|Bryce Harper and the NL East-leading Nats are 19-15 outside of the division. (AP)|
In this week's rankings, none of the 10 teams from the East divisions are ranked outside the top 16. The easy thing for fans of teams from the Central or West divisions will be to whine about this so-called "East Coast bias." It's a mindless -- and quite played-out -- way to complain, done without any homework whatsoever. So allow me to do the homework.
Here are the records of every division outside their own division, along with winning percentage and what a 162-game pace each winning percentage equates to -- so we can have a general idea of how good each division is versus the others.
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AL East: 76-49, .608, 162-game pace: 98-64
NL East: 84-60, .583, 162-game pace: 95-67
AL West: 62-62, .500, 162-game pace: 81-81
NL West: 53-63, .457, 162-game pace: 74-88
AL Central: 58-75, .436, 162-game pace: 71-91
NL Central: 58-78, .426, 162-game pace: 69-93
Pretty insane, huh? It's even more drastic than I had expected.
In light of the evidence, I'd say anyone complaining about the East teams being ranked too high is the one with bias. The numbers bear out rather significantly that the two East divisions are the best in baseball, and it ain't close. Yet when someone tells it like it is, there's an accusation of bias from so many Left Coast fans.
Now, this isn't to say that it's impossible for teams in the other divisions to make a playoff run. Far from it. Judging teams is an individual exercise, and we may well see a West vs. West World Series (look at the top two teams ranked below, after all). I think Rangers vs. Dodgers, once Matt Kemp is healthy again, would be an incredible series. Or maybe like last season it'll be West vs. Central, which was one of the most exciting series of all-time. But none of this would change the fact -- yes, it's a fact, not an opinion -- that the top-to-bottom divisional power in the majors is in the East. The eyeball test, the records and any other method we can choose all bear this out. To reiterate: Stating otherwise is a tell-tale sign of bias.
Oh, by the way, I live in the "Central" division area, a.k.a. "flyover country." I've never lived farther east than Indiana. I know that shouldn't matter, but it seems to matter to some people.
Rankings, comments and stats are through May 22.