The Electric Commentary

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Why Does The National League Suck?

Here are some theories:

1. The Yankees extremely high payroll, along with the existence of bitter rivals, the Boston Red Sox, lures a disproportionately high number of star players into the AL.

2. The DH allows AL teams to carry superior offensive players, and having an extra star offensive player makes a great deal of difference, even if he is just an extremely good pinch-hitter during NL-rules games.

3. The pitchers of the NL do not perform as well under pressure, as they get some relief when the pitcher's spot bats.

4. "Small Ball" is overly romanticized in the NL, as managers used to having pitchers sacrifice also have their good players sacrifice.

5. NL clubs are forced to keep bench player who specialize in a specific defensive position perhaps foregoing some offense, as they will generally have to stay in the game as part of a double switch. American League bench players can, in general, be offensively focused, or specialize in hitting either lefties or righties.

6. The AL is simply going through a lucky period.

7. The two richest NL teams are, if memory serves, the Cubs and the Dodgers. Both have been plagued by incompetent management.

8. The AL has one fewer team in its Western Division, which means that, in general, teams will have less frequent and shorter road trips.

It's strange that the AL is so dominant, especially in the All-Star game. It's one thing to have a league in which, on average, the talent is superior. It's quite another thing to have one league with vastly superior stars. Should the stars of the AL make more than their NL counterparts on the free agent market? It certainly appears as if it would be justified. If anyone has any other theories, I would like to see them.

3 Comments:

  • I actually heard, tonight, that the Astros have the highest payroll in the NL, believe it or not ($104 million or something). They are 3rd in the majors in fact.

    My theories about the NL sucking to the AL has mostly to do with the quality of stars in each league. You touch on that here. In the NL, there's Albert Pujols, but there aren't a lot of guys LIKE Pujols. Whereas in the AL, you can take your pick with Ortiz, ARod, Tejada, etc. They also have better contact hitters--Jeter and Young, for instance.

    When it comes to the World Series, it's obvious the team built to play all 9 innings had the advantage--this means the entire lineup can hit and knows the situation to hit smarter, this means they have bullpens that are lights out from the 6th inning on.

    I think the fact that the Red Sox and Yankees spend so much, there's a domino effect, has some creedence, but you have to spend on players who are worth a damn, and AL clubs have been doing a smarter job. It's their era right now, as it was for the NL before the mid-eighties. I don't think there's any inherent qualities that makes one league better than another--it just happens that way, but it sure isn't luck.

    By Blogger Chris, at 2:28 AM  

  • I don't know, the AL has won a lot of All-Star games in a row, but they haven't clearly dominated the NL. They won by 1 this year with a 9th inning comeback, they won by 2 in 05, Clemens (in his first year as an NL pitcher I might add) gives up 6 runs in the first in 04 and the AL wins 9-4, Gagne blows the save in 03 on a 9th inning homer to Blalock, 02 was a tie, in 00 the NL was missing Griffey, McGwire, and Piazza. Blah blah blah.

    Sure the AL has consistently won and you could make arguments that they have been better in the clutch and had a bit better pitching, but I hardly call that dominance and can't personally come to the conclusion that their stars - or league - have been as much better as it seems fashionable to claim. I mean one game in baseball is pretty much a crap shoot no matter who is playing.

    Before this year, the AL's interleague record was a gaudy 8 games over .500 (1104-1096). I think that this is a better barometer over the All-Star game or the World Series though it is still flawed too as all teams don't play each other. There is no question that the AL is dominant this year, but in the aggregate I don't know if there is as much asymmetry as many people are making it out to be.

    By Anonymous Rashid Z. Muhammad, at 8:20 AM  

  • <troll>
    I think the AL's dominance is due to the Brewers moving over to the NL.
    </troll>

    By Blogger dhodge, at 8:31 AM  

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