For those of you who are not inclined to watch America's Past-time, George Steinbrenner, former owner and chief big-wig of the New York Yankees, recently stepped aside allowing his two sons to take over.
Hank Steinbrenner is a blow-hard of, but has been incredibly interesting to watch and listen to as he pontificates about the New York Yankees and Baseball without any actual knowledge of the subject. Exhibit A is his latest tirade against the National League and the designated hitter (DH).
To quote Mr. Steinbrenner, "My only message is simple. The National League needs to join the 21st century . . . I've got my pitchers running the bases, and one of them gets hurt. He's going to be out. I don't like that, and it's about time they address it. That was a rule from the 1800s."
Chien-Ming Wang, the Yankees ace, injured himself running the bases. It is a shame that he will be out until September, but it is not an injustice. It is part of Baseball.
The horror, a pitcher actually has to play baseball, bat, and run the bases? Apparently the American League believes real baseball involves large, relatively immobile power hitters who don't have to play the field. The Designated Hitter is an abomination. Sadly, it isn't going away with All-Stars like David Ortiz and Travis Hafner. The DH gives the American League a distinct advantage in American League parks where the National League is forced to improvise. In the National League, unless the pitcher is named Carlos Zambrano or Micah Owings, the pitcher is an automatic out or a sacrifice bunt.
Yet, there is something pure about the National League. It is the senior league of professional baseball and it expects its players to be well-rounded. That means not only can they swing for the fences, but they should also have to play the field. The American League has chosen to not require the pitchers to bat or the DHs to play the field. While that may make their offenses more dangerous, it does not make better baseball.
So, Hank, do all of baseball a favor, and shut up!