The Van Wert County Courthouse

Tuesday, May. 24, 2022

Monday Mailbag: Major League Baseball

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent sports editor

With the announcement that Major League Baseball is returning next month, this week’s Monday Mailbag features questions about the shortened season, rules and strategy.

Q: With the National League adopting the DH, at least for this season, could you briefly summarize — statistically, strategically, and otherwise — how the two leagues have differed since the American League adopted it in 1973? Name withheld upon request

A: I can say this – the American League as a whole has had a higher batting average each and every year since adopting the designated hitter rule 47 years ago. Some years it’s been close (.255 vs. 254 in 2012) and other years it hasn’t (.269 vs. .259 in 1980). Those are just two examples, but you get the idea.

That’s not a big surprise, because Major League Baseball pitchers obviously bring down overall batting averages. I grew up an hour west of Cleveland and have always been an Indians fan, so at least as a kid and even a young adult, I didn’t see much of the National League style of play, the strategy involved, bunting, pinch hitting, stolen bases, etc.

Yes, it’s different than the American League and I’ve now come to better understand and appreciate the National League strategy. I have to admit, I’m kind of torn by the idea of a universal DH. I do believe both league should have the same rule, but it doesn’t seem right in the National League. On the other hand, I don’t necessarily want to see American League pitchers with a .091 or worse batting average standing at the plate.

I’m sure I’m not alone with those feelings. Anyone else want to chime in?

Q: What are your thoughts on a 60-game baseball season? It almost doesn’t seem worth it. Name withheld upon request

A: It’s a shame the players and the owners couldn’t agree on something earlier. An agreement reached in May or early June could have led to an early July start and perhaps a schedule closer to 81 or 82 games.

If you’re dying to see Major League Baseball, I suppose 60 games is better than none.

Personally, I haven’t missed MLB nearly as much as I thought I would and the bickering between the two sides had a big effect on those feelings. It’ll be nice to watch pro baseball, but the league has some damage control to do.

Q: Could a team we don’t expect take advantage of a shortened baseball season and win a World Series title, someone like the Reds? Name withheld upon request

A: In my mind, yes, but we’ll see what actually happens.

It’s no surprise that the Yankees and Dodgers are among the favorites, but who knows, it might be the year another team comes out of the woodwork to win it – the Reds, Cubs, the Indians, etc.

Of course, people will say there should be an asterisk included with this year’s results. Maybe so, but I have yet to see a championship banner or trophy with an asterisk on it.

Q: Am I the only one who likes MLB having a runner on second to start extra innings? It sure seems that way. Name withheld upon request

A: You’re not alone – I like it too. It’ll be interesting to see how it’s accepted overall and if perhaps it’ll become a permanent fixture in the rule book, given the fact that Major League Baseball has been trying to speed up the pace of games.

If you have a question for the next Monday Mailbag, please email it to sports@thevwindependent.com.

POSTED: 06/29/20 at 3:49 am. FILED UNDER: Sports