Friday, May 18, 2007

Start of Interleague Play

I have to get something off of my chest: I absolutely hate American League baseball. Hate it. It's like watching those slightly overweight former high school heroes play softball in a beer league. I get more enjoyment out of watching a video game in autoplay mode than a Texas Rangers/Kansas City Royals matchup on ESPN. AL baseball is simply not that interesting. There is too much offense, the games go on and on forever, there's not enough strategy, and it's all because of the most ridiculous rule in all of sports, the designated hitter. Honestly, having the DH in the AL is the worst idea that Bowie Kuhn could have allowed in the 70s as the commissioner of baseball. It weakens the game by allowing a dopey gimmick to change the way the game is played.

Further exacerbating my hatred of American League baseball is that fans of AL teams have been crowing about the superiority of AL baseball for the past couple of years, because most of the more successful teams in the past 5 years have been AL teams (Red Sox, Angels, Yankees, etc.). Unfortunately, what they fail to realize, is that these things come and go in cycles and despite the AL's alleged superiority, they've only won 3 of the last 6 World Series. Hardly the stuff of dominance.

Take Bill Simmons, the ubiquitous "Sports Guy", for example. He has taken things a step further, calling the NL "quadruple A" baseball. In his running diary of last year's NL Championship clinching game, he mentions the fact that because Jeff Suppan, a pitcher that failed in an appearance in Boston a few years back, was the MVP of the series, that his winning the award was somehow indicative of American League superiority. That's pure crap. You could go through a big list of players since the advent of free agency and you could pinpoint quite a few players who went from the NL to the AL and dominated. Needless to say, Simmons rightfully took a lot of crap when the Cardinals defeated the Tigers in the World Series a few weeks later.

If American League teams are better than National League teams at anything at all (other than unnecessarily prolonging games), it's in buying their teams. Of the top 10 teams, in terms of payroll, 7 of the teams are American League teams. That includes Bill Simmons' precious Red Sox, who are second only behind the supposed "evil empire" that is the New York Yankees. The Red Sox have spent much money in recent years, they are almost indistinguishable from the Yankees in terms of foolish spending on player salaries (witness dropping $51 million dollars JUST FOR THE RIGHTS TO NEGOTIATE with Diasuke Matsuzaka).

So, needless to say, I was pleased with last night's 5 - 3 victory by the Phils over the Blue Jays. Things are definitely going the Phils' way as they scored 5 runs on only 3 hits (all singles). I plan on going to my first game of the year tonite, with Jamie Moyer taking the hill. Moyer is actually an example of a player who got kicked around in the National League for a few years, only to go to the AL and find success with the Seattle Mariners, where he won 20 games twice.