Yesterday was a wild day as we discussed the possibility of the Designated Hitter on Facebook an Twitter. The whole discussion started with the season ending injury to Adam Wainwright when he was batting, and gained momentum when Max Scherzer also got injured while batting. If you think we at World Series Dreaming are making a mountain out of a mole hill, then so is a vast majority of the baseball world.
Ken Rosenthall believes the time has come to bring on the designated hitter to the National League and Chicago Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper believes that the designated hitter is coming at some point to the National League whether you want to accept the idea or not.
For those (like me) who love NL style (no DH), I’d say cherish it. It will end at some point. When not if. You watch.
— Len Kasper (@LenKasper) April 27, 2015
That discussion has been talked to death, and gained a lot of steam this weekend. However, through that discussion came another idea which started as what I can only assume was a joke in response to a legitimate question asking for arguments against bringing the Designated Hitter to the National League.
My initial response was done without much thought
— WorldSeriesDreaming (@WSDreaming_Cubs) April 26, 2015
Then I started to really think about Corey’s response, and that is not as far fetched as he might have thought when making the joke response.
Generally, the best fielders on a baseball team are the short stops. Something that the Cubs have a plethora of. Starlin Castro, Addison Russell as well as Javier Baez. Russell and Baez are seen as plus defenders and Castro has stepped up his game big time this season. All three also have plus bats. That is the best of both worlds. Having a surplus of shortstops who can hit is a wonderful thing.
Shortstops can play just about anywhere on the field. Shortstop, second base, third base, as well as the outfield. They are the best defenders and generally the best athletes as well. You could do a lot worse defensively than having a team filled with shortstops all over the place. That could be seen as having a “designated fielder” as Corey suggested. What is even better with all these shortstops the Cubs have, they can all hit.
I know what Corey meant though, the separation of offense and defense. Having a set roster of players who only field, and a set roster of players who only hit, just like in football. They are the only sport that has a specialized roster for each, just like baseball is the only sport where the offense does not have control of the ball.
Again, Corey made his comment tongue in cheek, but the Cubs are half way to having a team of “designated fielders” with two shortstops already on the team, with Baez on the road back to the majors. That would be three of eight defensive positions being played by athletes who are generally looked at as the best defenders based on original position.
Who knows, maybe someday in the distant future baseball and football will both have set rosters for offense and defense. The game is always changing, and always evolving. Those changes may be years from coming to light, if they ever do. But for now, even the most traditional loving baseball fan has to admit that the designated hitter is coming. Whether they like the idea or not.