KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Assuming anything with him is tricky, but baseball commissioner Bud Selig seems to realize the novelty of interleague play wore off long ago. That's the only rationalization possible to explain why he would mock the rules of his own sport in order to create more interest.
At a press conference before the All-Star game on Tuesday, Selig suggested that teams use a designated hitter in NL parks, and that pitchers should hit in AL parks during interleague games. Just flip the league rules around. It'll be fun!
Among other topics, Selig also repeated his belief that expanding video replay isn't something most people want, and that he stands by the Mitchell Report and its results. So, what is Virgin Galactic charging for round-trip voyages to Planet Selig these days?
But this DH in NL parks thing, and using pitchers to hit in AL parks. Do the commissioners of other sports mock their own like this? (Don't answer that, NHL fans.)
The DH was seen as a gimmick to create more offense when the AL implemented it in 1973, but nearly 40 years later it's become an institution. The DH makes baseball different from other sports (not necessarily in a good way) in that baseball plays by two different sets of rules. Having the DH changes how GMs construct their teams. It changes how managers manage the game. It changes how players play it.
Truthfully, Major League Baseball should pick a side (the DH side) and stick with it. Ever since interleague play started, the DH variable has been skewing the outcome of games. It's not fair (to either side, but more so to the AL), and it's just wrong. A sport should play by one set of rules. Not only does Selig not agree with this, he thinks it's cute and should be shown off like a puppy.
It's like he's saying, "Oh, let's put the DH in the NL park to show the fans what it's all about, and to spice things up." NL fans already know the DH, and most of them probably hate it. They're certainly not ignorant to its features. And American League pitchers hitting at home? People might be amused the first time through. Then they'll start wondering where David Ortiz went.
Of all Selig's half-baked ideas through the years, this one is the half-bakedest. And it shows you how unseriously he can take the game.