Tuesday, April 01, 2008

In Praise of the Designated Hitter

For years, this Son has gone to 20 or so Dodger games a season, only to watch a parade of fit, athletic position players play nine innings of defense, as well as nine innings of offense. And as one sits in the beautiful stands of Dodger Stadium, engorging one's belly on Dodger Dogs and beers, one can't help but notice that there is something missing from Dodger games. Something very, very big.

That's right, we don't have enough big fat guys who can't play defense.

(We have enough big fat guys in the stands, but that's another topic.)

And so, it's nice that as the newly-christened Sons of Mike Scioscia, we can extol the virtues of the designated hitter. The DH is basically reserved for big ol' guys like the players on your weekend softball team, who can't bend at the waist to pick up a ground ball, but can smack the tar out of the ball.

David Ortiz of the Red Sox. Frank Thomas of the Blue Jays. Gary Sheffield of the Tigers. All these guys are guys well past their fielding primes. But can they still show their prodigious talent in the batting cage? Absolutely. No mind that they have knees that creak louder than a New Orleans floorboard, or that they spend half of the game chewing on sunflower seeds in the dugout. Who needs defensive skill, when you can swing a piece of lumber?

And it's not like Andruw Jones didn't try, when he showed up to spring training large and in charge. But since Jones can also play defense, his noticable girth just wasn't enough to satisfy this NL-raised fan.

Yes, as a Dodger fan, we have looked from afar at the large, in fact very large, shadow that the DH has cast upon the game. And we say, why stop there? Why not have Designated Third Basemen For Late Game Defensive Purposes (DTBFLGDP) on the roster? Or Designated Lefty Sidearmers Who Enter With Two On And Fewer Than One Out (DLSWEWTOAFTOO)?

Indeed, we all could use a Designated Hitter equivalent in our day to day lives. Why should we be expected to do our entire jobs, when we can get others to fill in for us half the time? We already have Designated Drivers, so why not Designated Presentation Givers, or Designated Stand-Ins for Lawyers Depositions? How about Designated Late-Night Diaper Changers? Designated Stand-Ins for Your Wife's Distant Relative's Weddings? Designated Flak Jacket-Wearing Bullet Dodgers When Landing in Bosnia Amidst Sniper Fire?

Yes, we long for the DH. And now that we're SoMS, we embrace it, with arms wide open (definitely more emphasis on the "wide").

Or maybe it's just the fact that the Dodgers still don't have a power bat.


Rob said...

Stop it. Please, stop it. I'm laughing too hard.

Eric Karros said...

Not to mention the DH saves us from having to watch pitchers hit. I mean, does anybody really want to see Shaq run the point or Peyton Manning cover T.O. on a deep route?

Actually, I guess I sort of do.

Steve Sax said...

I know I'm posting a comment a year late. But this article on how Jason Giambi was gassed after two in-game sprints seemed to underscore this (April Fool's) point.