Retro Relapse: Umpires Are Sensitive Egomaniacal Bitches

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2015.

I hate baseball umpires more than the officials of any other sport. While baseball is and will always be my favorite sport, the men (and I use “men” lightly) that officiate the game are overly sensitive, power hungry, egomaniacal bitches.

Last night was just another example of this.

After what was perceived as a bad call, Torii Hunter of the Minnesota Twins started arguing with the umpire. He was actually fairly calm about it. But within just a few seconds, the home plate umpire lost his cool and ejected Hunter. He also immediately ejected Twins manager Paul Molitor who walked out to backup his player, as a manager does in these situations.

Hunter then lost his cool in a tantrum that saw him strip off his uniform and yell until he walked off the field in disgust.

Some people may think Hunter overreacted. I don’t, I think the umpire was a big bitch that needs to toughen up, grow some fucking balls and put his ego in check. Besides, if you eject a player for getting mad about a call, once he’s ejected, what is to then stop him from escalating his tirade? A fine? A suspension?

A guy like Hunter is a multimillionaire and he doesn’t care about some bullshit fine. He also probably doesn’t care about a suspension either, as the monetary hit isn’t going to come close to breaking him and he may benefit from a few days rest.

Rewind back to a few weeks ago. Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals was ejected twice in one week under similar circumstances, although he was visibly more heated than Hunter. In a press conference following his second ejection, Harper hit the nail on the head when he said:

I don’t think 40,000 people came to watch him ump tonight. Plain and simple, I really don’t think they did. Especially when we’re playing the Yankees. The Yankees are a good team, we’re a good team and we’re rolling. I don’t want to get tossed. There’s no reason for me to get tossed in that situation. I don’t think I did anything bad to get tossed. Maybe he just had a bad morning or he didn’t get his coffee.

Bryce Harper is right, the fans didn’t buy a ticket to watch an umpire putting on a show.

The thing is, power is a fucked up thing. Some can handle it, some can’t. Umpires have always been cantankerous jerks throughout baseball’s century and a half of history. That doesn’t mean that they have to abuse their power. And it certainly doesn’t mean that Major League Baseball has to coddle their officials, as if they can do no wrong.

Look, I get that an umpire has a tough job and that there is a high level of stress in the position but if anything, that should make them relate to the pressure a Major League Baseball player is under. And more often than not, when a player gripes about a call, it is because the umpire didn’t just make a bad call once, he made several over multiple at-bats. Sure, some players have unjustifiably lost their shit but not as much as umpires have unjustifiably lost theirs.

These umpires remind me of the asshole cops out there who overstep their bounds and use their power and their badge to justify horrible behavior. Many think that they are above the law and thrive on that high. They have a god complex and anytime someone challenges that, they can toss them out of a game, just as a shitty cop can toss someone in jail (or worse) for expressing displeasure.

It has gotten to the point in baseball, where if you even question an official, you’re out of the game and that’s that.

While Major League Baseball is so focused on protecting the integrity of the game in every way it can, their attitude that the umpire is always right is foolhardy and ridiculous. People make mistakes, umpires are people. And many of these people don’t have great track records.

When an umpire, like the one last night, throws a player out of a game over nothing and then walks away, as other umps try and get the irate batter off of the field, that umpire looks like an overly sensitive bitch and someone with a severe ego problem.

In other sports, athletes get in referees faces all the time, more so than in baseball. How often do they get ejected from a game though? There is just something with these baseball umpires that needs to be checked and this is an example of the archaic culture surrounding Major League Baseball.

I also get that this is part of the sport and part of the show. But when it comes to the pure competition of what is happening on the field, shit like this is a distraction and hurts the essence of the game itself. This is baseball, a sport. This isn’t World Wrestling Entertainment. People aren’t paying to see the Authority screw over Daniel Bryan day after day. What happens within the confines of the contest itself is the story that should be told. The umpires aren’t the stars, nor should they be, and their overreactions make baseball look like an episode of Jerry Springer.

Now I’m not calling for umpires to be replaced with computers, as some have suggested, but something needs to be done. I’m also not saying that all umpires are egomaniacal bitches but there are certainly many who fit the bill. Maybe they need psychological evaluations on a regular basis.

And sure, the sport has always been this way but it does seem as if the tolerance of umpires is at an all-time low.

