Perhaps emboldened by his successful push to overhaul the U.S. healthcare industry, President Barack Obama waded bravely into some of America’s other great debates, declaring himself an opponent of Major League Baseball’s use of the designated hitter, picking Duke University to win the men’s college basketball championship on Monday and the University of Connecticut to take the women’s college basketball crown on Tuesday.
“Even though I am an American league guy, I gotta admit that I am a baseball purist,” Obama said after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before the Washington Nationals’ baseball team’s first game of the season.
“I think no DH makes more sense. Have everybody out there playing, doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” he said, during an appearance with the Nationals’ television broadcasters.
Obama is a fan of his hometown Chicago’s White Sox, a team in Major League Baseball’s American League. In the American league, pitchers do not take turns at bat. Teams instead have a “designated hitter,” the DH, who does not take a turn in the field. In the National League, pitchers take turns at bat and are virtually always by far the weakest batters on their teams.
The American League has been using the DH since 1973, and the issue has been the subject of countless barroom debates by fans.