Clayton Kershaw expressed appreciation that Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred walked back the idea of bringing the designated hitter to the National League.
“It’s just a better game,” Kershaw told Inside the Dodgers about National League baseball. “It really is. Baseball’s a two-sided game. You’ve got to play offense, you’ve got to play defense.”
Manfred initially claimed heated-up discussions of the designated hitter in the National League among owners. He changed his tune last week. “I think we’re status quo on the DH,” Manfred told ESPN, “because it is the single most important feature that defines the differences between the two leagues.”
The American League instituted the designated hitter in 1973. Since that time, the abolition of the league presidencies, interleague play, and assigning umpire crews irrespective of league all blurred the lines between the AL and NL.
“I know there’s a lot of great hitters that DH,” Kershaw conceded. “I’m not trying to take anything away from them, but they all started somewhere. They all played first base, all played a position. They all still could do it if they had to. That’s the truer fun of baseball.”
Kershaw delivered his remarks at an event at Los Angeles city hall. The three-time Cy Young Award-winner boasts a single career home run and owns a batting average well below the Mendoza line at .153. But he says he loves swinging a bat.
“Selfishly, I love taking batting practice,” he explained. “Hitting in the game is fun, too. I would miss that part of it for sure.”