Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

National League: Better Baseball

This is not brain surgery. Baseball
was invented so that everybody
had a chance to hit the ball and
field the ball and for
that reason alone the National
League still the better league.

By Amaury Pi-González
San FranciscoAnybody that things that I am
saying this because I broadcast
Giants games is completely
incorrect. As a matter of
fact I work much more
(81 home games)doing
the Seattle Mariners baseball
Spanish network and only
a handful of weekend games
for the Giants.

When the game of baseball
was invented it was done with
the intention that everybody
and I mean e-v-e-r-y-b-o-d-y
got to throw,field, bat and run.

The true mark of a good baseball
player is that -of one- that can
do it all. Babe Ruth might have
been the very best and he did
it all, he even pitched ! plus
hit all those Home Runs, well
he wasn’t fast, but in baseball
if you can hit it over the wall
you do not have to steal
500 bases.

There are certain guys that
have a God given ability to
do just everything, like
Barry Bonds(except for not
having a great throwing arm)
he is the exception to the rule.
Vladimiar Guerrero is another
one of those athletes that
plays baseball and can do just
about naything on the field.
Alex Rodriguez is a great
baseball player and in
Miami there is a 21 year
old rightfielder by the name
of Miguel Cabrera that will
be one of the very best
ever doing everything.
The young Venezuelan has
a huge World Series ring
and an ever bigger future.

The Designated Hitter and the
pitchers not coming to the
plate are two things that I
really never liked since the
very start. It is just plain
silly to see how a guy
like Erubiel Durazo of the
Athletics than can go on a
.360 tear when at first base
looks like he never seen a glove !
It is ridicolous to see a pitcher
of the caliber of Barry Zito
that cannot put the bat on
the ball. Some American
League pitchers are afraid
to go to the plate. Yes, afraid
to hit !

Last week in Seattle the
biggest NEWS from SAFECO
Field was that the Mariners
pitchers were taking batting
practice (yes folks, when
you are in last place that
is huge news)and that
they(pitchers) were taking bets
to see which “team”wins.
The starters had a team and
the relievers had another
team. For the record
Eddie Guardado,Mike Myers
and the relievers won
38-23. The best “Homerun”
hitter during that practice
and competition was Freddy

Granted that prior to the
DH rule most pitchers were never
good hitters with some exceptions
like Fernando Valenzuela,
Ken Brett and Terry Forster.
These were even used as
pinch hitters sometimes.

The irony is that the DH rule
was originally meant to
increase offense but in
today’s game in both
leagues there is enough
offense, the game has
become instead of
“take 2 and hit to right”
“swing first and hit it

Pete Rose once said
and I am paraphrasing
something like:
“single hitters get to
buy Volkswagens while
Homerun hitters buy
Cadillacs”. That is out
of the window today also
since the average salary
is way over $2 million
per season per player
and with that you can
even afford to buy a $22,000
VW and a few new

You can call me old fashion
or old school but I still
like to see the pitcher
coming to the plate
to hit or to sacrifice.
It hurts me to see a guy
that is a DH during the
whole season going to
play a base during the
Interleague games.
I asked Edgar Martínez
Seattle’s DH, arguably
the best DH ever.
-Te gustaría jugar
tercera base otra vez?
(Would you like to play
third base again?)
He told me: “Sure, I
practice there many
times prior to games”.
For those that cannot
remember: Edgar Martínez
was a very good thirdbase
man. He was no Brooks
Robinson but he was
very good. The Mariners
would rather forfeit a game
though that put 41 year old
Edgar at thirdbase !

Young people have follow
their teams and never seen
pitchers hit and are used
to the DH because that is
all they have seen. Is like
in some countries with
dictatorships they just
-do not know better-
if they just feed you
one thing, that is
all you learn to like.

I like to see the pitcher
hitting sometimes also
in the American League
parks during interleague.
Image, a young kid was
born after the DH and
he lives in Kansas City
and when a National League
teams visit, he still doesn’t
get to see baseball they
way it was meant to be,
pitcher coming to the plate.
In Interleague the pitchers
bat only when they are
playing in the field of the
National League team.

A good question would be
if Barry Bonds leaves the
Giants and goes to the
American League
to become a DH. Would
you respect him as much
if he hits his 756 HR as
a DH ? Actually, I would
because he (Bonds)didn’t
have a vote when they
changed the rules and all
he can do is play and go
where they really want him.
Having said that I doubt it
very much that Peter Magowan,
owner of the SF Giants
would let Barry finish his
career anyplace else
but SBC Park, a park
that was basically built
for Mr. Barry Bonds.
Mr. Magowan idolizes

Overall I like the baseball
played in the National
League much more than
the American League.
Baseball is one of the
few things in America
that still traditional and
change has come slowly
but I suspect I am not
alone in this topic. I
have seen both leagues
for years and still there
is something to be said
about the strategy in
the NL compared to
the AL. Managers
have more challenges
in the National League
and more options than
in the American League
and that makes it a much
more interesting game.

For years Tony LaRussa
talked wonders about the
American League but
I remember on my
first trip to St Louis
with the Giants he told
me that the National
League was a batter brand
of baseball and that he
had to manage more
than in the American League.
This is a manager that will
someday be in the Hall of
Fame as a manager.

I am looking forward working
the 3 game set this
weekend at SBC between
Boston and the Giants.
Last time these two
teams played each other
during regular competition
was in the 1912 World Series
were Boston team beat
the New York Giants.
1912 that was the year
when the Titanic went
down and also when
Wrigley Field was
a brand new park !


1 Anonymous { 06.17.04 at 11:19 am }

I liked the comments. The DH was an experiment and
has changed the AL style of play. The only decision the manager has to make is when to take the pitcher outof the game. In the old days, a guy would be yanked losing 2-1 or 3-2 for a pinchhitter and guys like manny mota or smoky buurgess made a living as a pinch hitter. The players association is opposed but I will argue that not a single job will be lost as each team will still have 25 players.The over the hill guys will just have to retire.Simple as that.

Jerry F

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