Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer wants to see the designated hitter in the National League. Not only does he want to see it, but it’s something that he sees as a pressing issue.
In the most recent “What the Blank?” section of the Players’ Tribune, Hosmer was asked what he’d do if he were Major League Baseball’s Commissioner for a day? He simply responded that he’d “put the DH in the NL.”
One, why does Hosmer care about what happens in the National League? The Royals are an American League team. Interleague play consists of only 20 games per season, and of those, only half are in National League ballparks without a DH.
Kansas City has made consecutive World Series, and as such, has had to play a few extra games with National League rules. Still, it’s surprising to hear anyone in the American League list this as his most pressing issue.
Additionally, Hosmer not only plays in the field, but has won the American League Gold Glove at first base in each of the last three seasons.
So, even if he one day finds himself looking for another team, the lack of a DH in half of baseball won’t be an issue for him.
Two, it is strange that the two leagues have different rules. This is now the 20th season of interleague play. You’d think baseball would have created one set standard by now.
It’s the only sport where the two conferences/leagues have different rules, and this isn’t a minor difference. Imagine if only one conference used the three-point line in the NBA. How would a Super Bowl be played if one of the two conferences banned running plays?
Obviously, it’s a big rule difference. But given how baseball (like all sports) uses league/conference play, it’s a rule difference that impacts the league’s showcase event — the World Series — every year.
Now, if it is ever unified, which way will it go?
Speaking from experience, if Hosmer gets his way, it won’t be well received by National League fans. Additionally, a recent poll indicated that 65 percent of MLB fans said that they preferred to see pitchers bat for themselves.
Still, smart money would say that unification would mean the National League adapting the DH and not the American League abolishing it.
After 40-plus years of having a DH and seeing the kind of impact that players like David Ortiz have had, it’s hard to see baseball pulling the plug.