Seeing National League Rules With Interleague Play

When Interleague play began several years ago, I’ll admit I didn’t quite understand why the National League didn’t use a Designated Hitter. As a younger fan watching, I didn’t understand why National League teams had to have pitchers with a batting average lower then .150 hit in the lineup. I didn’t understand why the National League didn’t institute a DH and thought having the pitcher bat was a waste.

As I got a little bit older, I decided to take a different attitude when watching the Cleveland Indians play games with National League rules. Instead of looking at the glass half empty (or having the pitchers bat really stinks), I decided to learn more about the strategy behind having no Designated Hitter in the lineup. I took the approach to learning how the game was played when your pitcher had to bat instead of complaining that the DH had to sit on the pine pony in Interleague games.

When watching the Indians adjust whenever they had to play Interleague games, I couldn’t help but become fascinated with how much strategy is involved with having the pitcher bat. Bunting over a runner is key in the National League and doing hit and runs, double switches and pinch hitting really can be fascinating strategy in National League games. Watching the Indians having to play under National League rules and seeing them adapt really made the games more fun to watch.

Over the years, it has been fun watching some of the Indians’ pitchers bat in Interleague games. CC Sabathia (okay, I know the appropriate nickname here might be “Sellout” Sabathia but work with me here for this example) took hitting seriously in Interleague games and it was fun watching him go up to bat. Jake Westbrook enjoyed being able to step up to the plate and it is hard to forget Dave Burba hitting a home run against the Reds during an Interleague series on the road. Watching the Indians pitcher hit has been fun at times and makes the Interleague games more exciting.

As the Indians continue to play Interleague series on the road, not having a DH is tough but it gets the fans to view the game of baseball from another perspective.

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~ by jeffrsabo on June 25, 2011.

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