Like watching Jim and Pam’s budding romance on the first few seasons of The Office, MLB’s ongoing “will they or won’t they?” thread is still humming along with the National League continuing to weigh the merits of adopting a universal DH. This year’s coronavirus-shortened 60-game slate provided a trial run of sorts, though without approval from the players’ union, the NL will seemingly revert to pitchers hitting again in 2021.
While baseball purists may prefer the more cerebral, small-ball-driven National League approach with increased reliance on pinch-hitters and sacrifice bunts, the lack of continuity between the two leagues is problematic. With very few exceptions (Madison Bumgarner and Zack Greinke among them), pitchers tend to be dismal hitters and almost an automatic out. With television viewership on the decline and interest dwindling among younger audiences, the outdated practice of pitchers batting (and often poorly) probably isn’t helping the game any. With the National League’s continued uncertainty affecting how players are approaching free agency—Nelson Cruz and countless others are waiting for clarity on the NL’s DH front—a decision on the matter could, or at least should, be coming to a head.
Where does Mets president Sandy Alderson, back in Queens after a two-year stint in the A’s front office, stand on the prospect of a permanent DH? Turns out, he’s all for it.
It’s easy to see why Alderson would fall on this side of the debate. Having an extra bat in the lineup proved hugely beneficial for the Mets in 2020 with breakout star Dominic Smith, a platoon/role player in years past, flourishing in his first season as a big-league regular. Pete Alonso also took advantage of the change with the DH granting him a much-needed reprieve from the pressures of first base.
Others may not be as gung-ho as Alderson, but momentum does seem to be building toward a universal DH. Whether the league rolls out that change as soon as next season or opts for more time to deliberate on making the National League DH a permanent fixture remains to be seen.