Then again, maybe they are just rejected wannabe ballplayers that never amounted to anything and this is their way of getting revenge. Kind of like the bullied kid in high school who goes on to become successful, only to use his success to punish those who wronged him. Even though those being punished aren’t the same people who wronged him.

Is this situation fixable? Yes. Will it be fixed? No. And that folks, is baseball.

Retro Relapse: Fix Your Fucking Hat

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2015.

I’ve watched baseball for a long time – 36 years to be exact. Now while I might not have understood it as an infant, I was certainly in the room when my grandma was watching the Chicago Cubs when I was that age. I was brought up a sports fan and loved baseball as far back as I can remember: collecting baseball cards and all the mini batting helmets and team ICEE cups from my local K-Mart.

Growing up, I also listened to a lot of hip-hop, heavy metal and punk rock. I embraced the whole counterculture thing and always strived to be an individual against the establishment, even though I didn’t realize I was conforming to the trendiness of nonconformity. I was a kid, it’s what kids do before they grow up and experience life and reality. And yes, I still like those things but I’ve become more of an individual as I’ve gotten older and understood what that actually means. Or I’m just older and stopped giving a fuck so much.

But as I got older, I had to join the workforce. As a teenager, I wasn’t satisfied with my allowance and got a job because I wanted to buy shit. In fact, I had several jobs in my teens and early twenties. Many of those jobs came with wearing a uniform. Sure, I loved the jobs that didn’t require a uniform but we don’t always have that luxury when it comes to having to make money. I’d wear my ugly khakis and my collared shirts and sometimes a hat with my employer’s logo on it. It comes with the job and that is the image the companies who paid my salary wanted to convey. Whether I liked it or not, I was a member of a team and I had to be a part of that team if I was going to work there.

In Major League Baseball, like all professional sports, uniforms are required. Being a paid player in the MLB means that you have to wear the uniforms provided by your employer. Some teams have strict rules, other teams are a bit more relaxed. For instance, the New York Yankees require you to shave and you cannot have your name on your jersey. Other teams let you have bodacious beards and they print your name on your back so the world can see who you are when you make an amazing play or when you fuck up on the field.

A part of the uniform in Major League Baseball is wearing your team’s cap. Why do you think they call them “baseball caps”? It’s because the hat style was invented for baseball players way back in the 1800s. It is not only a required part of the uniform in baseball but it serves a function, which is the real reason why it became the norm in the sport. That function is to block the sun out of the player’s eyes while on the field.

Culturally, baseball caps have evolved and become the badge of honor for players on their various teams. As sports breed tribalism, the logo and the cap is the flag of that tribe. It should be respected and cherished by those who wear it and those who follow the team. Hell, it should be respected by the opponents and rivals of each team, as it is a part of the sport’s history and heritage that has provided everyone on that field with a place to ply their trade.

Besides, there aren’t very many jobs out there better than being a Major League Baseball player. That alone should be enough for these players to want to honor the tradition and heritage of this great sport. But many players today, don’t.

From Fernando Rodney to Michael Pineda to Felix Hernandez to my Chicago Cubs’ Pedro Strop and others, they prefer to wear their hats crooked. While they may think they look cool and are taking fashion liberties in expressing their individuality, they look like assholes and are just following a crappy trend.

Someone who came from being a kid with nothing who now has millions, still looks like a child. Fernando Rodney is 38 years-old and he looks like a teenage clown with an old man’s face. It looks out of place and bizarre. The whole thing is just weird. The fact that their teammates don’t slap them in the back of the head is baffling to me.

Whether or not they think they’re rock stars or not is a moot point. The fact remains that they are employees and they have a uniform that should be worn correctly with pride. Some could point to these players being Latino and saying it is part of their culture. Regardless, they are still uniformed employees of a company and they are putting their own touch on something that is supposed to be held to a higher standard.

As a member of a team, you are just that – a member of a team. Sure, teams are made up of individuals but the individual should never put the spotlight on themselves over the team. Deliberately wearing a uniform incorrectly states that the player really doesn’t give a shit about the tradition, heritage or pride of the team that they play for.

Don’t even get me started on the guys who wear their Mr. T starter kits over their jerseys. We know you’re rich asshole, now put your big gold chains away and throw the fucking ball.

