Pitchers batting are, and always have been, bad baseball. Sure there have been aberrations like Mike Hampton, Dontrelle Willis, Don Larsen and of course, Babe Ruth, but they are incredibly rare. Hampton was a stud among pitchers at the plate in the 2000s. Announcers mentioned his prowess every time he picked up the stick. Legendary power in that bulldog. That is if legendary means a total of 16 career home runs. What you’re really likely to see from the pitcher’s spot is more akin to Charlie Morton. Through 2019, he sported a lofty .075 career batting average and had collected a whopping 20 hits over his 12 years in the bigs. Hell, four of them even got him two bases. Of course, none of those came after 2011. Oh yeah, Charlie is getting paid $30 million this year by one of the poorest clubs in baseball. Why on bloody Earth would you want to make that man embarrass himself?
Connie Mack, who advocated for a DH in the first decade of the 1900s, ultimately got shot down for so long, because owners didn't want to pay an extra guy. There it is. Simplicity. Follow the money. People can prattle on all day long, pontificating their dweeby little heads off, but it’s all about the money.
When baseball first started, there were nine players on a roster. Period. No substitutions. Owners like money, and extra players get paid. Only when they learned that home runs put butts in seats did some owners come around to the DH. And much like they were wrong about baseball on radio and TV when those were invented, they were wrong to oppose the DH for financial reasons. Pitchers giving a half assed swing at a slider does not impress Joe Hot Dog into buying tickets. You know what does? Big Papi spitting in his gloves and knocking a Yankee pitch deep into the bleachers, that’s what! Same goes for Frank Thomas, Edgar Martinez, Paul Molitor, Eddie Murray, Jim Thome, Dave Winfield and on and on.
But oooohhh, you're a purist? Pure shit, maybe, if you think it's important to see 3rd inning rallies die with men on base and not a prayer of a hit from the schmo in the number 9 spot. Pitchers batting do NOT add strategy. A sloth on Xanax can pull a double switch if they only have to wait for a pitcher's spot. The real strategy comes when you have to remove a better hitter for a better fielder or you have decide if a pitcher might be nearing trouble or may have just had one off batter. Those decisions require thinking. The lineup card can’t make that call for you. To mix a metaphor, it’s chess versus picking lint out of your crack.
I love a great pitching performance. Love it. But I hate to break it to all those pitchers out there - you are a sucky hitter. It’s not your fault. You’re the lanzador. You’re the tall pretty boy who has groupies dripping from him the same way third basemen drip sweat. Put the bat down, Lefty. You’re a lover not a fighter.
To sum up: Pitchers batting is bad baseball. Every single baseball league on Earth from high school upwards uses a DH except the National League. Until guys go from tee ball to the Show, pitchers should stick to what they know how to do. If there is one measly good thing that comes from this pandemic, it’s that we might finally get the DH in the NL when baseball resumes. Sorry Charlie Morton.
It’s his on-field prowess that truly deserves recognition, though. He is truly convinced that he knows more about the game of football than all the experts who other teams hire with regularity. But hey, just because they’ve won a playoff game or two in the last quarter century, what do they know? Surely, the rest of the NFL is laughing with you, Cowboys fans. Jerry truly is the mouse boffing the elephant and screaming, “Hurts, don’t it, bitch!”
Let’s take look at the glorious history of the franchise that annually rivals the Browns for late night comedy material. I’m a personal fan of this one: Guy from Britain goes to a Dallas game. He can’t believe his own eyes. The fat dude next to him has this spider monkey in a bag. Every time the Cowboys score a touchdown, the monkey dances up and down the aisle, then he does hand stands and backflips all the way around the ledge of the upper deck, finally he plays a trombone and twirls a baton. The out-of-towner leans over to the monkey’s owner, and says, “That’s bloody amazing! What does he when the Cowboys win a big game?” The fat guy says, “No idea. I’ve only had him 28 years.”
But back to that felonious behavior I mentioned. For three decades, they were known as South America’s team and had a longer rap sheet than almost anyone in Medellin. And it’s not like these low-lifes were just quietly testing positive on some pee test. They have long shown true world class sleaze supremacy.
