Every once in a while I'll post something like this just to change things up a little. Usually these kind of things stem from conversations I have with my friends and my brother. We like to debate this type of stuff.
In years past I would have made this argument regarding the NL style of play.
As a baseball purist I like the idea of the pitcher batting and all the strategy that goes along with it. The NL game has more of a chess match mentality because the manager has to be more aware of game situations by thinking several innings ahead. It forces difficult decisions that can effect the outcome of the game. Do you let "ace" pitcher bat in the top of the seventh down 2 to 1 with two outs and a couple of runners on? Nerdy baseball me likes this kind of stuff.
While I still love this part of the game I've begun to change my thought on it. While this is not really about Adam Wainwright tearing his Achilles tendon (I had this post started a couple weeks back) it seems like a perfect time to give my two cents.
Scoring in baseball is hard these days. Pitching staffs are full of guys throwing in the upper 90's, and left handed specialist to neutralize left handed power. Defensively teams are shifting more and more every year. I get to see this first hand as the Pirates shift more than just about any team in baseball. Now with pace of play being an issue batters have to stay in the batters box. While hard to quantify most believe this gives the pitcher even more of an advantage as the batter doesn't have time to really think about pitch sequencing, past experience and game situations. The deck is stacked against the hitter.
Having inter league play all year screws up stuff big time for the NL too. The rosters in the National League are constructed differently. More times than not the NL team has to roster players based on position flexibility. As most NL fans know this is usually not the best hitter. Sometimes you can get lucky and have a guy that has minor league options to send down in order to bring up a more seasoned hitter, but most of the time this is not the case. Their is a reason the AL dominates the NL every year in inter league play. It is just easier for an Al team to adapt to NL game than the other way around.
Also, just watching the pitcher bat is painful. Off the top of my head I can only think of a few that are actual threats with the bat. Guys like Bumgarner, Leake and Kershaw can hold their own, but other than that it is painful to watch. Even getting down a bunt has become a chore.
With all that being said I think it is time to go to universal rules. I would much rather see guys like Jose Abreu and David Ortiz bat than this...
I will always enjoy the NL game more, but if baseball keeps making new rules that benefit the pitchers something needs to be done to counteract it.
Anybody have any good ideas? I would like to be swayed back towards the NL style....