|Point/Counterpoint: The NL West is Too Boring to Watch||| Print |||Send|
Written by At Home Plate Staff (Contact & Archive) on August 02, 2008
Point/Counterpoint – The NL West is Too Boring to Watch
Okay, let’s get it out there; the N.L.West is commonly referred to as the “National League Worst;” get the laughs out now because I’m going to show you how good “the worst” can be. So “laugh it up fuzz-ball,” because we can’t have giggles in class while this is going on!
Parity – Webster’s defines it as being “equal to or equivalent of;” right next to the definition there should be a display of the current NL West standings. Look, parity puts “fannies” in the seats and keeps fans interested all the way through the regular season.
When September rolls around in cities like Pittsburgh and Baltimore, fans pack their MLB Gear up and bust out their NFL Jerseys. They’re tired of watching bad baseball and want to enjoy their NFL team with a much better chance of actually winning something.
Over the last decade, four different teams have been to the World Series from the West and granted, only one has won it all (AZ in ’01); four of five teams from one division is pretty impressive.
I would also argue that teams that win their division by wide margins tend to nose dive once the postseason begins. The ’02 Braves won the NL East by 19 games and then proceeded to lose to the Giants in the first round of the playoffs. The 1999 Indians turned the AL Central into a yawn fest taking it by an astonishing 21.5 games only to get bounced again in the first round by Boston.
Conversely, three of the four NL West teams that went to the World Series were in a tight race all the way to the end of the season with only San Diego winning in ‘98 by 9 games. Now I’ll concede that the opposite has happened as well, dominating teams win, but it is usually the team with the highest payroll for that particular year.
Those who know my writing on AHP know that I am a shameless Chicago White Sox fan. In 1983 they won the then AL West by 20 games. I was ecstatic as they pounded the opposition into submission. This was their year, I was sure of it. They proceeded to break my heart by getting spanked in the A.L.C.S. by Baltimore, 3-1. I said it then and still believe it: if they had been in a pennant race they’d have fared much better in the postseason.
Competition breeds not only fan interest and excitement, but also keeps the team focused. When a team dominates I think it produces complacency which can get a team chucked from the postseason really quick.
Bottom line, when it comes to excitement and flat out “edge of your seat” pennant races year after year, the NL West beats the other divisions by a long shot.