|Point-Counterpoint - Determining the Winner of the ASG||| Print ||
Written by At Home Plate Staff (Contact & Archive) on July 15, 2008
The NL Will WinÂ
Iâ€™ll admit it: I was wrong when I picked the National League inÂ 2004, 2005, and 2006. But this is the year for the NL to finally beat the American League. I can just feel it. If that's not a good enough reason for you, read on.
League dominance in this exhibition game is cyclical. In the '50s, '70s, and '80s, the NL dominated its younger brother. The AL has owned its older brother in the '90s and the 2000s. Baseball history dictates that the balance of power will shift sometime, so why not now?
The NL players and coaches have more to compete for this season.Â Pride and bragging rights are on the line. If you don't think that's something important,Â you're forgetting that athletes are ultra-competitive freaks.Â Especially if you've lost multiple All Star Games in a row.
They have also continually shown resilience.Â Last year, the NL madeÂ a stand against JJ Putz and Francisco Rodriguez in the bottom of the ninth. The would have won in 2006, but the normally sure-handed Trevor Hoffman blew a save opportunity, something that rarely happens. Down 7-0 entering the seventh inning, the NL rallied for five runs in the last three innings of the 2005 game.
Take it to 'em, NL.Â Â
AL Dominance will Continue
After more than a decade of believing the National League would win the All-Star Game and being dissatisfied with the result, I just have to pick the AL to continue its domination.Â Sure the All-Star game is just a glorified exhibition game which lacks the cohesive strategies of a regular season game, but itâ€™s still fun to watch.Â To see dream teams of 32 players go head to head, will always provoke some degree of excitement but somehow the American League always seems to finish on top.Â
Why would that change?Â The AL has dominated interleague play, World Series play and All-Star play the past 12 years.Â You can attribute part of that to the fact that the AL has a greater depth of hitters than the NL as number seven and eight hitters in the NL arenâ€™t expected to as much of an offensive factor as their American League counterparts, since the pitcher never bats.ÂEssentially that means the AL has a larger hitting pool to pick its All-Stars from, and that might give them an advantage in pitching too.Â Â Thatâ€™s because the NL hurlers never find a soft spot in a lineup, something they are very accustomed to during the regular season.Â
Still if ever there was an NL team which looked primed to win a All-Star game this is one of them, but you have to see that the AL squad has more speed, higher batting average (number of players hitting over .300) and more one inning specialists - something which has become more and more prevalent during recent decades.Â That wonâ€™t stop me rooting for the NL, but I just canâ€™t ignore recent history and dismiss the ALâ€™s All-Star Game dominance.