Debunking the myth of strategy in the National League

1 08 2010

My friend Tom Callinan tweeted last night one of the most common mistaken notions in baseball: that baseball strategy is more difficult and interesting in the National League than in the American League.

I’ll debunk this myth shortly, but first a few overall comments: I love that baseball has genuine differences between the leagues. The AFC and NFC are identical in how they play, and we’re four decades past the AFL-NFL merger now, so you have few true fans of just one conference. The eastern and western conferences in hockey and basketball play the same, so loyalties rarely extend past your favorite team. But because baseball has never gotten together on the designated-hitter rule, it truly changes strategy, so the game has subtle but significant differences between the leagues. So you have people who favor one league over the other because they like bunting or pinch-hitting more or because they fail to understand the strategy needed to succeed in the American League. Read the rest of this entry »