I know you wanted to be sarcastic, but I kinda like the idea of a separate defense, and offense like in football. The goal of pro sports is to see the best compete, why not see the best fielders, and the best hitters?

at 12:29 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the strategy of the NL game.
You decry having guys like Dunn and Griffey in the Reds lineup, its not the NL's fault that the Reds management has been in a coma for a long time.
The AL has been on a roll in the World Series count because they have more money to throw around.
In the days of Free Agent ball thats what matters the most.
Unfortunately for the NL teams with money (Dodgers, Cubs, Phillies and to a lesser dregree the Mets) have been saddled with poor management...or ownership that isn't commited to winning.

at 6:24 AM Blogger JackBlueAsh said...

Paul why would you even want to see Grifey and Dunn on this team in any capacity..

keep the same people ..expect the same results

at 7:14 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...


As much as you want to see hitters hit, I want to see players play, and I mean play the whole game. I don't mean all nine innings, I mean they should have to compete in all aspects of the game. The Red Sox should have to deal with Big Papi's disadvantage in the field as much as they deal with his advantages at the plate.

On the other side, there are numerous instances when pitchers help themselves out by getting a key hit or even just laying down a successful bunt. To this extreme Milwaukee had a bullpen pitcher that was also a pinch hitter. These are key aspects of the game that will continue to go to the wayside if the DH is added to the national league. Teams follow "the book" way to often and don't think creatively about how to use players talents in the best way. Lets take Josh Hamilton for example. I think obviously his talents in the outfield and at the plate are on display everyday the Rangers play but I guy with that kind of arm can easily throw low to mid 90s from the mound. Could he close a game out? or at least mop up once in a while or even do a rare start? Baseball is to eager to plug players into boxes of traditional roles and don't think about creatively using their assets. This is how good fundamental players like Keppinger and Freel get moved around and always labeled as Utility players but have both proven to be solid everyday players at any of several positions when left there. The same goes for pitchers and hitters. I want to see players compete in all aspects of the game. I don't want to see specialists do one thing and then not have to play the rest of the game by rule. BTW: Arron Harang is batting .264 this year, quite the turnaround for a guy who looked like a 6 year old at the plate a couple of years ago.

at 8:59 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I believe there ought to be a constitutional ammendment outlawing astroturf and the designated hitter." -Crash Davis

The designated hitter didn't even exist until 1973, and baseball did fine before it. The problem isn't the game, it's the fans. Nobody has the attention span to appreciate a 2-1 game or a sacrifice fly anymore.

If a player is in the lineup he should field a position, or hit if he's a pitcher. Baseball is hard, and the designated hitter is giving two players in each lineup a free pass to do something they are not good at. It's pretty bush league if you ask me. The designated hitter should go the way of most of the artificial turf stadiums and get out of baseball. Make the pitchers pick up a stick and swing it, and make Big Papi play a little first base. It's only fair. You want to throw a pitch high and tight on a batter, step yourself into that box.

Alex W

at 9:38 AM Blogger UCFan79 said...

PD, the way I see it there are 2 valid arguments against the DH: pitching and stats.

1. Pitching: having to face approximately 4 additional "real" at-bats each game will put more pressure on pitchers. This will result in approximately 16 extra real pitches having to be thrown. That seems like it would have a potential impact on the longevity of starting pitching, and it would favor the further rise of relief pitching. (I wonder if all pitching will eventually be relief stints of approximately 3 innings or so.)

2. Stats - Obviously, adding 6 more years to Junior's career will have an impact on homerun stats. Other hitting stats will also be affected. This can be handled by an asterisk. Nonetheless, there will be no way to compare early ballplayers with modern ballplayers. But, one can already argue that.

at 10:27 AM Anonymous Kilroy said...

"The problem isn't the game, it's the fans. Nobody has the attention span to appreciate a 2-1 game or a sacrifice fly anymore."

That doesn't make sense. The game is for the fans enjoyment, if the fans don't have the attention span, give them something that will.

This isn't exhibition ball, it's pro ball people are paying to see it. The game isn't some charity institution that let's people watch for free. To say it isn't the game it's the fans is silly, it's all about the fans, the people who pay for it.

at 11:31 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get it, the fans pay to see the game. I know it's not a "charity" institution or whatever the heck you called it, but it is beautiful. I love baseball (especially National League baseball) the way it is, and so do a lot of other people. Cheapening it with a designated hitter or by changing other rules because people are too dim to get in to the game is not right, and very unfair to people who truly appreciate the game.

People with short attention spans can watch arena football and pro wrestling for all I care, just leave the National League alone. It is the fans. I don't care what anyone says. Everyone is too impatient and wants 1000 foot homers and 25 runs. Bigger, Faster, Louder. A 1-0 affair has become unbearable for today's fan, today's people. It's really a reflection of our society. Baseball is played at a certain pace, and people nowadays can't slow the heck down and watch the ball game at the liesurely stroll at which it is presented to us. They are too busy looking at their blackberry between pitches to notice that there's 1 out, a 2-1 count, the baserunner has a bigger lead, and the hit-and-run might be on. They'd rather see the tape measure homers and the diving snags presented to them in 30 minutes the way it's shown on Sportscenter.

Alex W.

at 4:50 PM Blogger The Dunce Cap Marvel said...

And miss out on Micah Owings hit!? I think not...

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