Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 12, 2011
BASEBALL: The Economic Case Against The DH

My debut column at Grantland.

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Posted by Baseball Crank at 5:09 PM | Baseball 2011 • | Baseball Columns | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Grantland, huh? Glad your firm did pull what Katie Baker's firm pulled.

Column is interesting, but I wonder how much of the disparity in salaries between the leagues is due not to the DH but simply to the fact that the Yankees are in AL. Is there a similar disparity in salaries if you use the median, rather than the average?

Posted by: A.S. at July 12, 2011 6:02 PM

The Yankees AND the Red Sox. Multiply that times the fact that you have a smaller denominator (14 teams vs. 16 in the NL) and average salary looks even bigger.

I really disagree with you that this is a solid case against the DH. It's obvious that the DH is expanding, not contracting; it is used in all college leagues; it is used in spring training now, even by NL teams in their home parks; and the unalignment proposal (15 teams in each league) would further cement the use of the DH, as one game on every full slate would end up, by necessity, being an interleague game, thus requiring a DH in an AL park. Such a vast expansion of games requiring a DH, or where a roster built around a DH would be a stark advantage, would only serve to further pressure the NL to adopt the rule. Also, MLBPA would want to see this as well -- more places where players like late-career Frank Thomas and Big Papi can play.

Posted by: Rob McMillin at July 12, 2011 8:41 PM

I think the argument against the DH is long in the tooth. From a game's purity perspective I guess the concept of everyone takes a turn with the stick, the decision making on when to swap out pitchers and players for relief pitching, offense and defense as well as the flow of the game is interesting for folks (myself included) who have been following baseball for decades. However, watching pitchers with OPS of .225 come to the plate for the express purpose of bunting or being an automatic out isn't that interesting at all and less so for the more casual observer or newer comer to baseball. Baseball needs to do more things to interest the eyes of the 21st century viewer and they need to figure out how to modernize (instant replay), make the games quicker (as much as the Yanks and Sox games are great theatre the consistent 4+ hour games they play are brutal) and they need more hitters (especially these days) who can actually hit. There's no going back on the DH. No chance so get used to the idea that it may be coming, for the better, to you NL town.

Posted by: jim at July 12, 2011 9:20 PM

I, too, think the presence of the Yanks and Red Sox on the AL side of the ledger is responsible for skewing the numbers.

That said, congrats Crank on getting a post on Grantland. I'm sure we'll see more in the future.

Posted by: Mike at July 13, 2011 7:04 AM

As Bill Simmons often writes, "the lesson, as always, I'm an idiot." It took me about 15 seconds of trying to figure how DH referred to the "debt limit," before I realized this would be a baseball argument.

I agree that the NYY and RS probably skew the numbers a bit, but even taking it into account subjectively, you make good points. Still, who wants to see pitchers have plate appearances?

Posted by: Magrooder at July 13, 2011 11:44 AM

Just ran the numbers - if you eliminate the Yankees, the average AL payroll was $84M from 2006 to 2010, while the NL was $80M. If you eliminate the Marlins from the NL side (cheapest team in baseball), the average NL payroll was $83M. I see no evidence of the DH causing any payroll discrepancy.

Posted by: Nick at July 14, 2011 12:40 PM
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