The DH

Being a pitcher's parent sometimes I don't always pay attention of the difficulty of other player's roles.
In dicussion the other day, son said he felt the toughest job (besides the relief pitcher Smile) is that of the DH.
The DH needs to be able to sit through 9 innings, stay loose and not stiffen up, stay mentally focused and be expected to hit every time at bat.
Any thoughts?
Original Post
DH is like a goal-scorer in hockey. When you don't score a goal everyone notices right away. When a DH does not hit, there is nothing else to offer. I agree, it is a very, very tough job, but also offers an opportunities for many players who are less than multidimensional.
I don't like DHing, I think it is the desnaturalization of the real baseball game. I don't like it, specially at low levels of baseball, when players don't know yet wich possition they will play at higher levels.
No! to the DH, I think is better add an AH to the line-up in LL and HS.
The DH at the professional level has greatly altered the game in the American League. Takes a lot of thinking out of the game. double Switch etc etc. the thing i believe is incredible is at the High school level where you can DH for any player. Now that is not baseball. Tell a kid play 3rd base or ss or etc etc and you are not hitting? Not baseball.
Just my opinion ...

At least in HS, many of your best atheletes are good offensive position players and also your best pitchers, so often don't need a DH hitting for them. Of the top-10 starting pitchers in our league, half hit for themselves and were also among the top hitters in the league. If your starting pitcher is hitting .400, but your 3B is hitting .150, DH'ing for the 3B allows another kid to get some hacks in who otherwise may not have the defensive skills to play.

Given that most HS teams aren't 9-men deep in quality hitting, the DH roll can sometimes rotate around as a coach searches for that elusive 9th man that can get it done at the plate ... who may not be the best position player. The other benefit of the HS rule of being able to DH for any position: if you have an excellent defensive player that is in a deep hitting slump, it allows another guy to get involved in the game as a DH off the bench without severely crippling your defense. It gives a coach more flexibility in how he distributes playing time.

I know it's not a 'pure' form of the game, but it does allow two kids to get involved in the game instead of one, and allows the coach more flexibility in giving kids some playing time. It's HS after all. For at least half of the players on any HS team, playing HS ball will probably be the end of their organized team experience, so a little impurity is OK in my book if it helps get a few more kids involved in the game.
TPM, your son is very observant. It is very tough to do it for an extended period of time. Some players can do it but most struggle with the role of DH. Let me share some numbers with you. My son became a regular starter on the mound when conference play started last year. When he was not pitching he was the DH. He never caught ANY SEC games. His batting average during the SEC games was .227 with 4HR and 18RBI.

This year he was a catcher and NEVER DH’ed. During the same SEC period this year his batting average was .387 with 8HR and 30RBI.

Like TPM says it’s tough to set on the bench and think about your hitting…. plus everyone else has a safe harbor by running out to play defense and the lonely DH has to listen to the coach explaining what you did wrong during your last at bat. Frown

What about other high school sports like basketball? Why not have a designated foul shooter for a particular player so if he gets fouled another player shoots for him because his free throw percentage is bad you get the opportunity to get another player involved? Same logic?
Well, with the exception of the free throw situation, basketball does have unrestricted substitutions ... a starter can come out and back in an unlimited number of times. Baseball has very restrictive substitution rules.

The only restrictions on basketball substitutions are you to wait for dead balls and timeouts, and you can't sub for the free throw shooter. Otherwise a basketball coach has pretty much an unrestricted ability to freely substitute throughout the game. At the end of many basketball games, you will see the coach switch a defensive specialist and an offensive specialist on each possession change.

A basketball coach has a lot of freedom in getting the bench involved in the game ... he has to or he'll have five guys collapsing on the floor. There's a JC basketball team here in SoCal that took this to the extreme: with a roster of 15 guys, they had three complete 'squads' that did a full 5-man substitution every 30-60 SECONDS. Run-gun-minimum defense. They had a team average of something like 135 points/game. They had an assistant coach do nothing but manage the substitution rotation and stopwatch.

In baseball, the substitution rules are far more strict with regards to taking a starter out and putting him back in ... once, a sub can only go in once, etc. You can only sub between innings (10-15 minutes) or in a pinch-hit or run situation. So it's a lot harder to get 25 guys involved in the game. As long as the DH rule is the same for every team, no one gets much of an advantage out of it, at least not at the HS level.

