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March 01, 2010


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Jeff Yates

This looks very interesting. Those who find the DH rule intriguing might also check out: Zorn, Christopher, and Jeff Gill. 2007. “The Etiology of Public Support for the Designated Hitter Rule.” Quarterly Journal of Political Science 2(2): 189-203, featured here:

Sorry, I'm fresh out of baseball puns :-)

Calvin Massey

I have not read Calandrillo and Buehler's article yet, but I wonder about the assertion in the abstract that the DH rule caters to the fan preferences of the two leagues. It may be that both AL and NL fan preferences are shaped by the presence (AL) and absence (NL) of the DH. That is, people prefer what they are used to seeing. The only way to gauge this would be to assess fan preferences in cities with an AL and NL team (New York, LA, SF-Oakland, Chicago) but the problem there would be that fan preferences in those cities are the product of many other factors besides the DH. As to the Zorn, et al article, I should like to know why it is that Democrats favor the DH more than do Republicans. Are NL cities redder than AL cities? Is there a hidden political dimension to the DH? We do know that President Obama is a White Sox fan, so the top Democrat presumably favors the DH. Because John McCain is the most recent GOP candidate for the Presidency, and he's from Arizona (presumably a D-Back fan) can we presume he despises the DH. But what about GW Bush, who not only lives in Dallas but was once Managing GP of the Texas Rangers? We need answers here.

Patrick S. O'Donnell

Re: "It may be that both AL and NL fan preferences are shaped by the presence (AL) and absence (NL) of the DH. That is, people prefer what they are used to seeing."

This seems more than plausible to me, as it is similar or analogous to the endowment effect and would be an instance of the "exposure effect," "a psychological phenomenon by which people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them. In social psychology, this effect is sometimes called the familiarity principle."

Jeff Lipshaw

Tim, are you from Detroit? Only a Detroiter would know that Ernie Harwell opened the first broadcast from spring training and the Grapefruit League with the only non-R-rated lines out of the Song of Solomon: "For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land."

Tim Zinnecker

Jeff (Lipshaw): I was born in Michigan, but our family moved to rural Missouri when I was a youngster. I know of Harwell's ritual only through picking up general baseball knowledge here and there (and from my father, a die-hard Tigers fan). The 1968 World Series still brings back painful memories for me (but not so for my father).

Being a die-hard Cards fan, and an NL fan, I'm opposed to the DH rule. On the assumption, however, that Albert Pujols remains a Cardinal when he turns 40, I may change my tune!

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