Monday is the one-year anniversary of Rob Manfred taking over as commissioner of Major League Baseball and has had quite a busy first year in that position.
Manfred has had a lot on his plate in his first year ranging from Pete Rose, to the MLB’s youth baseball initiative “Play Ball”, domestic violence issues, local blackouts and much more. In the midst of this, there has been one major point that has been debated back and forth and everyone seems to have an opinion on it.
The designated hitter is implemented in the American League and has been since 1973. In the National League, however, the designated hitter does not exist and there have been a lot of rumors swirling around about it lately.
St. Louis Cardinals GM John Mozeliak created a bit of a stir when he said that there has been “more momentum” in discussions with other GMs and managers in the National League about implementing the DH in the NL.
Commissioner Manfred recently talked with Jerry Crasnick of ESPN and for the most part, put those rumors to sleep.
“The most likely result on the designated hitter for the foreseeable future is the status quo,” Manfred told ESPN.com in an interview. “I think the vast majority of clubs in the National League want to stay where they are.”
With the collective bargaining agreement coming to an end on Dec. 1, 2016, there has been a lot of speculation. With a new agreement coming after this season, a DH could be a part of it.
“Twenty years ago, when you talked to National League owners about the DH, you’d think you were talking some sort of heretical comment,” Manfred told ESPN. “But we have a newer group. There’s been turnover. And I think our owners in general have demonstrated a willingness to change the game in ways that we think would be good for the fans, always respecting the history and traditions of the sport.”
There will always be those National League fans, writers, and owners that are pure NL fans and don’t want the DH in their league, but with a game that is ever evolving, implementing the DH could be a small step in modernizing baseball as it is “the single most important feature that defines the differences between the two leagues,” according to Manfred.