Picture this: It’s the spring of 1973, Harvard’s accepting Bill Gates, the 77th annual Boston Marathon is in full stride and the Boston Red Sox are inadvertently making history.

Just an ordinary spring in Bean Town, right? Wrong.

When Boston hosted its rival the New York Yankees on the cold, historic opening day, Red Sox legendary pitcher Luis Tiant faced Ron Blomberg and walked him with the bases juiced. It should have been just another inconsequential statistic en route to Boston’s 15-5 thumping.

Instead, it was a walk that changed the American League—and more importantly, the game of baseball.

When Blomberg approached the plate as the No. 6 hitter in the Yankees lineup, he did so as the major league’s first designated hitter; and that groundbreaking at-bat has created a ripple effect in the controversial mainstream of what baseball is supposed to be.

Just like any appreciable debate, the law of the DH has its pros: Hitters are eligible to extend their careers, pitchers are out of harm’s way, and it adds another great Louisville Slugger to the lineup, which ultimately produces more offense.

In this argument, however, the cons are more significant to the pastime itself than the pros are to the hitters.

Purists can argue that Bud Selig and Co. should nullify the rule because, today, baseball is already dominated by batters and it’s an act that is skewed against the pitchers.

The American League managers, however, get to have their cake and eat it, too. Their pitchers only have one job, and that’s to pitch, while skippers in the National League are forced to make heavy and momentous decisions that can essentially decide a game.

Usually at some point in a game, a team will have some sort of rally started and, sooner or later, the pitcher will get his shot at glory with a swing of the bat. But here’s the catch-22 for a manager: Leave the pitcher in to swing away—so he can remain on the mound—or pinch hit and be forced to warm up the bullpen. Tough call.

More times than not, though, the skipper will yank the pitcher because the odds just aren’t in his favor, and that’s the beauty of the National League—there’s strategy.

It seems the only strategy in the American League is ill-tempered pitchers with chips on their shoulders, throwing outside the strike zone to prove some idiotic point—which was a point Los Angeles Angels right-hander Jered Weaver was suspended for this season.

Weaver intentionally threw a pitch at Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila’s head because he was aggravated at a prior batter who watched a home run sail over the fence before starting his round trip of the bases.

Weaver wouldn’t have pulled that dangerous, unprofessional stunt if he were in the National League, where he would have had to face an opposing gunslinger with retaliation in mind.

But the greatest disappointment in having a DH is the fundamentals of the game are eliminated.

The National League bunts quiet often—the American League, not so much. National League pitchers throw around hitters to face a weaker bat—American League pitchers have no reason to pitch around, because every player in the lineup is a potential threat.

Once again, there’s no strategy involved in the American League.

The spring of 1973 was historical in the major leagues, but the DH has taken away the purity of a game that fans and players alike were accustomed to.

The Red Sox and Yankees always bring excitement to the table, but this milestone has created a legacy that would be better forgotten.

And it all started with a walk at Fenway Park.

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