Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

George Will and the Designated Hitter

November 08, 1986

I've reached my limit with George Will. When he says the Russians are evil, I reflect on my own convictions that they are merely paranoid and defensive; when he says Ronald Reagan's finest moment was when he said "Nyet" to the Russians, I consider whether I misread the outcome of Iceland; even when he praises adolescent drivel like "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" as a worthy commentary on modern life, I review my standards for movie excellence; but when he says the designated hitter is an acceptable modification of the game of baseball, I want to check the fiber content of his backbone, re-evaluate his personal integrity, and have his head examined. Clearly, that way lies chaos.

I need not remind Will that Don Drysdale was sent up to pinch hit more than a few times, that Don Newcombe was as feared at the plate as he was on the mound, and that the sight of Sandy Koufax getting thrown out at first, after hitting what would have been a single to right field for any other player, injects a note of pathos to baseball that reminds us of the fragility of the order that liberals and conservatives alike to cherish.

No, the designated hitter is the first step on the road to the brutishness that is football. That savage, over-specialized sport is a necessary reminder, in the cold and dreary months of the year when many conservatives on the East Coast are in their fullest cry against liberal programs, that the war for decency and human dignity (alas, once the banner of the Democratic Party, mothballed during the dark night of Reaganism) must again be fought in the summer months when light and harmony, exemplified by the wholeness of the ever-youthful baseball player, return.

If Will and others do not continue to dig in their heels and resist the false Siren of the DH, soon there will be nine designated hitters, eight designated fielders, and one designated pitcher. Then, surely, there will be no joy in Mudville.

NEIL JOECK

Los Angeles

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|