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November 16, 2017

The Case For Standardization

Last week I stated my case regarding the standardization of MLB ballparks.

I took a beating in a poll, on two podcasts and all over social media.

My contention was that pitchers and batters stats are skewed because the outfield playing areas throughout MLB ballparks are different. Therefore, acquiring a player using stats as the main buying point, would be difficult because a GM would be unsure how to accurately rate any metric using the outfield as its home.

79% of 433 voters stamped their feet and got huffy.

How dare I mess with the history and legacy of baseball by suggesting that the MLB make ballparks uniform so as to allow fair play throughout the league?

The purists lost it. The same purists that are now screaming for ump reform and tweeting about stepping into the 21st century, but I digress.

Earlier this week, in typical Sunday evening fashion, I texted Barry and wanted his thoughts on an idea for this weeks “Fair or Foul Poll.”

It happened that we were both eyeing roughly the same thing.

Standardization. But not what you’re thinking.

Here’s the current Poll:

Where do I stand?

I’m for the DH being a standard offensive position throughout both leagues. Here’s why:

Offense is exciting. Pitching is also exciting but pitchers that cannot hit and are a wasted spot in the offensive lineup are groan worthy.

Feast your eyes on Yu Darvish: https://twitter.com/CSNWhiteSox/status/898029325374586880

RIVETING, right?

The offensive weapon that is the DH is a great chance to showcase one of the more exciting aspects of baseball.  CRUSHING a ball and/or giving the defence a chance to showcase its skills gets fans out of their seats and off their couches. Nobody is riveted when the majority of pitchers batting look like a tee-ball player whiffing… Have you seen Bartolo Colon swing?

Pitchers’ level of control regarding pitch placement and break have never been better. Watch Marcus Stroman’s slider and that’s all you need to see to contend that having as much offence in your lineup is a good thing.

The fanatical focus on Giancarlo Stanton’s season this year is an indication that offence is an area of interest for fans.

Take appealing to the fans out of it and consider injury. There have been many cases where a team’s starter has been injured because he’s not used to taking a cut at the dish. Marco Estrada’s back issues of last season were linked to batting during interleague play.

Look, I understand that Madison Bumgarner and Zack Greinke can hit like a DH, but how many of those types are out there? Would it be 1 in 7? 1 in 10?  Not a great case for having pitchers hit.

A side note: The DH affords older players with waining fielding skills, the Blue Jays Morales and even the Indians Encarnacion, to remain active in the game. It’s highly doubtful that either would be on a NL roster if there was no DH. Imagine not having Encarnacion’s bat in the game. What a shame that would be.

Circling back to last weeks evisceration of my assertions – there is always a team playing out of its comfort zone when the AL and NL operate under different rules.  In other words, stats are being skewed once again.

I’m a bigger fan of parity regarding statistical evidence then the alternative.

Much like stadiums, baseball is the only sport where its leagues are governed by slightly different guidelines. Why?  Because that’s how it’s been done since the DH was first introduced in 1973. So?

There was a time when drilling into the skull of a patient suffering from a headache was a common medical practice.

It’s time to step into the 21st century.

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