October 9, 2007


NL Teams Can't Touch the Talent of the AL (TIM MARCHMAN, October 9, 2007, NY Sun)

There is probably one baseball fan, hidden safely away in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Colorado, who truly believes that everything — other than the right to play in an exhibition series — is at stake in the upcoming National League Championship Series between the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks. I salute that fan's stubbornness. The rest of us, though, should admit the truth: Until the senior circuit can offer a champion that is clearly better than the seventh-best team in the American League, the World Series will be something of a joke.

The AL could have literally fielded a stronger slate of playoff teams from among its second- and third-place finishers than the NL actually did. The scale of the AL's superiority to the NL may be routinely overstated — the Boston Red Sox reportedly think that, on a team level, the difference is 10 wins per season, which seems implausibly high. But there is no doubt that the AL features a higher level of play right now. No team in the NL won more than 90 games. Does anyone believe that the 88-win Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners wouldn't have managed more than that against weaker competition? The Toronto Blue Jays won 83 while playing 36 games against the Yankees and Red Sox. How many would they have won playing in the NL East? Even the AL's eighth-best team, the 79–83 Minnesota Twins, was arguably stronger than the NL's weakest playoff team, the Chicago Cubs, who went 85–77 while playing in baseball's worst division.

Nothing could better demonstrate the sad state of the NL than the presence of the Rockies and Diamondbacks in the league championship series.

The Rockies were already fielding a pretty good set of position players (excepting CF), but if Jeff Franchise, Ubaldo Jimenez and Franklin Morales are as good as they've looked and Jason Hirsch comes back healthy, plus you have Corpas/Fuentes in the bullpen, they're a legitimate team, probably the best in the NL

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 9, 2007 12:24 PM

I was skeptical of the ability of the Diamondbacks to advance in the playoffs until I realized that every other team was getting more buzz.

The Rockies will go down in six.

Posted by: Brandon at October 9, 2007 1:06 PM

Rockies vs. Indians.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 9, 2007 1:20 PM

Seattle Mariners wouldn't have managed more than that against weaker competition?

It was the weaker teams the Mariners had the most trouble defeating (Texas anyone?). In the NL they'd have been a sub-.500.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 9, 2007 1:24 PM

Rockies vs. Indians.

Raoul, if that is the answer, was the question "name the lowest rated World Series ever?"

Posted by: Brandon at October 9, 2007 1:27 PM


Oh, that World Series would certainly get better ratings than TBS is expecting from DBacks/Rockies.

Besides, Phoenix isn't that far from Denver, in terms of scoring tickets:


Posted by: Brad S at October 9, 2007 1:40 PM