Inside the Lines: DH is Not the Same as MVP

Scott WeilCorrespondent IFebruary 20, 2008

To quote Crash Davis: “I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter.”

The latter part of this I agree with. I don’t have so much of a problem with Astroturf.

David Ortiz is arguably the best known designated hitter in the game. (Other than perhaps Edgar Martinez, after whom the award for the best DH.)

Big Papi, as he is affectionately referred to, was in the running for the American League MVP award for the 2006 season, having the chance to beat out other perennial frontrunners Derek Jeter, Manny Ramirez, and Jim Thome.

Not seeing a problem? Here, I’ll highlight it for you. The last three great players I mentioned are possible future Hall of Famers and actually play a position and contribute to the game, other than just standing in the batter's box a few times a game and trying to crush the ball out of the park.

Granted, the “position” of DH does prolong a player's career for a few more years, such as in the cases of Jason Giambi, Mike “It’s not DiGiorno, it’s” Piazza, and Ken Griffey, Jr., I do not believe it should be a players primary position, or the only position they have. Nor do I, most importantly, believe that it should warrant an MVP award. There is an award for the best DH in the game, that should be the only individual prize given to a DH. “Jason Giambi has pretty much stopped contributing to life after becoming a DH,” a Yankee fan said of the designated hitter. I agree, and that goes for all DH’s, for that matter.

Oh, and yes, I said it. I may have made some enemies here, but the man almost lacking any hamstrings should hang up the mitt and go to the American League and become a DH, sorry Griff. (Yes, this goes against my argument but I know the DH “position” isn’t going anywhere so I’m recommending who should take advantage of it.)

The only situation a designated hitter is justifiable to me is as a pinch hitter for a pitcher, or other position player, in a clutch situation when they are desperately needed, not as a position. The National League plays the game the way it should be. To DHs I say: pick up a glove, saddle up, and learn to play the field, sweetheart.