For people who write about baseball, the All-Star break offers at least two things: (1) an intraseasonal oasis in which one can examine and address baseball topics over the span of a day or two without worrying that the otherwise constant barrage of new baseball events occurring that might, for example, mess up the performance numbers on which a writer had founded his or her baseball writing and (2) a probably countervailing force in the form of significant public interviews with the sport’s leaders addressing the sport’s Big Topics Of The Day.
Regarding the latter, Commissioner Rob Manfred kicked things off this morning with an appearance on Dan Patrick’s radio show. Here are my notes of the highlights:
People love to talk about the designated hitter and whether the National League will adopt it, and Manfred’s mention of the subject this morning predictably reignited the “conversation”:
I suspect that those on the fence or without a considered opinion on the subject may have found prodding from recent articles like this one Ben Lindbergh published last month illustrating the historically poor offensive numbers from current pitchers. What many of these conversants don’t do is think about this conversation from the DH side, however. There really is no doubt that a designated hitter is going to bat better than a pitcher, but the nature of the DH position is changing, both in terms of the players who are filling that role and their performance levels.
Regarding the union’s particular partiality to the DH, are David Ortiz-types really the players finding extra PAs as designated hitters? Take a look. Continue reading