Nate Newton got caught chauffering a few hundred pounds of weed around in a van. Not once, but twice in the same month. No wonder he weighed over 300 pounds. Those have to be serious munchies. From Leon Lett to Hollywood Henderson the ‘Boys cover the drug charges. From Erik Williams to Tony Frisch they cover drunk driving accidents. From Dez Bryant to Zeke Elliott, they have more domestic violence the directors’ cut of Dolores Claiborne. From Lance Rentzel to Rafael Septien, they cover, or uncover as it were, whatever you can do to underage girls. The late 90s Cowboys were true overachievers, though. Barry Switzer as head coach. Lawdy!
Of course, we can’t forget that 1990s star of stars, the all-time Dallas Poster Cowboy who is now a TV analyst. The Marion Berry of the NFL. That one man PETA advertisement, Michael Irvin. He proved once again that football’s credibility gap makes Nixon look like Mr. Rogers. Multiple drug charges featuring crack, coke and pot, bizarre extortion and murder-for-hire talk involving the policeman husband of one of his stripper party-mates, slicing a teammate’s neck with barber scissors during a training camp fight, strip searching a stripper (without tipping) to make sure she wasn’t wired. Surely none of those are probation violations, are they? And through it all, Jerry Jones’ boys of the 90s said they were simply the victims of jealousy, being singled out because of their success. I think Nate Newton summed it up best when he lamented, “We’ve got a little place over here where we’re running some whores in and out, trying to be responsible, and they criticize us for that, too.” Right on, Natester.
I’ve heard all the arguments for health benefits. My running friends never tire of telling me how exhilarating it is when they get up at dawn to lope through the streets in the 85 degree chill of a Houston morning. You feel better because you’re fit, that line of thinking goes. But let’s take a moment to think about health and fitness, shall we? The French have study after study to prove that slugging down several snifters of vin rouge every day makes you live longer. The most popular weight loss diet in America has you eating pounds of bacon and rare t-bones. Above all, most everyone will tell you that stress is just plain bad. And nothing stresses me out more than the thought of not sleeping till ten or ten-thirty. So why not roll over and dream about a steaming rack of ribs and a bottle of St. Emilion? I feel better already.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not content with being a slob. I don’t want it to be me when the waitress yells to the cook “hold the croutons for the fat guy” either. Like anyone else in our society, I love the feeling of putting on your jeans and being able to twist them around a little, to know that you could smuggle Calista Flockhart if you had to. But the answer to that is easy, buy them a size too big. Trust me, your friends will notice. “What have you been doing, man?! Your clothes are falling off of you!”
And not to be indelicate, but there is no shortage of ugly, skinny folks. Having a lean body does not automatically translate into being a chick magnet. We’ve all leered at that sexy someone from behind, but when they turn around, we get an involuntary shudder like we just imagined eating pudding off Peter Boyle’s back. If you think skinny is always beautiful, I have two words for you- Randy Johnson.
And that, my friends, brings us to the root of all guy activity since the Mesozoic Period. Women. Everything a guy does is designed to get him women. Everything. Every stupid little thing. If he shows butt-crack and tattoos, he’s after biker babes. If he wears black socks with shorts, he’s angling for the tea lady at Luby’s. It may not even be a conscious thought, but that tiny little guy brain is always toiling away, dreaming up some scheme that will get him women. At some sad stop along the line, the male runner has deluded himself into thinking that he is the only one who has figured this out.
To be sure there are some women who are into runners. It takes all kinds. Why else would Mitch McConnell have had sex? But I’ll bet money that just as many sweat-soaked women are plodding around the track thinking, “Lord, I wish some guy in an air-conditioned car would hand me an ice cold lemonade and drive me to liposuction.” I think most women would like to snuggle up next to a guy and not inadvertently cut themselves on a shoulder blade. Finally, before you dismissively shake your head and think I just flat out miss the point, let me say how much I empathize with the esthetic value of enjoying nature from a mountain trail. I totally grasp the desire to escape the beaten path and share the grandeur of unspoiled wilderness. Even now I can imagine my loved ones and me standing in the sun-dappled Smoky Mountains, listening to the music of a racing creek, soaking in the proverbial bonding moment, awestruck by the pallet of fall color bathing ridge after ridge until the horizon gives way to the pale blue October sky. We each take a deep breath of the frosty air. Then we snap a few pictures, get back in the car and drive to the pizza joint in town. What are we, stupid?