The 37-year-old David Ortiz put up video game-like numbers for the Boston Red Sox in the World Series this year, batting .688/.760/1.948 with two home runs, two doubles and six RBI to go along with eight walks and only one strikeout while scoring seven runs.
In other words, it was a no-brainer that he would be named the World Series MVP.
Oritz is often in a league by himself, head and shoulders above every other designated hitter in baseball. But his mind-boggling performance – and the need for the Red Sox to keep him in the lineup at all costs – on the biggest stage once again raises the debate of the DH’s existence, or non-existence, in the National League.
Commissioner Bud Selig, when asked about it during the World Series, said to “never say never” when it came to making the DH available in both leagues, though there is no real movement to make changes anytime soon.
Selig of course said he would be “glad to listen” if somebody had something to say about making the rule change. But he also mentioned that Philadelphia Phillies chairman Bill Giles once told him that he thought the controversy between the leagues was good for the game.
In that regard, it’s not a bad reason to keep things the way they are. It’s one of those quirky, endearing aspects of the sport that baseball really likes to cling to (and should).
But on the other hand, you saw David Ortiz in the World Series, right? Why anyone would rather see a pitcher bat opposed to a monstrous power hitter is baffling, the only logical explanation being a nostalgic, perhaps misguided, love for the way things have always been.
Nostalgia and tradition can take a seat here. Pitchers at the plate are embarrassing, and fans end up cheering when a pitcher actually does get a hit like they’re the parents of a Little League player who finally, after an eternity of strikeouts and accidentally running to third base instead of first, just made contact.
Wouldn’t you rather have the alternative?