Designated Hitter

(P1) If you love to watch Major League Baseball (MLB) pitchers bat, enjoy it while you can, because 2016 may be the final season it happens.

(P2) At an MLB owners’ meeting on Thursday in Coral Gables, Fla., COMMISSIONER Rob Manfred said the idea of the DESIGNATED HITTER coming to the National League is “gaining MOMENTUM.” Deciding whether to IMPLEMENT a single DH rule for the American and National Leagues could happen this year and then get ROLLED OUT for the 2017 season.

(P3) The designated hitter takes the place of the PITCHER in the BATTING ORDER. The American League has used the DH since 1973. The National League has never ADOPTED it. In inter-league play including All-Star Games and the World Series, games ALTERNATE between DH games and non-DH games.

(P4) MLB is set to work on a new CONTRACT with the players’ UNION this year. The current contract expires on Dec. 31, 2016 and it sounds as if the DH could be a big part of the new agreement.

(P5) This change would SHAKE UP baseball. The entire STRATEGY of National League baseball is built upon pitchers batting. It affects how teams construct their LINEUPS and use their pitching staffs. Bringing the DH to the NL would not only make a historic style of baseball EXTINCT, but would upset long-time fans who SWEAR BY NL rules.

(P6) Manfred told reporters that he’s aware of the how important the DH is to the identities of each league, which demonstrates this issue will be carefully considered.

(P7) Manfred said, “The biggest identity difference between the American and National Leagues is between DH and no DH,” Manfred said. “I think that’s a significant issue, I really do. I’m not saying that change is not possible. But it is a major issue we will consider.”

(P8) The designated hitter has been a DIVISIVE issue among fans. Opinion is spread among people who want DHs in both leagues, people who want no DH, and people who would be happy to keep the difference between the leagues.

(P9) The universal DH would also UNIFY the rules at a time when there is greater EMPHASIS on interleague play.

(P10) Baseball, in recent years, has proven it’s not afraid to TINKER WITH tradition — even if that means upsetting fans who don’t like change. Making the DH universal would be a very big and IMPACTFUL change. It would introduce a new era of the game.

WORDS: 406



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Why do sports make rule changes over the years?
  3. Are you a baseball fan? Is baseball popular in your country?
  4. Are there any sports you enjoy whose rules confuse you sometimes?
  5. Do you usually welcome change, or does it sometimes make you unhappy?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Designated hitter
  • Roll out
  • Batting order
  • Shake up
  • Swear by
  • Tinker with

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