Why Is the National League So Inferior to the American League?

Divya ParmarSenior Analyst IJuly 28, 2008

If you have ever wondered which league, the AL or NL, is better, there's no debate. The answer is obvious: the American League.

There are 10 teams in the AL with records above .500, and only four teams with records below .500. In the NL, there eight teams with records .500 or better, and eight teams with records worse than .500.

There are FOUR teams in the AL East with records equal to or better than the leader of the NL West. If the NL East-leading New York Mets were placed in the AL East, they would be fourth. If they were placed in the AL Central, they would be third.

The AL has four out of the top-five records in baseball. The NL has three of the worst four records in baseball.

The AL has won (or tied) the past 12 All-Star Games. The AL has swept three out of the last four World Series.

All of this data shows that the NL is vastly inferior to the AL.

So, I'm just wondering: Why?

A lot of this comes back to the Red Sox and Yankees. Their high payrolls have motivated (forced) the other teams to spend more to keep pace. That motivation has led to teams constantly trying to upgrade their clubs and improve.

That creates a ripple effect that has spread across the whole AL. Everyone is now under constant pressure to get better, or else they will fall out of contention.

On the other hand, there is no such pressure in the NL. The NL West is an extremely mediocre division, as shown by the Padres making the playoffs one year with only 82 wins.

Teams know that the other clubs aren't pushing the limits, and that there isn't as much of a need to improve. It takes less effort to make the playoffs in the NL, so teams don't have the incentive or motivation to go out and strive to make their clubs better. The bar is set much lower.

Also, the AL is a better-designed league for hitting. The DH has allowed AL teams to develop prolific offenses that NL teams can't even sniff. The quality of offense of teams like the Tigers, the White Sox, and the Red Sox isn't found in the weak-hitting NL.

Those are just some reasons I see for this AL domination. I'm asking you: Why do you think the AL is as dominating as it is?