World Series tonight. It is a wonderful culmination to summer. The best, or maybe just the luckiest, two baseball teams in the nation meet to settle just which league is toughest.
In the National League the pitcher has to take his turn at bat. In the American League the heavist hitter takes his place. Which makes for a better, fairer game? We have seven chances to find out. Some years it is one way, others it is the other.
The debate is moot. The leagues are set in the ways, and baseball goes on.
Football goes on, too. In spite of my warning to Professional Football, the game goes on with Defensive teams and Offensive teams. I told them that unlimited substitution would ruin the game. In my early years of watching, a player went in expecting, hoping to play the full sixty minutes. But once a substitute came in for him, he was OUT of the game. Period. He became a spectator, just like me.
A Quarterback on offense was Tailback on defense. There were no offensive tackles and guards and defensive tackles and guards. Just tackles and guards. When the ball changed hands, the players did not run off the field and a new team rush in. They just sighed and took their new positions and did the best they could. To make the team, you had to be good on offense AND defense.
When the rules were changed, I told them, "You'll ruin the sport. There'll be no 'sixty-minute-men' for us to worship. We'll have a bunch of specialists who can do only one thing. Why, we'll probably have special Place Kickers to run in and kick field goals and points after touchdown, and then run off to drink Gatorade and warm the bench until the next time he is needed for a kickoff. Don't be spoil sports. Don't change the game."
Well, they changed it anyway, and, believe it or not, the game goes on. It goes on with it's pantywaist quarterback who con only throw the ball and duck our of the way of defensive guard who is approaching. You want a few yards for a first down, you put in a full back the size of Mack truck to bulldoze his way through the defense. And as far as I can tell, the sport did not suffer.
So how about an Unlimited Substituon Rule for baseball. The situation calls for a fastball, you put in your fastball pitcher. And the defense puts in it's fastball batter. Now that's a contest. The best against the best.
Once the player gets on first, you put in a sprinter who can steal second in four seconds flat. If he gets to third you take him out and put in the home plate attack dog. A behemoth who can knock the poor catcher who has to guard the plate into the third row of the box seats.
If that comes to pass you will know it all started with the "designated hitter" who goes in just to bat for the pitcher. The pitchers who can hit, like Babe Ruth, are out of job, relegated to playing in the outfield.
Watch the start of the World Series tonight. You'll see what I mean.