Cardinal Nation knows club owner Bill DeWitt Jr. holds the key to their collective happiness as baseball fans, but he may be even more powerful than that according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Asked when he thinks the designated hitter rule could find it’s way to the National League, and where he believes DeWitt stands on said rule, Olney let on that Mr. DeWitt carries a large bag of influence on such matters.
“If you were to draw up a list of the most powerful people in the game, he’s number one above [MLB commissioner] Rob Manfred,” Olney said. “Bill DeWitt, at this point, is kind of the godfather of baseball.”
Buster went on to say he sees the DH discussion trending a similar direction as other recent rule changes.
“What’s interesting is, is I think the discussion about the DH is going right down the same path that we saw with catcher collisions,” he said. “So much of the conversations among these young executives, these progressive executives, is about the financial risk. Why would you put Buster Posey in financial risk with an outlier-type play? Why would you put him in that position? So they came up with that rule change.
“Same thing with middle infielders on slides into second base. Now we’re getting this absolute groundswell of conversation saying, ‘Why are we putting pitchers in positions where we’re asking them to do things they don’t usually do for plays that usually aren’t as important as the other stuff they do?’
He went on to say no matter how immanent the DH rule change may be, it can’t happen without Godfather Dewitt giving his blessing.
“If this is going to happen, I think because of Bill’s influence, he would have to go along with it. Whether or not he would at this point, I don’t know, but I think that it’s inevitable that there will be an adoption of the DH for the National League.”
Stay tuned to 101 ESPN and 101Sports.com for plenty of baseball coverage and analysis throughout the summer. Happy Father’s Day.