OK, I hate the DH as much as anyone, but my boss just posed this question, and I couldn't give him a good answer. Read the following, regarding Matt Morris' hamstring injury, then I have a question: ---------- ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals pitcher Matt Morris was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday because of a strained left hamstring, yet another blow to the St. Louis pitching staff.
Morris, a 22-game winner last season who is 15-7 this year for the NL Central leaders, hurt himself trying to beat out a ground ball Friday night. He left the game against Philadelphia after six innings.
"It was an idiotic play by me,'' Morris said. "I was just trying to beat out a routine out. Sometimes, I can't control that intensity when I'm in a game.''
Manager Tony La Russa had to agree.
"On that play, the worst thing he could do was try to leg out an infield hit,'' La Russa said. "It was stupid. I admire him, but it was stupid.''
There was no immediate word on how long Morris would be sidelined. Morris said he hoped to heal in about eight days. ------------ If a pitcher can't be expected to hustle on a meaningless groundout, does that mean that they've de-generated into nothing more than pitching machines, and we might as well have the DH? Without debating the pros and cons of the DH itself, can you deflect this argument somehow?
CLARIFICATION - I know that he should be able to hustle out a groundball. However, given that both he and his manager think it (i.e., hustling on a ground ball) was a stupid play, why should pitchers even bat? (And I still hate the DH)
(edited by Sec19Row53 on 29.8.02 1351) [It's where I sit]
So, the logic here is that hustle is a bad thing, trying hard all the time is something that baseball frowns upon, that is "stupid" since in this case an injury occurred. No, this is not a case for the DH, it is just another sad commentary on MLB and its mindset. Overpaid and pampered players for the most part, and yet here is one who hustles, and is called stupid. Its not like the guy did something outside of his sport and got hurt.
Considering that most modern pitchers do not hit for themselves from college through the minors, that's pretty much what they are reduced to. The National Leauge is the only one that mandates pitchers hit for themselves. Pitchers, especially one of Morris' caliber, need to protect themselves from injury first. Hitting for most pitchers is a formality. There are pitchers, such as Woody Williams and Kevin Jarvis, who take their hitting very seriously, but most pitchers in the NL view it as a necessary evil.
(edited by mountinman44 on 29.8.02 1104) Rest in Peace, Chick.
If pitchers concentrated on hitting in the American League, then the DH would actually become more useful. See, the DH can bat for anyone, not just the pitcher. Therefore, pitchers able to hit would allow the team to use the DH to cover any defensive specialist.
I still hate the DH too.
See my avatar? That's what happens when I don't get my way.
Actually, the DH does have to bat for the pitcher... good old Rule 6.10. Not that I really understand your point anyway... what makes you think it would be any easier for a pitcher to up his offensive game than a position players defensive specialist? Even Rey Ordonez has to concentrate on the defensive aspects of his game a lot less than a pitcher does.
Basically, though, what it boils down to is the incredibly high levels of skill that we're talking about to play modern major league baseball. In the old days of baseball, it was common for the best pitchers to also be the best hitters. And, the same is true today in Little League. But as you move forward in time, or move up the level of competition in the current time, the average player gets better, and the gap between the best and worst gets smaller. It is just incredibly unlikely that someone would BOTH be in the top .000001% of the population (or whatever) in the skills required to be a major league pitcher, and ALSO in the top .000001% (or whatever) in the skills required to be a major league hitter. Throw in that the pitchers practice pitching more than hitting for obvious reasons, and there is no real chance that there can be more than a handful of decent-hitting pitchers.
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Originally posted by rlbehanSo, the logic here is that hustle is a bad thing, trying hard all the time is something that baseball frowns upon, that is "stupid" since in this case an injury occurred. No, this is not a case for the DH, it is just another sad commentary on MLB and its mindset. Overpaid and pampered players for the most part, and yet here is one who hustles, and is called stupid. Its not like the guy did something outside of his sport and got hurt.
No, no, no... The point is that Morris is incredibly valuable to the team - as a pitcher. It doesn't matter if he doesn't hit well, or doesn't try as hard to get on base. They don't expect him to. I think the point is that no one - players, managers, etc. - no one expects the pitcher to try their hardest at the plate. And it is foolish, because which do you prefer - a healthy Matt Morris pitching, or Matt Morris legging out a groundball and hurting himself?
And I think that was the point. If we all recognize that the pitcher's spot in the batting order is essentially wasted - and, indeed, that it's smarter baseball - then why even make the pitcher bat? It's like if an NFL was required to put an offensive player in a defensive arrangement every 9 downs, and, as a result, wound up forfeiting their chance each time. That's kind of a clumsy analogy, but there it is.
Using a key to gouge expletives on another's vehicle is a sign of trust and friendship.
But the whole concept of the pitcher batting is one of the things that makes the manager's job interesting. It's got to be part of his strategy how to deal with weaker spots in the batting order, what to have the hitters ahead of the pitcher do, when to pull a starter to get some additional offence, etc.
Do we worry about our pitchers hurting themselves out there? You betcha. Randy Johnson running the bases is one of the most frightening sights ever. (I seem to recall a story about him tripping over 3rd base in a game, & sprawling flat on his face. He was fine, but rather embarrassed. Talk about panic in the dugout. However by the next day the guys had recovered sufficiently to lay out a chalk outline of a very tall body on the field where he'd crashed.) But Randy gets out there & plays the game -- the last game I was at, he got on base twice & got 2 RBIs, in addition to his complete game shutout.
It's just part of the game that everybody plays both offence & defence.
(Sorry that's not too concicely presented, but its late.)
"And I think that was the point. If we all recognize that the pitcher's spot in the batting order is essentially wasted - and, indeed, that it's smarter baseball - then why even make the pitcher bat?"
... Why? Because that's one of the great nuances that makes N.L. Baseball great: EVERYONE has to hit -- you NEVER know who's going to be the hero -- it's not like Basketball or Football, where teams can keep going to the "money player" over and over again in the tough situations.
Knowing that the pitcher must bat affects how a manager composes his lineup. It affects the opposing manager's defensive alignment -- more specifically, how his team is going to defend against the sac bunt. Some pitchers are handier with the bat than others ... some can fake a bunt, then chop at a pitch and get the ball past a drawn-in infield -- some pitchers are so good that the manager can run-and-hit with them (Tom Glavine, Livan Hernandez, Greg Maddux, Mike Hampton), adding to an already attractive strategic tableau.
It's just an added skill that can come in handy ... like a pitcher who's a good fielder, or a left fielder with a good arm, or a shortstop who can hit for power, or a catcher that can run the bases well.
As for Morris hurting himself, it's just bad luck. Morris and LaRussa are only saying that it was "idiotic" or "stupid" because they're mad; they're frustrated because he got hurt -- it's only natural.
Of COURSE Morris should hustle -- what if the guy boots the ball and throws late to first? Then it's a great idea to run hard. If you want to get really technical about it, maybe he could have stretched his hams in the on-deck circle -- but, again, it's just bad luck. What if Morris is pitching and has to hustle off the mound to field a bunt (laid down by the opposing team's PITCHER, no less), and he hurts his hammy THAT way? Then what do you say? That it's "stupid" for him to try to make what could be a critical defensive play? Of course not.
I always liked the pitcher hitting because it adds that extra dimension. It's the 7th inning, you're down by one run. Your pitcher has been dominating BUT you need that run, the bases are loaded and there's two outs. No one is warming up in the 'pen yet, but you need that run. WHAT DO YOU DO?
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