The day after losing Chien-Ming Wang to a torn ankle tendon, leave it to genetic lottery winner Hank Steinbrenner to insist there’s something improper about the National League’s refusal to employ the designated hitter. From the AP :
“My only message is simple. The National League needs to join the 21st century,” Steinbrenner said in Tampa, Fla. “They need to grow up and join the 21st century.
“Am I (mad) about it? Yes,” Steinbrenner added. “I’ve got my pitchers running the bases, and one of them gets hurt. He’s going to be out. I don’t like that, and it’s about time they address it. That was a rule from the 1800s.”
Making a rare appearance on the bases at an NL park, Wang pulled up rounding third and hobbled home on Derek Jeter’s single. Wang doubled over after scoring, pointed toward his right foot and was helped off the field.
“This is always a concern of American League teams when their pitchers have to run the bases and they’re not used to doing it,” Steinbrenner said. “It’s not just us. It’s everybody. It probably should be a concern for National League owners, general managers and managers when their pitchers run the bases. Pitchers have enough to do without having to do that.”
You go, Hank! When one of your power hitters injuries himself making a play in the field, hopefully you’ll be the first person with the courage to suggest rosters be expanded to 50. If one DH can protect an important pitching investment, how about 8 designated fielders? Some will find this idea laughable, but might I remind you it wasn’t so long ago they sneered at the idea of home field advantage in the World Series going to the winner of the Midsummer Classic?