National League Should Lose the Automatic out and Accept the Designated Hitter

Rudy TarkusContributor IIJune 25, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 01:  Manager Bruce Bochy #15 takes out pitcher Madison Bumgarner #40 in the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs at AT&T Park on June 1, 2012 in San Francisco, California. The Giants won the game 4-3. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

I know. It's a tired argument. But the fact of the matter is that it's not going away. The National League could do itself, and baseball a favor by swallowing its pride and doing away with the archaic notion that pitchers must hit.

The National League fan's response is also a tired argument: nine players, and that's it. Yes, it is indeed a fundamental in baseball that each player who takes the field in their defensive half of the inning should swing a bat. According to rules set forth in the 19th century, this is what baseball is.

Other outdated spoken/unspoken rules include: allowing pitchers to spit on the ball, and a ball caught after one bounce is also considered an out. Lest we forget the worst unspoken rule of baseball's history: the exclusion of African-Americans. I understand these are apples and oranges, but they serve to remind us that baseball is an evolving game; at least it should be.

Since its inception in 1997, the American League has dominated interleague play by a tune of 2,081-1,883. It's lopsided, and indeed unfair for both teams.

In each league, teams are built differently. American League teams often spend exuberant amounts of money on a player with defensive inadequacies yet can hit the ball well, usually with pop. National League teams balance their rosters by keeping their benches stocked with defensive substitutions. They are different types of baseball, and they shouldn't be playing several series against each other.

It's unfair to NL teams because their options at DH are almost always weaker than their AL opponent's. It's unfair to AL teams because in some cases, a well-paid DH has to sit, or is forced to awkwardly play an outfield position, or first base. The whole idea of interleague play doesn't make sense, and it's exhausted. 

It's likely baseball fans in either league would rather see fifteen extra games against out-of-division rivals. 

Aside from the fact interleague play has run its course, there is another, more important reason NL rules are a detriment to the game.

The double-switch. 

Proponents of NL rules say it makes the game more exciting. Managers have to think harder. There's more strategy involved. All of those things may be, but the fact of the matter is the constant changing of pitchers due to where they're batting in the lineup is boring. It takes the wind out of the game. Strategy or not, baseball games are long enough as is. Watching Dusty Baker or Bruce Bochy make his way onto the field every five minutes is incredibly obnoxious. 

This is another reason for non-baseball fans to say it's boring. And they're right. 

At what point do we sacrifice fun and excitement for strategy? At what conclusion does the National League arrive by which they justify the automatic outs and constant double-switching at the expense of the overall enjoyment of the game?

Pitchers cannot hit, and it's time the National League realizes that.