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American League vs. National League: The Facts

Posted on: July 27, 2009 6:08 pm
 

The National League has been much maligned in recent years as being vastly inferior to the supposedly dominant American League. The All Star Game was over two weeks ago, however still the media is using the AL victory as justification of the American League’s dominance. The pitching is better, the hitting is better, and the American League trumps the National League in every possible aspect of the game.  Or does it?

The NL has lost every All Star game since 2002, when they were able to somehow match the incredible AL and tie it.  So the argument prevails that the AL is better based on the fact they have won those All Star games. However, since 2002 the game has been decided by only 1 run 5 times.  To say that because the AL has won the All Star games they are superior is putting a lot of stock into the once a year exhibition game. 

AL supporters also argue that the AL dominates inter-league play and therefore it is a better league.  Since 2002 the AL has won 53.5% of inter-league games.  Is it reasonable to think that because the AL teams have a professional hitter to hit for the pitcher while the NL team must use a bench player when they adhere to the DH rule that it may allow for the AL to win a slightly higher percentage of games?  

Despite the American League winning 53% of inter-league games it has not led to American League domination of the World Series.  Since 2000 the AL and the NL each have five wins.  Exactly equal.

When you look at the individual player stats for this season it shows equality between the leagues as well.  Both the AL and NL have 5 of the top 10 players in batting average ranks and 10 of the top 20.  The NL has 6 of the top 10 in HR, and 9 of the top 20, 5 of 10 in OPS and 11 of the top 20.  The consistency shows in pitchers as well.  The NL has 5 of the top 10 in ERA and 13 of the top 20.

Is there a great dominance by the American League?  Not really.   

Category: MLB
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