March 19, 2013
Baseball's Great Unresolved Debates
The American and National Leagues are two distinct leagues in name only. They act more like conferences than leagues, with no league presidents, relatively newfound player mobility, and now constant interleague play. But they continue to operate under a different set of rules, and to some that makes no sense. The DH debate must be settled, the argument goes. Standardize it in, say the progressives, and standardize it out, say the traditionalists, but standardize it soon.
It’s among the most difficult problems facing the union and management over the coming years, as it impacts rosters and player salaries. While the role of full-time designated hitter may someday wash away completely, the average primary designated hitter in 2011 made $8.3 million.
Yet, as the game faces calls for the NL to give in after 14 decades of pitchers hitting or for the AL to cave on what was by many accounts a successful 40-year experiment, there are far more important debates that have still not been settled. Vital issues that challenge baseball every day and that have laughably seen no resolution.
Before even considering what should become of the DH rule, Major League Baseball must take a long and hard look at its real foundational debates or face a future that it probably does not want to envision.
1. What is the singular of Red Sox?
Is Xander Bogaerts a future “Red Sock” or is he a future “Red Sox?” Is it different if you’re saying it or typing it? Should it just be avoided at all costs in favor of saying that he’s a “future member of the Red Sox” or just a “Honkbal wizard?” And what is the possessive, “Red Sox’” or “Red Sox’s?”