Siberian Baseball

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Of home runs and furry horses

Not to take anything away from Ryan Howard and his win in the home run derby last night, but let's face it, it wasn't much to write home about.

Worse was the hype being spat out by the ESPN crew.

"It's a coming out party for these young stars like Howard and David Wright!" I'll give you that, especially for Howard. Maybe now he can stop living in the shadow of a slugger who left the team in the offseason. Anyone who didn't know Wright before last night hasn't been paying attention.

"The NL has a good crop of young guys ready to turn the corner to superstardom! Look! Look!" Easy, Tiger... Yes, there are some great young guys in the NL, but it's not like the AL's starting nine are ready for Medicare yet. And let's not forget the AL's crop of rookies and sophomores, either. Let's just pump the brakes a bit on the NL bandwagon before we get too out of control.

"This is definitive proof that the NL will return to dominance in the next 45 days!" Whoa! Just, slow down. How did we make that leap of faith?

While it's great that for the second year in a row an NL guy (and a Phillie, no less) won the home run derby, let's just step back a second and try to assess just how far in the hole the NL has gotten. I'd say using the home run derby as a sign of its revival tells us all we need to know.

While neither league had a sparkling crop this year - especially in some key positions like second and center field - it seems very premature that we're using this as the clarion call for the NL. Yes, you won the home run derby. Yes, it was fun for a night. No, it does not mean that the NL win win the World Series this year. Or next. Or even the one after that...

Are the NL teams as bad as wants us to believe? No. Are they competitive with the AL? Look at the interleague results.

In any event, the end of the derby left me with a pretty foul taste in my mouth as the announcers tried to overhype the significance of the win by Howard.

Saying that the NL is on par because of his championship is like saying that Peru is on the same economic playing field with the US because they won the head to head matchup in llama exports. It's a start, but let's not get carried away.

(Image from:


  • Howard did a great job (including a clutch knockout of my man Jermaine Dye), but David Ortiz's showing in the first round was just ridiculous in terms of power. Almost every ball ended up in the river (unfortunately, no kayaker was gonked in the head and knocked unconcious on a fly ball, which is what justice demands).

    Like I've said, if you had a starting lineup just consisting of the top players from the White Sox and Red Sox and put them up against the starting lineup of the NL All-Stars, the combined Sox team would win.

    By Anonymous Frank the Tank, At Tuesday, July 11, 2006 5:50:00 PM  

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