But staying on point here, the hats serve a function. If it is worn incorrectly, it can’t correctly serve that function. I can’t necessarily say that wearing a crooked hat has cost a team a game but it does present the possibility of it being a disadvantage.

The baseball cap is gear and a player should never wear gear incorrectly. They wouldn’t put their protective cup on crooked would they? They wouldn’t deliberately put their shoes on the wrong feet, right? I mean, maybe they would if they wanted to follow a trend and show their uniqueness.

Besides, when does it stop? How far does a player have to twist their cap before a team says “no”? In a few years, we may have players other than catchers wearing backwards hats or even turning them inside out like rally caps. Where is the line drawn here?

Lastly, I suffer from a bit of OCD. It was much worse as a child but it still exists. Whenever I see one of these self-obsessed idiots wearing a crooked cap, it sends me into a frenzy. How does it not drive them crazy? I guess looking cool (or like a clown) is more important than having functional gear and looking like a proud member of the team that pays you millions.

Retro Relapse: The Durham Bulls Solution to the Tampa Bay Rays Problem

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2015.

Let me start this post off by saying that there is no way that this will ever happen.

That doesn’t mean that I cannot dream though. And frankly, this idea is great and it was born from a conversation a friend and I had about what to do with the Tampa Bay Rays.

By the way, I still prefer to call them the Devil Rays because that name was infinitely more bad ass than Rays. What the shit is a ray? Even Stingrays would be better than Rays. But enough bitching about a dumb name, let me get to the point here.

The Tampa Bay Rays have major attendance troubles. This also stems from the fact that they play in a shit hole, they are located in Florida (a state with horrible sports fans) and most of the attendees that do go to the games are usually there for the road team. If you don’t believe me, go to a Rays game. I have and each time I saw more jerseys and caps for the opposition. It didn’t matter if it was the Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers, Twins, Tigers, Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles or even the foreigner poutine-fueled Blue Jays.

Florida sports fans suck a bucket of balls. I live in Florida and I witness the antics of my state mates on the reg. Look at Miami Heat fans. Oh, that’s right, you can’t anymore because LeBron James left and they ceased to exist.

Florida is also made up of a lot of tourists who buy homes and become part-time residents. Even though they melt down the side of our planet every autumn and settle in on Florida during the winter months, many stay longer or become permanent fixtures in the state. With them, they bring their love and affection for their own team from their northern place of origin. This is why teams from the Northeast and Midwest are always represented en masse at Florida sporting events. This is also why the Tampa Bay Lightning decided to not sell playoff tickets to non-permanent Florida residents and banned all team apparel that isn’t Lightning apparel. God forbid those Red Wings fans have the freedom to express themselves in Tampa Bay’s house!

When it comes to Tropicana Field, the home of the Rays, I can’t even begin to express my frustration with that abomination: sitting like a gargantuan cyborg choad, wedged between I-275 and downtown St. Petersburg. The ballpark is impractical, balls get stuck in the rafters and it is just a drab and awful sight to see. The concessions are also below average. However, that Latin American fair I went to back in 1996 resulted in me getting a handy in a toilet stall while on a high school field trip, so I do have one fond memory of Tropicana Field.

But lewdness aside, there isn’t a month or even a week that goes by where it doesn’t seem like there is some story or report about how the Rays aren’t going to survive in the Tampa Bay area or that they are going to move somewhere else. A lot of it stems from their insanely lengthy lease at Tropicana Field and the fact that people just don’t want to go there but there are a multitude of things going on, most of which I’m not going to waste time on because I don’t feel like writing a novel and the problems aren’t what this is about – this is about the solution.

So I propose that you let the Rays just fade away. Unfortunately for the American League East, this leaves them with four teams in their division: everyone else has five. So what can be done to bring balance to the AL East?

You take the Rays Triple-A team since 1998, the Durham Bulls, and make them the new Major League Baseball franchise to represent that fifth spot in the American League East division.

Crazy idea? Well, hear me out.

The Carolinas do not have a major league baseball team. However they are represented in the NFL, NBA and the NHL. They have great sports fans and a pretty successful minor league history. The Durham area is also next to Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Wake Forest and not too far from Winston-Salem and Greensboro. Charlotte isn’t far either. Also, the Carolina Hurricanes already play in that area and do pretty well for a team not even located in the biggest city in the Carolinas.

