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 Post subject: A.L. dominance
PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2006 11:05 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2003 1:01 am
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Location: The Empire State
Tim McCarver and Joe Buck were discussing the A.L.'s dominance over the N.L. during today's Yankees-Mets broadcast, noting that the A.L. has won the All-Star Game the past 12 years. And they said that going into today's interleague games, the A.L. held a 139-85 advantage. That's almost silly.

McCarver speculated the main reason is that in the N.L., the 7-8-9 spots in the lineup are filled by the pitcher and two players who are primarily in the lineup for their defense, whereas in the A.L., the 7-8-9 hitters are usually genuinely good hitters.

The A.L.'s hegemony over the All-Star Game makes a mockery of Clueless Bud's recent tying of the World Series home-field advantage to the outcome of an exhibition in which most starters have moved on to their teams' next cities by the fifth inning. "This one counts"? Not much, Bud. Not much.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2006 1:57 pm 
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Location: New Jersey
McCarver, as usual, is talking faster than he thinks. Since the designated-hitter rule was introduced in 1973, the AL and NL are even in All-Star Game wins. In fact, the NL dominated the All-Star Game for the first decade of the DH era, with the AL's first win coming in 1983.

Much as McCarver and his fellow NL fans would like to think otherwise, the AL clubs are simply better right now -- not just built for their own league's style of play. There are exactly two good baseball teams in the NL -- the Mets and the Cardinals. And neither of those has dominated in interleague play, leading one to wonder how much of their success comes from playing in a weak league.

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The A.L.'s hegemony over the All-Star Game makes a mockery of Clueless Bud's recent tying of the World Series home-field advantage to the outcome of an exhibition in which most starters have moved on to their teams' next cities by the fifth inning.


I understand the argument, but one could follow the same facts to the opposite conclusion. There's a certain sense in giving home-field advantage in the World Series to the team that had to fight its way through a more difficult league to reach the Series. Considering that the old rule was simply to alternate between leagues without regard to merit, the new system is at least not worse.

But I do agree that the managers do not take the All-Star Game as seriously as they should if the game is to count. I have less of a problem with Bud's changes than I do with players and managers who are still playing the game like it's a pure exhibition. If the game lacks meaning, it's because the players and managers need to get with the times and play hard.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 02, 2006 9:45 pm 
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Posts: 1775
Location: Baltimore
Another theory is that A.L. teams have to spend big on talent and take chances with trades to have a hope of getting to the World Series because the Yankees and Red Sox are rich and relentless every year.

For last year and again this year the White Sox shelled out big bucks and made trades. The Tigers have successfully built around Ivan Rodriguez. The Blue Jays have spent, too. The Angels had good seasons after taking that approach.

In the N.L., the Mets got Beltran and Glavine and then Delgado and Pedro Martinez--players the Yankees and Red Sox would have liked to have. Now the Mets are getting positive attention that might otherwise go to George's hired hands; they're about a dozen games ahead of Atlanta.

Most teams think long-term, hoping their young players mature together and excel for a few years, led by older players picked up cheap. The Yankees and Red Sox don't have that patience--they buy what they need every year.

The Marlins, lacking New York- or Boston-style financing, have their own approach: Spend big, win a Series, then sell off the talent instead of giving raises.

There's probably much more to it than that, though.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:54 am 
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Location: N 36° 57' 9", W 121° 24' 2"
My hypothesis is absolutely baseless, but I'm sticking with it: AL hitters swing at everything, whereas NL hitters wait for their pitch, which may or may not come.

You swing, you get hits, you score runs.

It's a simple game.


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