Results Aside, The National League Is Better Than The American League

By Rob Parker
Updated: July 10, 2006

PITTSBURGH — Go ahead, American League fans.

Beat your chest and proclaim that your league is the best. It’s fitting this season since the AL has clobbered the National League in interleague play. At last count, the AL had won something like a million games over the NL.

OK, OK. The AL’s record was really 154-98 — but it certainly seemed even more lopsided.

For whatever reason, the NL just wasn’t able to compete — the Tigers went 15-3 against the Senior Circuit.

But don’t be fooled by the outcome when the two leagues met head-to-head.

The National League is still better.

No joke

No, for real. The National League still has the best brand of baseball, with some of the biggest stars, played in the best cities in this country.

Don’t tell me about the outcome in the All-Star Game the last few years, either. We know that the AL has beaten the NL in 15 of the previous 20 Midsummer Classics.

There was a time, however, when the NL won every year. These things go in cycles.

What hasn’t changed is that the NL game is baseball in its purist form. It’s the way the game was mean to be played.

There are more decisions to make and strategy involved. You need a good manager to win in the National League.

In the AL, managers have less to worry about. They just have to know how to manage the bullpen.

In the NL, managers have to make double-switches, know when to remove the starting pitcher for a pinch hitter and to alter the defense. As a fan, you have to really keep up with the game and understand what’s happening. Yes, you have a chance to manage right along with the real manager.

It leads to debate and reaction.

Beer league?

And AL fans can basically sit back and simply wait for someone to hit a three-run homer.

If the NL is a Picasso, the AL is a coloring book.

Often, National League games are a work of art. The game is played quickly and the scores are tight. A 3-2 victory is the norm.

The AL? How about a beer league softball game where12-10 is your typical final score?

And the designated hitter is a bad idea that won’t go away. It’s like that uncle that came to stay for a few days until he got on his feet. Thirty years later, he’s still around and everybody is simply too embarrassed to ask him to leave.

As for stars, the NL has the biggest star in baseball today in Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols.

He is just an exciting player who is worth the price of admission. That can’t be said of many players today. But Pujols does so much well. This season, Pujols is batting .316 with 29 homers and 76 RBI.

And let’s not forget Barry Bonds. Steroids controversy or not, Bonds, an NL lifer, continues to be the biggest attraction in the game.

Don’t be fooled by the end result at PNC Park on Tuesday night. Win or lose, the NL is better.