Baseball Primer Newsblog
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Saturday, June 01, 2013
From 2005-present, the AL is .553 (2106 games) [against the NL]...
This is an issue that I was just completely wrong about. For years, asked about the relative strength of the leagues, I would say that I didn’t see how there could be a significant disparity between them. The teams in the two leagues draft players from the same talent pool. They send players to the same minor leagues to develop them, and they play against each other in those leagues. They trade players between the leagues, and they sign free agents from the same pool of talent. In those circumstances, how can a significant talent disparity develop?
But obviously I was wrong; once they started playing head to head the American League, over a space of thousands of games, has beaten the National League as consistently as a championship team beats a .500 team, which is a tremendously significant disparity.
What is your theory as to why or how the American League has become superior to the National league, despite all the reasons you cite as to why this shouldn’t happen?...
When the Yankees in the late 1990s developed such a fantastic team, the rest of the American League East had to run harder to keep pace. The strength of the division was a result of the other teams undertaking the necessary effort to stay close to the Yankees.
isn’t the AL operating at a disadvantage in the differences in the rules? For games in AL parks, the AL team doesn’t do anything different than usual, and the NL team gets to use an extra hitter (well, assuming they HAVE one) who’d otherwise be riding the bench, which I’d count as an advantage. For games in NL parks, the NL team doesn’t do anything different than usual, and the AL team has to GIVE UP their DH, which I’d count as a disadvantage…
Why is it that I imagine that if both teams had to give up their second baseman for interleague series, you would argue that was an advantage for the National League teams as well?
...I found a 2011 article that states the AL’s winning percentage in interleague play was 52.3% until that time, but 57.8% in AL parks. If I have the math right, that suggests a 46.8% winning percentage in NL parks. In other words, the disparity is the result of the AL’s home field advantage greatly outstripping the NL’s home field advantage, and that would seem to have to do mostly with the DH. No?
No. First of all, you get the 52% by using ALL interleague games going back to the mid-1990s, which includes several years in which the leagues were about even. Second, a much more sustainable interpretation of that data would be that the home field advantage was the same for both leagues, but that the American League just had better teams.
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