By selecting the Durham Bulls, I’m not just picking some random Carolina-based team, I am also not picking them just because they are already associated with the Tampa Bay Rays, even though that does play into this. There are several reasons for this idea but the main one is that the Durham Bulls are already an internationally recognized brand.

Since the hugely successful and awesome 1988 film Bull Durham, there has been a mystique around this team. That film starred Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon and “the Clown Prince of Baseball” Max Patkin (look him up). It is a classic and probably always will be. It is by far one of the greatest baseball movies ever made and it made the Durham Bulls a household name.

Because of that, a team that would come and go throughout history, became really popular, expanded, and went from a Single-A team to a Triple-A team when they left the Carolina League and joined the much larger International League in 1998. The Rays recognized the Durham Bulls’ value as a brand and thus, made them their premier minor league affiliate after their lengthy run as a lowly team in the Atlanta Braves system.

This does hurt the actual real Rays fans out there and for that I am sorry but this would be better for the sport in my opinion and would inject a much needed boost into the AL East and MLB, in general. And being that I live in Florida and love going to as many MLB games as possible, this would be a blow to me, even though these contests take place in the worst venue in Major League Baseball.

Fans would also miss out on the growing division rivalry between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox, which only intensifies and strengthens with each season. This could certainly evolve naturally if the Rays whole roster moved to Durham though.

But then again, despite all the troubles the Rays have and all the reports about them hightailing it out of Tropicana Field or completely out of the Tampa area, one fact remains true: they are really friggin’ profitable.

As of right now, in April of 2015, they are valued at $625 million dollars. This is a huge jump from the $451 million they were worth in 2013 and an even bigger jump than the $200 million they were bought for in 2004.

Realistically, could the Carolinas match or exceed the value the team has built up in the Tampa Bay area over the last decade? It is tough to say but it would be an interesting experiment, nonetheless.

And truthfully, maybe them staying put, albeit in a better venue, is the right solution.

Either way, something has to change.

Retro Relapse: When ‘The Code’ Goes Too Far

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

There are several unwritten rules and codes in baseball. They have existed for generations and even though they are kept pretty secret, there has been a lot of transparency in the last few years.

It is kind of like professional wrestling, in that no one knew how exactly they put their show together and how the behind the scenes mechanics worked but with the Internet and instantaneous media at people’s fingertips, that game changed. What they referred to as “kayfabe” (their code and secrets of the business) has come out into the light.

Baseball has evolved in a similar way and between websites, blogs and even books, commentators and ex-players themselves coming forward to shed light on these things, the general public understands “The Code” much better than they did a generation ago.

I respect The Code, it is part of the sport and every other sport or industry in the world has its own unwritten rules. The problem is that sometimes this code goes too far. For instance, when it leads to maiming another player intentionally and possibly shortening or flat out ending their career, there is a real problem.

This past weekend we saw an example of this in the series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

During the first game of the series, Pirates relief pitcher Ernesto Frieri threw a fastball that struck the hand of Diamondbacks first baseman and superstar, Paul Goldschmidt. It was an accident and not intentional. When pitching, sometimes the ball slips or a pitcher doesn’t hit their target. In this case, Goldschmidt’s hand fell victim and was broken by Frieri’s fastball. Goldschmidt was put on the DL for 15 days. But this is the risk of playing a sport. Injury is an everyday thing and the players know this when they step on the field.

Sure, it is a setback for the struggling Diamondbacks but being that the season is two-thirds of the way over and that they’re 14.5 games behind the first place Dodgers and 12 games behind the second place Giants in the NL West, there really isn’t anything short of a miracle that can even get the Diamondbacks close to a wild card spot. But Paul Goldschmidt is their star player and any student of the game knew that despite this being an accident, retribution from the Diamondbacks would be coming. Hell, in regards to their batters getting hit by pitches, they warned of retribution before the season started.

The next night, very late in the game, the Pirates top player Andrew McCutchen took the plate. McCutchen is a serious contender for the National League MVP this year and is hands down one of the best players of this generation. He is also leading the Pittsburgh Pirates in their tough fight to make the playoffs for their second straight year. Right now, they are 2.5 games behind the first place Brewers and just 1.5 games behind the second place Cardinals. The Pirates have a real chance at making the playoffs again, which is awesome considering that last year was their first postseason appearance in two decades.

