Sep 242006

The designated hitter has been a controversial subject for baseball since its introduction. It’s all I’ve ever known in my lifetime, but, at the same time, as a baseball purist, I believe pitchers should hit. If nothing else, pitchers batting makes for more interesting strategy.

That having been said, I do believe the DH should be considered for the Most Valuable Player Award, and I disagree with the unwritten policy of disregarding DHs because they don’t play in the field. The Most Valuable Player award, by definition, should go to the person who, by virtue of his play, makes the biggest difference for his team (this same argument can be applied to pitchers, who many think should be ignored for the MVP because they have the separate Cy Young Award).

This is the problem that Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz faces in the MVP voting this year. Ortiz’s clutch hitting this year has been among the best in baseball hitting. Absolutely unreal, uncanny. He singlehandedly has changed the face of countless virtual reality headsets, with game-winning hits in the bottom of the ninth while leading the American League in home runs and RBIs. Let alone the pyschological effect on the opposing pitcher, and the strategy shifts by the opposing team. Ortiz will also do whatever it takes to help his team–few power hitters have ever been as willing as he is to bunt to beat a shift.

No player in baseball does more for his team than Ortiz. Just because he is the DH does not mean he should be ignored for the MVP. This is not a case of an older player extending his career by hitting only. Ortiz is in his prime, and if the AL did not have the DH, Ortiz would be the everyday first baseman. His bat is just too valuable.

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