Friday, October 28, 2005

« National vs American »

By Matthew Cary

I was thinking about it the other day, and I realized that there isn't a National League team that I really care about watching or following. In fact, I really don't have much use for the National League in general. I mean, sure, Inter-League games are great because then people in cities with AL teams can see their favorite players in the NL. However, I just don't think the National League is that good in general; I find them to be disappointing actually.

Let's look at the last 15 seasons, including this year. The NL has not won a World Series game in 3 years, which was last achieved by the Florida Marlins (whom we shall discuss later.) The American League has won ten World Series titles. I only consider two of the five NL champions as legitimate. In 1990, the Cincinnati Reds, who were 91-71 during the regular season swept the Oakland A's, who were 103-59, a record that was one win shy of their record two years prior when they lost to the Dodgers four games to one in the World Series. In their defense, they did manage to win the championship between those two seasons against the Giants. The other legitimate NL victory would be what most people call the greatest World Series ever, when the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Yankees, preventing them from winning four straight championships.

What do I find wrong with the other three NL World Series champs? First, there were the Braves who beat Cleveland in game 6 of the 1995 Series with a score of 1-0. This should have never happened. Weather or not your are facing good pitchers, a World Series team should at least score a run. To lose a championship game in that fashion is a joke. I don't count it. Two years later, it was the Florida Marlins, a team that was put together to win that one season and dismantled the next year. I don't even count them as a team. At least this series was more exciting than the Brave's series. It went 7 games and had some high scoring games as well, including a 14-11 Marlins win over the other team. Florida made its return to the World Series in 2003 with a more respectable team, not just a bunch of All-Star players thrown together. They ended up beating the Yankees in 6 games to win their second championship. So why don't I like counting this series? Their first championship was won after beating the Indians (the previously mentioned "other team".) Yes, I am still bitter.

So that takes care of the last decade and a half of World Series Championships. Now let's look at the last decade of All-Star Games. Next years All-Star Game marks the 10th Anniversary of the last time the National League won the Mid-Summer Classic. (I can't say that they lost every year since then due to the debacle in Milwaukee in 2002.) However, I believe the NL has a good chance of winning next year. Let me explain and try to keep up. The game is going to be played in Pennsylvania, the same state in which the NL last won the All-Star Game. The National League is 7-1 in All-Star Games played in The Quaker State, with the only loss in 1943 in a 5-3 defeat at Shibe Park. They are 4-0 in the city of Pittsburgh; This will be the first game played at PNC Park. The odds are in their favor.

If someone accused me of being partial to the American League, I would have to agree with them. I have no shame in admitting that I am. But for those of you who don't believe in the use of a designated hitter, I pass on the same sentiment I have heard in Cleveland for years...

"There is always next year."