Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Colin Cowherd on the NL vs. the AL

In a rambling, nonsensical diatribe today, Colin Cowherd described on his show "The Herd" on ESPN radio about how the Padres are the best team in the National League but would only be the fifth best team in the AL.

Ok, that's fine, a fair statement and a fair argument, although I don't 100% agree with it. It's defensible though, right?

Cowherd then goes on to blast the NL for being inferior. Ok, again, a fair statement. I'm sure he can back that up.

Cowherd's supporting argument:

"Just look at the All-Star Games. The AL owns them. Look at interleague play. Look at the last 5 World Series champions. The AL is just plain better all around, and it's not even close."

Man, that sure sounds compelling! Except:

  • The All-Star Game is a terrible example of "league vs. league" supremacy when comparing entire leagues. The All-Star game is, by its very definition, a collection of superstars from both leagues pitted in a game against each other in which almost all of them play. The game is not managed or played like a regular game. The fact that a bunch of superstars from one league have repeatedly won an exhibition against a bunch of superstars from another league is meaningless - it has no bearing whatsoever on the strength of the teams in those leagues. There are 750 Major Leaguers on active rosters for most of the season. Roughly 8% of those are on the All-Star rosters. I am of the belief that the 92% remaining of players have a far greater effect on pennant races and quality of teams and leagues than do the 8%.
  • All time in interleague play, the AL leads the NL 1,387- 1,317 (.513). That is not a significant difference. a .513 winning percentage is not dramatic. This season the AL beat the NL by a .544 clip. Again, not overly definitive. However, this is the best and only example cited by Cowherd that could even remotely back up his statement.
  • Last 5 WS champs:
    Cardinals (NL)
    White Sox (AL)
    Red Sox (AL)
    Marlins (NL)
    Angels (AL)
    The Al leads 3-2. This is of course not significant as the leagues have traded off every year. The closest a 5 year stretch could be is 3-2. This would be better used to support an argument that both leagues are fairly matched. I assume Cowherd chose "5" because if he'd chosen "4" they'd be dead even. If we go 6, add in Arizona (NL). Even. 7? Yankees (AL). 4-3.

Is there a point to all of this? Yes. Cowherd is an idiot. Also he doesn't research any facts and I assume most of his audience just takes what he says at face value. I actually agree with him on the premise, but his argument is backed up by mirrors and gorilla dust.

He's not different from most radio hosts, though. Why are these guys on the air again?

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 2:35 PM   1 comments


At 9/05/2007 3:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Padres rock. The end!


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