Postgame Spread
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Monday, October 20, 2008

WS, the DH, and David Price    

So, the Phillies date is set with the Rays, starting Wednesday night.
I can unequivocally say that I have never felt anywhere near this excited about a series that doesn't involve los junkees. The Phillies are awesome, Philadelphia is awesome, and made even more so when the Phillies are awesome. Yes, get used to that level discourse, as I am utterly incapable of rational analysis of the Phillies right now. I have tickets to game 3, in Philly Saturday, and will be witnessing postseason baseball in person for the first time. Ever. Suffice to say that I have never seen anything in Philadelphia like last Wednesday night, when they closed out the NLCS. Check it (first video - and note the brief celebrity couple sighting). Philadelphia fans can be positive. Who knew?

So... on to the analysis...

Lots of hemming and hawing around Philadelphia this week, about what to do in the World Series games in Tampa, where they will have to appoint a DH. Against left handed pitchers, the choice is pretty clear - Greg Dobbs, or Jenkins (with Dobbs playing 3B). Against righties, it's really unclear - possibly the 30 year 0ld rookie, Chris Coste (which should also involve adding a 3rd catcher just in case).

Anyway, Philly writers are all aflutter with the possibilities, and of course some are using this moment to break out the anti-DH soapbox. While I find these arguments tired and pretentious (nautral beauty of the game? fuck you), I find myself agreeing with their position more and more over the years, even if I hate the way they build their case.

More importantly, this remarkably useless column led me to a totally fascinating story about how the DH was voted down in the NL, which I had never heard:

"At least real baseball is still alive in the National League, and for that, we can thank former Phillies owner Ruly Carpenter, who was fishing on the Atlantic Ocean one day in 1977 when the DH came up for a vote among the NL teams. (The American League had begun playing with a designated hitter in 1973.)

Carpenter instructed then-executive vice president Bill Giles, who would be representing the Phillies at the meeting, to vote in favor of adding the designated hitter in the National League. The Phillies had two very good hitters in the organization, Greg Luzinkski and minor-leaguer Keith Moreland, neither one of whom could catch a cold.

"But when I got to the meeting, I was informed that even if it passed, the DH would not become effective until the [following] season because the players' union had to approve it," Giles said, in the book Change Up: An Oral History of 8 Key Events That Shaped Baseball.

"The National League needed seven votes [out of 12] to pass the DH. There were six teams in favor and four against when the vote came around to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh," Giles said. "Harding Peterson, general manager of Pittsburgh, was told by owner John Galbraith to vote the same way as the Phillies because the teams were big rivals at the time. I tried to reach Ruly by phone but was told that he was out on the ocean fishing."
Not sure if the year's delay would affect Carpenter's opinion, Giles abstained, which counted as a no vote, and so did the Pirates. The addition of the DH was defeated by a single vote. It was never brought up for vote again."

I'm so proud to live in Pennsylvania.

Also: David Price was absolutely tits last night. If he's going to sling around fastballs and his own testicles with that kind of dominance, holy shit, the AL East is in serious fucking trouble. I'm a little afraid of how much affection I have for Price. He looks like a cuddler, that Price. I like that, I like to be held, I like to be pampered. Wait, what?

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