Tuesday, November 18, 2008

AL v NL - let's chop it up

One would appear to have incensed a few NL fans in the last few days, if the acerbic, angry emails flooding the old inbox are anything to go by. Fans of MLBs National League are a passionate bunch, and never like to hear that 'their' league is any way inferior to those big bullies in the AL.

Personally I am totally open minded when it comes to NL v AL, I love watching NL baseball too, it has it's own quirks and style that make it totally different and yet just as enjoyable to watch as their AL equivalent. I would even go as far as saying a well pitched, crisp, two hour NL game is often more enjoyable to watch than a four hour slug-fest between, for example, Texas and Oakland.

The stone cold fact of the matter though is that the AL is the superior league to the NL. How can one say that so confidently? It's all in the content, the teams in this case. Sure, the Phillies won the World Series, and I tip my cap to them, however in the last few years the AL has been the vastly superior league to the NL.

Shall we back this up with heaps of flashy statistics? Yes, let's.

Looking at the overall total of win/losses in Interleague play since it began in 1997 the final total would not seem to reflect any wild disparity.

Wins by League:

That disparity however is instantly recognisable when you instead take it from 2004 onwards, basically the period where the AL has really come to the fore, and the NL has pretty much become the weaker league.

TotalsAL - 702
NL - 557

So since 2004 in interleague play the AL has gone 702-557, including a season where they went 149-103 and the insane 2006 season where the AL pummelled the NL to the tune of 154-98

Looking deeper into interleague play, since it began in 1997, only five NL teams have a winning percentage of any shape or form, anything over .500. The AL bullies have nine teams that can boast a winning interleague play record. The Yankees and A's are hammering NL teams to the tune of almost .600!

Interleague play is just one measure of the domination the AL has experienced over the weaker NL in the last few years. How about the World Series and the All Star Game?

The AL has won seven of the last 11 World Series, and 11 All Star Games in a row (plus one tie).

Not even close, on either count. You can argue all you want really, but the facts are right there staring right at you. World Series domination, All Star game total domination and interleague domination all add up to the fact that the AL is the vastly superior league.

The only consolation really for fervent NL fans is the cyclical nature of sports. Sure, the AL is totally dominating the NL now, however who knows, maybe from 2015 to 2025 the NL will rule the roost over the AL. You just never know, and that's the inherent beauty of sports.

Just not so much as we speak though.

154-98. Wow.



Anonymous said...

Aside from being a fan of an AL team, I don't see how anyone can watch AL games on a consistent basis. The DH isn't baseball, it's a marketing gimmick.

Cormac said...

That's a little over the top, no? There's plenty of good AL baseball, plus the teams are better too! (As documented!)

john said...

How is it over the top? The DH was created by Charlie Finley. His other gimmicks were just as ridiculous, the only difference was that owners wanted more offense and the players union wanted it for obvious reasons. Look at his other gimmicks and tell me what is different: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Finley#Gimmicks

Chris said...

Very thorough research. 110 game difference is acceptable basis to say no disparity but if it reaches 150 it clearly leans to AL dominance??!! What about considering home vs away in inter-league, teams in contention playing the pirates, etc.

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