Interleague play in Major League Baseball has been around for many years and I for one enjoy watching teams from each league face each other.
What always has intrigued me is who has the advantage when the leagues clash?
The American League has the designated hitter rule – which I dislike – while their National League counterparts are still traditionalists in that pitchers have to swing a bat.
So when they play in a National League park the AL pitchers are at a definite disadvantage because they don’t even take batting practice most of the year.
Stevie Wonder sees more pitches than these guys.
The NL pitchers at least get to take a few cuts during a season and learn the intricacies of laying down a bunt in order to advance a runner.
The boys in the AL are just trying to escape without getting beaned on the pitching arm so it’s very much a defensive swing at best.
When the venues change and the AL guys are the home team then the NL pitchers breathe a sigh of relief not having to swing a bat at all because of the DH rule.
They can they hunker down and focus on just pitching which is a benefit not seen in their own parks, getting interrupted by a plate appearance.
Both teams get to use a position player in the lineup instead of some poor hurler trying to figure out how to stay safe at the plate.
It all boils down to the NL getting the slight advantage in my mind.
Then there is the managerial side of this coin to be considered as well.
The argument has been for years due to the DH rule the AL managers have fewer moves to make when their starter has given up too many runs or they’re trying to protect a lead.
NL managers are always looking at their bench and the other teams as well to see when to replace a pitcher, when the pitcher’s spot comes up in the batting order, what arms are in the bull pen and what bats are on the bench.
Having said all that the last seven years show the AL with 1,120 wins compared to 895 for the National League.
Another good theory foiled by the stats!