ST. LOUIS — One of the reasons I love baseball more than any other sport is its propensity for weirdness.
The phrase, "You never know what you're going to see on any given day at the ballpark" is true more often than not.
Baseball is the most human game we have. Most of the time it's about failure. but sometimes, just sometimes, things work out. And like life, along the way weird stuff happens that create some of the best memories.
One of my favorite weird baseball things is the National League continuing to make pitchers hit. Errr... scratch that. One of my favorite weird baseball things was the National League making pitchers hit.
The inevitable news that the designated hitter would arrive in the National League whenever baseball does return was confirmed by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Wednesday.
And you know what, I get it. I've seen the light. Bring on the DH.
However, I'm still going to miss the charm of pitchers, against all odds, making contact and getting a lucky hit or even a home run.
Just go re-watch the Bartolo Colon bomb for the Mets and tell me that doesn't bring a smile to your face.
I used to love watching John Lackey and Lance Lynn hit. Lackey would very obviously predetermine one pitch that he was going to swing out of his shoes at, and then stand there for the rest of the at-bat. Lynn was one of the worst-hitting pitchers I've ever seen, so when he was lucky enough to get a knock it was always entertaining. He even briefly became a left-handed hitter because he was having no luck from the right side.
But even though I'm a nostalgic romantic, I can see it's past time to do away with our outdated National League rules.
In this era of specialization, there's almost no hitting for pitchers as they come up as a young player. And then they get to the big leagues for a National League team and bam, they're expected to stand in there against Jacob DeGrom? That's not fair.
I'd love to have a league full of Shohei Ohtanis and Babe Ruths who can do it all, but that's not the reality.
And while I love the occasional "blind squirrel finds an acorn" approach when a pitcher gets a knock, the reality is that most pitcher at-bats are incredibly bad to watch. It often seems so out of place in a highly-skilled game.
Not only does it seem out of place, it presents another chance for your valuable pitchers to get hurt doing something that is pretty insignificant to why they're on the field in the first place. In St. Louis, we've seen this happen more than few times. Remember when Adam Wainwright tore his Achilles Tendon hitting and missed the whole season?
I get the contingent that thinks the strategy of the NL game is tougher than in the AL, but I'll raise my hand as one person happy to not have to watch bad double-switches lose ballgames anymore. We'll all be fine without that bit of strategy.
The DH provides more offense, more jobs for players and more chances to score runs. That's a good thing.
I used to be the most "get off my lawn" old man yelling about how the DH should never come to the National League, but there's no denying anymore that it's the right thing to do.
Just because something has been done a certain way for years and years doesn't mean it's the best way of doing things. I think Cardinals fans particularly are going to embrace the DH in no time once they realize how much it can help their team win games.
But I will say... fingers crossed we do get baseball in 2022... Oliver Marmol needs to find a way to get Adam Wainwright one final at-bat in the big leagues if this is indeed his final season. I just want to hear Busch Stadium for that moment.