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2008-09-12 15:59
by Scott Long

It is amazing to me how little discussion there has been of how testing for amphetamines has impacted the game. The MSM constantly slammed away at steroids, but no discussion is afforded to a drug that has been part of the baseball culture for the past 5 decades. It would seem obvious that the lack of greenies would be part of the equation in why there are such wide disparities in home/away records. It is not something that is easy to prove, but I don't see where not having steroids or HGH would make much of a difference on this topic, while uppers would seem to help you get through those tough road trips.


Once again the National League wildcard chase has teams that looked helplessly out of it making runs at the top. Are teams in the NL going to have to be 15 or more games out of the wild card chase at the trading deadline to not give up on the season.


You know I love the Dodger posters here, but many of you were touting the NL West at the beginning of the year as being really good and a couple I can recall even mentioned it being the best division in baseball. The NL West was 27-54 against the AL this year. It is 77-89 against the NL East. It is 82-101 against the NL Central. The Dodgers have always been my favorite NL team, so I'm rooting for them to make the series, but really, the division has been bad for a long time and it is time to get some answers, isn't it?


Here is one positive sign for the NL. I think the AL teams are coming in as a weaker crew than they have in quite some time. The Red Sox, Devil Rays, and White Sox are limping into the playoffs. If they don't lose their spark, the Angels look to be the definitive favorites, unlike last year when they were the most beaten up team coming into the playoffs. Everyone in the playoffs should be happy that they don't have to face the Blue Jays. Their starting pitching and bullpen has been lethal the past month.


The biggest series left on the schedule is when the White Sox go to the Metrodome to face the Twins between Sept. 23-25. Like most teams, Chicago struggles there, so if the Twins can stay within a game, I suspect they will come out of that series tied or in the lead. Currently, both teams have the same record of 49-26 at home. They are both built for their home parks, as the White Sox lead baseball with 210 homers (Philly is second with 192), while the Twins are only ahead of the Royals in AL dingers with 101. Even with this major disparity in homers, the Twins have scored 10 more runs in 2008 than the White Sox. Minnesota's average with runners in scoring position is crazy, which is .311. The White Sox are a very respectable 6th in this category, but are still .33 points behind the Twinkies.


2008-09-12 16:41:00
1.   Xeifrank
What were the records of the top 3 teams in the NL West last year. And the Dodgers, a decent team were 4th. I agree there has been a drop off this year, but last year it was arguably the best in the NL.
vr, Xei
2008-09-12 16:49:52
2.   Scott Long
The NL West was 34-44 against the AL in 2007.
I was a little too harsh on the NL West, though, as besides 2008 and 2005, they have been about as good as any other division in the NL.

One of these weeks, I will have to get around to sharing how I loved the Dodger teams of the late 70's.

2008-09-12 17:05:26
3.   overkill94
Although a regression by the Rockies was inevitable, few expected such a big drop-off a year after a World Series appearance.

The D-Backs should have progressed considering how many young players they have on their roster. It's not a case of said players having fluky years last year either - the only anomaly from last year was Byrnes.

The Padres were due for a decline, but who knew it would be so steep?

The Dodgers disappointed last year, but like the D-Backs had room to improve with all their youngsters. It took them a while, but they're finally looking like a legitimate playoff team with their solid rotation, deep bullpen, and Mannyocity.

Then there's the Giants.

2008-09-12 19:34:01
4.   ToyCannon
What kind of answers would you like regarding the NL West? 2001 World Series Champs came from the West. 2002 World Series Giants came from the West. 2007 World Series Rockies came from the West.
In this decade the West has had more rep's in the WS then any other division.

That is the best I can do. We suck this year but it is not like the other divisions are loaded with talent. The whole NL is kind of crappy.

2008-09-12 21:47:28
5.   Ian Capilouto
That is an interesting thought about how greenies have affected the game. I never thought of it in those terms until you mentioned it. Anyone who has been on the road for weeks at a time realizes how much that will wear you out.
2008-09-13 07:02:46
6.   Josh Wilker
"The Red Sox, Devil Rays, and White Sox are limping into the playoffs."

The Red Sox have actually been playing pretty well lately (knock on wood), and have recently gotten Beckett and Lowell back from injury, with the always iffy J.D. Drew also possibly not far away from returning, too. The Red Sox did lose a couple heartbreakers to Tampa this past week, convincing me that, limping or not, the Satan Rays are still a tight pack of tough, hungry SOBs with an absolutely killer bullpen (though one of their many arms, Percival, seems to be hurting again).

2008-09-13 15:50:48
7.   Will Carroll
If it's greenies, then why didn't it happen last year when the ban went into place? i think its the knowledge of park effects having an unintended consequence.
2008-09-13 16:17:27
8.   Scott Long
It will be interesting to see if this year was some kind of statistical fluke or it will continue. It is not like teams just figured out park effects. I still think the element of amphetamines is being underrated here. 2007 had the lowest amount of teams with winning records on the road of any one this decade, thought it was nowhere close to the wild swings between home/away of 2008. I haven't done the math on what the difference is between home and away during each year of the decade, so if someone wants to do that I would be interested.
2008-09-22 07:41:37
9.   spudrph
You've got a really good point there about amphetamines. Baseball players have young kids, and wives, and get colds, and go through a lot of the crap that we do. Considering all the times I've stumbled into work half dead and mainlined Coke Zero into my skull to get the caffeine levels high enough so that I can complete a sentence without slurring, shouldn't that happen to ballplayers too? Especially on the road, with your knee and shoulder aching, sleeping on a bed that, no matter how comfortable, isn't yours?

I can easily imagine turning to amphetamines to enhance my focus and make those 3 hours during which I have to do my incredibly demanding job easier to handle.

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