Also, basketball is an extremely aerobic sport, requiring frequent substitution of players to prevent exhaustion, so the bench has to get involved in every game. Generally 80% of the players will get some amount of game time in every basketball game. The biggest physical challenge facing some baseball players is simply staying alert, particularly if your ace is on the mound. The games just aren't equivalent on many levels.

Once you get beyond HS, I've got to agree with you ... it's all about what team can field the best players with the most tools. In HS, these are kids ... let them enjoy the experience. For many, it's their last. I see DH'ing for any position player as a small corruption, which probably isn't used that much anyway. I'd guess our HS coach did it in less than 25% of our games.
1% is too much. It is not baseball. period. The same with the re entry rule that is not baseball. THe High school league I coached in incorporated the DH re entry rule this past season. I look back and remember agonizing whether to pinch hit for my ss in a tight game in the late innings, Now no problem pinch hit for him in the bottom of the inning and re enter him in the top of the next. No thought going on there.
Im not a fan of the DH rule in pro ball for the same reasons Will is against it period. I do like it in HS and Showcase ball because of the following reasons. It allows me to play and extra kid. It allows me to ph for a starter and then re enter the starter. I would not give as many kids chances to hit if I could not re enter my starter in alot of situations. In showcase we never dh for a posistion player only pitchers. We do use and extra hitter. This allows an extra kid to swing the bat every game. High school baseball is not pro ball. I like having the courtesy runners for the pitchers and catchers. Again thats two more kids that get a chance to contribute and get in the game. With the dh and the courtesy runners I actually have 12 kids in the line up. Now some of you might not like it thats ok I understand your points of view and respect them. But it does allow for more kids to be in the game. And by the rules allowing for starters to be allowed to re enter the game one time it gives you an opportunity to let some other guys play. JMO
Let everybody play lets everybody feel good about themselves. Re enter so we get more kids into the games. 10 run rule so kids wont feel bad. Now I am talking about High school here. Kids are 16 and 17 years old. Look at this scenario. I have a 7 run lead in the 5th I substitute. The other team scores 6. Getting a little close. OK now all the subs out and put in "the starters". Gee that is a real confidence booster there. The same confidence you give a position player when you DH for him.
The debate on the DH will go on forever, but like it or not it's been around now for thirty-two years in the AL, and I'd bet it's here to stay. In short the game changed a long time ago and it is what it is now.

All this other stuff (courtesy runner, free substitution, EH) is just an extension of 'daddy ball', in my opinion. If the game has slowed so much that a catcher needs to be in the dugout getting ready for the next half inning, and nine guys hitting won't get it done offensively, and a coach can't be astute enough to foresee the possibilities of a future substitution, then maybe baseball at all levels ought to just adopt MLB rules and play the game the way it was meant to be played, DH and all, cause it's HISTORY now.
I really wasn't referring to little league (things have gotten blown out of proportion there as it is) but I'm not sure that high school wouldn't be a good place to start following MLB rules. Sure, you would have to keep the 'no contact rule' and maybe a few others, but why not teach them the game based on MLB? Districts could decide if they want AL or NL format. Playoffs could work somewhat like interleague play. Granted, pitchers would not be seeing a whole lot of at bats, and that would be detrimental to them.

All this courtesy runner stuff (how does that affect a catcher in terms of learning to run the bases?), extra hitter, free substitution just takes away from the game, in my opinion.

I think there is entirely too much confusion among players, coaches, fans (and yes - even umpires) with all the different rules one has to follow when considering h.s., college, "select" organizations (AAU, NBC, whatever).

Just my opinion, but then again, I might be happy seeing a return of the spitter and a fifteen inch mound as least for a game or two!
The rules allow you to have a courtesy runner for the pitcher and catcher. The rules allow you to re enter a starter one time. You can ph for a starter and then re enter him. You can have a dh. Now I have kids like every other program that work their butts off everyday in practice. They are not starters not all of them. I have a chance to let them help the team and the rules allow for it then I am going to give them a chance to do so. How any of you can say that is daddy ball I dont know. These rules were put into HS baseball Im sure to allow more kids an opportunity to be a part of the game. It is not pro ball. If they want to change the rules to mirror pro ball fine with me. But untill they do I will continue to use the rules to allow more kids to play. As far as the 10 run rule goes I dont like it. I would love to use those games as a chance to get kids playing time when we are beating someone down. Or if I am getting beat down I want my guys to battle all the way to the end and not get bailed out by rules. But thats the rule and we live with it.

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