Levine: National League Style More Fun For Adam Eaton
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By Bruce Levine-
CHICAGO (CBS) — Adam Eaton loves his new ball club and the city he plays in, but his heart stays with the National League style of play.
Eaton, who came up in the Diamondbacks organization, is a throw-back type person when it comes to the game he loves.
“As you know, I am kind of an old-school baseball guy,” Eaton said before the White Sox beat the Giants, 8-2, at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday evening. “There is more inside baseball involved with lefty-lefty matchups and more double switches. “
Eaton calls himself a working-class player and an immediate South Side of Chicago player because of his lunch bucket approach to his game. He is content with his role with the White Sox but still considers the game more basic in the other league.
“There is a lot more action and thinking the game in National League games,” Eaton said. “Playing to win in the ninth with pinch runners, squeeze plays, I really like it.”
Baseball is more likely to go to the designated hitter in the NL before the AL ever ditches the DH in the future, in large part because the players’ association would balk at losing a high-paying position in exchange for a marginal player if the DH was dumped.
Many believe watching the pitcher bat is boring and a waste at the bottom of the batting order. Eaton disagrees.
“Hey, did you see how the Cubs won their game (Monday)?” Eaton said. “(Cubs pitcher) Travis Wood doubled home a run to win in 13 innings. That is cool and really great when it comes to the unpredictable things that can happen in that league.”
Eaton is not the only one who likes NL rules. White Sox manager Robin Ventura spent the first 10 years of his career with the DH in place before playing for the Mets in 1999.
“I did enjoy the game over there,” Ventura said of the NL. “When you have bench players over there, they get to play a little more. That was a fun aspect of your team in that league. Guys just feel more ready to play more often than the American League. There are parts of it I did like.”
When Eaton was with Arizona, he saw a whole team ready to play at a moment’s notice.
“When I was with the Diamondbacks, all of the pitchers on the bench always had spikes on anticipating getting in a game as a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner,” Eaton said.
“(Diamondbacks pitcher) Patrick Corbin was a very good all-around player. He could bunt or run or hit late in a game. I think once when we were in Philadelphia and Gibby (Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson) put him in the outfield in an 18-inning game. It takes pitchers back to their glory days when they played a position in high school or legion baseball. It helped bring the team closer together when a pitcher in that league does something on offense to decide a ball game.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.