When Andrew McCutchen took the plate however, their hunt was seriously threatened when Diamondbacks pitcher Randall Delgado intentionally threw a fastball at McCutchen, which struck him hard in the spine. McCutchen immediately hit the dirt and writhed in pain. The result: lots of tests, lots of worry and a broken rib in a pivotal time for the Pirates to rally and push for a spot in the playoffs. This revenge pitch may have cost the entire city of Pittsburgh another real run at postseason glory.

A lot of opinionated analysts and experts are pointing a finger at Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson. Many believe that he has created a headhunting culture within his ball club. Did he give the order like a mob boss putting out a hit on a key member of a rival gang? It’s possible but we’ll never know because ballplayers pretty much keep their mouths shut on such matters. Regardless, these mob-like tactics are a blight on the game.

Remember last season when Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster threw a fastball at Alex Rodriguez’s head? Yes, he did what many wanted him to do, as the Yankees star was public enemy number one in the world of baseball. That doesn’t excuse it though. Worst-case scenario, it could’ve killed the guy or ended his career had it connected the right way. Severely hurting someone intentionally isn’t the same thing as simply beaning a dude to send a message.

In hockey, they fight and they fight hard. But when Marty McSorely of the Boston Bruins went too far and hit the Canucks’ Donald Brashear in the head with a stick, ending his career, he was charged with assault with a weapon and given an 18 month conditional discharge. Hockey and the law took care of business and did the right thing.

There is a fine line and accidents happen. However when someone is intentionally harmed because it’s just the way things are done and have always been done, that’s a bullshit excuse and completely fucking asinine.

Baseball is a sport of class and a sport of men. The players need to start acting like it and carrying themselves as something higher than barbarians.

Retro Relapse: The MLB to 7 Innings Idea

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

Recently, an unnamed high-ranking baseball executive discussed trimming MLB games down to 7 innings (story here). Homeboy is probably unnamed because he doesn’t want millions of boots up his idiotic ass.

It seems that this executive feels that limiting games to 7 innings would enhance the sport. He pointed out that MLB’s audience is aging and that younger people want shit faster and faster.

Well, fuck that argument. The executive is assuming that baseball is boring and slow. It is a common argument usually broadcasted by baseball naysayers because they have the attention span of mallards in heat. The fact of the matter is, there are other ways to speed up the game, as opposed to shaving off two innings. Additionally, if kids today don’t care about baseball because the pace is a bit more relaxed than basketball or football, it just means that their parents failed them. These kids should have had certain things instilled in them like the fact that baseball is the greatest thing America has ever produced.

He also talks about how teams are having a hard time finding good pitching and that pitchers are getting injured more frequently. Okay, well how is a 9 inning game to blame? Major League Baseball has always consisted of games that went 9 innings (or more in the case of a tie after 9). The problem here is obviously something else other than the game being 9 innings. That’s like saying, more car accidents are occurring so it must be this 70 MPH speed limit, even though it has always been a 70 MPH speed limit. Yeah, ignore all other factors and single out the one thing that has always been a constant. Additionally, haven’t they already altered the game, on numerous occasions, to benefit the hitters? So bad pitching means better batting. I guess logic and consistency are in short supply.

With two less innings, games would finish at around two and a half hours as opposed to three hours. This executive is high up on that idea. Personally, I think this guy is stupid as hell. Maybe I’m a true baseball purist because I want three hour baseball! Hell, I get really fucking excited when games go to extra innings. Granted, 17 innings are probably way too many but extra baseball means more bang for your buck! Why would you want less? And why even watch baseball at all if you want short ass games? Just watch highlights like a fucking tool.

However, apart from all of that, what would this do to the history of the game? Every record from this day forward would have an asterisk because to compare records over 7 innings against records over 9 innings just won’t work. It’s as if you would have to close the book on baseball history and start the record books over from scratch.

