ST. LOUIS — This time of year, the World Series shifts to a National League park and the chief rule difference between the AL and NL is amplified. The designated hitter.
That's especially true in a series like this year's, between the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox, where Boston is forced to leave Mike Napoli on the bench. It's why, during the last few days, most press conferences here in St. Louis have included a question about the DH, its validity and whether one day, a World Series should be played with a single rule about pitchers hitting.
Most people asked are wise enough to say it's a question above their spot in the MLB hierarcy. Red Sox manager John Farrell said he wished there weren't a DH this series, but that's strictly selfish — what manager wouldn't want to have his top two power hitters in the lineup?
There's one guy here who is in the right place in the MLB org chart to field questions about the DH. That is commissioner Bud Selig. Saturday night, after the Roberto Clemente Award ceremony, Selig had a huddle of reporters around him hurling questions. That's when Selig said he'd "listen" if someone wanted to change the DH rule.
On his way out of the commissioner's office next year, could Selig be pondering an 11th hour, history-of-baseball-shifting move? Probably not. But he's at least paying lip service to keep his ears open:
"I did say three or four years ago I had very strong feelings on instant replay," Selig said, "and like everything else in life you make adjustments, and I now have somewhat different feelings," Selig said. "So I'm never going to say never to anything. Okay? But at the moment, is there anything going on? No. But if somebody has something to say (on changing the DH rules), I'm glad to listen."
Listening is a lot different than acting. Listening is even a lot different than considering a change. But, feel happy, DH lovers and/or haters, Bud Selig is happy to hear you out. We think you should write him a letter.
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