Not Paid to Hit

On Monday, the New York Yankees played at the Phillies. This seems like a rather normal matchup, one of 162. But remember two things:

  • It is the Yankees, so everything they do is national news, as per the East Coast media

  • The game is in an NL park, so pitcher have to hit.

So in this game, 6’8” reliever Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, had a chance to bat. This was his first at bat ever in the MLB.

He swung hard. He swung bravely. But alas, mighty Dellin had struck out.

The entire thing looked sort of funny; a 6’8” behemoth like that trying to hit Major League pitching. But that was about it.

After the game, manager Aaron Boone mentioned that although fun to watch, he was afraid of Dellin of getting hurt and he likes the DH rule. So much so that he wants it to become the norm in the NL as well.

Now why is this newsworthy? Well, as said earlier, this is the Yankees. So remember that everything that do is of the utmost importance. Even though this has been a topic for years now, now it just matters more.

So cries of ‘we pay these guys (pitchers) to pitch, not to bat’ have been echoed all over sports media the past few days now. Media insiders say in the next 3 years or so, expect the NL to adopt the DH.

Well, if the logic used to justify the use of the DH is that ‘pitchers are paid to pitch, we don’t them to get hurt’, well I say let’s expand it to other positions.

To keep it with the on;y team that matters in baseball, the Yankees, let’s look at their catcher. Gary Sanchez pulled a hamstring running to first base the other day is now out for an extended period of time. Why does he have to run? He is slow and doesn’t move too well. Why not run for him? I mean we are not paying him to run. Now he is hurt. Doesn’t feel right.

How about Aaron Judge. Have you seen him field? It is like Darryl Strawberry out there, but less dynamic. He has zero range and is a complete liability out there. Also I am sure someday soon he will get hurt trying to field whatever. Why not have a pitch fielder for him? I mean we are not paying him to shag flies, we are paying him to hit dingers.

This idea of certain players getting a reprieve from basic skills involved in their sport for the sake of preventing injury or simply the fact that some are not ‘good’ at them is wonderful. I think all sports should widen their rosters to the point where everyone just does one thing, then gets subbed for someone else to do another thing.

Take basketball. Steph Curry is now only allowed to shot and play offense. After a possession, stop the game, and sub him out for a defensive specialist. Not only with this make the game go by slower, this will completely suck the life out of the idea of being an overall athlete.

I mean, when Abner Doubleday invented baseball, I am sure he never imagined a world where a pitcher would be expected to field a bunt 10 feet away from him without tearing a muscle. Who wants athletes involved in athletics anyway?