For instance, it’d be much easier for pitchers to pitch no hitters, as there are less innings. It’d be easier for batters to maintain higher batting averages, as they’d be taking less at bats. This would also effect on-base percentages. Additionally, it’d lower the amounts of strikeouts a pitcher could get. It’d also lower the amount of homeruns a player could get over the season considering games are now 7 innings instead of 9, which for a whole season of 162 games adds up to 1,134 innings instead of the current 1,458. The same issue arises for stolen bases, hits, RBIs and everything else you could think of, really. Furthermore, it’d be damn near impossible for anyone to ever beat Barry Bonds homerun record of 762. Same goes for all-time records in hits, strikeouts, stolen bases, RBIs, innings pitched and so on. This is why we couldn’t compare new stats and records to old stats and records.

Being a traditionalist for the most traditional sport, the thought of this 7 inning idea is beyond baffling. Truthfully, this idea is fucking madness. Fortunately, this most likely will never happen. It is a horrible proposal but that doesn’t mean that this idiot exec couldn’t convince other idiot execs and thus, gain some traction with this insane weirdness. Still, I doubt enough people would be this crazy but at the same time, enough people had to think that the DH rule was a good idea.

Retro Relapse: The DH Rule Is for Pussies

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

You read the title right.

Yes, the designated hitter rule is for pussies. Maybe I am biased as my team, the Chicago Cubs, is in the National League and maybe I am cool with my pitchers hitting, as they have no problem knocking home runs and at the very least, getting base hits and RBIs. Travis Wood, one of our starting pitchers currently has a batting average of .240 and in 25 at-bats has 2 home runs and 8 RBIs. I’ll take it!

Regardless of Travis Wood’s success in the batter’s box, I have always felt this way about the DH rule.

Over there in the American League, teams are too scared to have their pitchers bat because typically, pitchers are shitty batters. That’s a bullshit cop out! Do the pitchers in the AL make half the money since they only play half the time? No, they get paid full top dollar while on the flipside their team has to waste a roster spot on a player who sucks defensively but justifies having his job because he can hit. The AL is where veteran sluggers go to die. That may be harsh but it’s true.

There are several players in the American League that are making a career out of being good in the DH role. The biggest one right now is the Boston Red Sox’s Tito Ortiz a.k.a. Big Papi. Don’t get me wrong, I love that guy and he is a great presence not just on the field and in the dugout but also as an ambassador of the sport. However, he wouldn’t have a career anymore if he was in the National League. Why? Because he isn’t a very effective defensive player on the field. At one point he was better than decent but old age has caught up to Big Papi. Luckily for him, he can still swing like a beast and knock home runs in the clutch.

Yes, in a clutch situation, a very good hitting DH is exciting. Ortiz knocking balls out of the park during the playoffs and World Series last year was a pretty awesome display of his hitting prowess. But should a one trick pony be put on a pedestal and celebrated at the most elite level of the greatest sport in the world? I’m sorry but I think that a player in Major League Baseball should be great on both sides of the field. The DH rule keeps guys around longer than they should be.

Does this mean that I think pitchers should be criticized for not being able to hit just as much as I am criticizing designated hitters for not being able to play effectively in position roles? Yes and no. While I think that pitchers should strive to be better hitters and be as effective as possible in the batter’s box, I also realize that pitching is their priority and having an ace on the mound and a stud in the bullpen is more important than having a better-than-average guy reach first base. But yes, pitchers should make a serious effort at becoming better batters when time allows for it and they shouldn’t go up to bat and not take it seriously. The one thing I love about the Cubs pitchers is that they can produce and there has been more than one occasion where a pitcher at bat has been the offensive catalyst that produced a Cubs win.

Additionally, what’s more exciting? A DH getting hits like they’re routine or a pitcher, expected to flounder, hitting a two run homer for the lead late in a game? I’m going with the latter.

The DH is a bitch rule. It is like a fucking cheat code. It reminds me of when I used to play my cousin in Triple Play ’99 on Playstation 1, back in the day, and I used to put in the home run cheat code allowing myself to bunt homers – just to be a dick. He hated it and I don’t blame him. But how he felt is how I feel when an American League team forgoes a hitting strategy when coming to the lowest point in their batting lineup because they can just pull out their big gun.

I like the challenge and the competition and the DH rule eliminates some of the challenge and strategic planning. Sure, one can argue that when the NL plays the AL, it is an even playing field because if the AL team is at home, the NL team can use a DH but that misses the point. You see, the National League didn’t need a designated hitter until it had to play the American League. The NL shouldn’t have to lower itself but if you’re forced to play tee-ball teams, you have to play as a tee-ball team.