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Difference Between American League and National League

  • Post last modified:March 14, 2023
  • Reading time:7 mins read
  • Post category:Entertainment

Brief overview of the  American League and National League in baseball

The American League and National League are the two main professional baseball leagues in the United States and Canada. The main difference between the two leagues is the use of a designated hitter (DH) in the American League, which allows a team to use a player to bat in place of the pitcher, while the National League does not use the DH and requires the pitcher to bat. Additionally, the American League has the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, and Toronto Blue Jays. The National League has the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, and Washington Nationals.

Difference Between American League and National League

History

The American League and National League were established in 1901, when the National League, which had been the only major league since 1876, agreed to accept four teams from the newly formed American League as part of a merger. The two leagues have operated as separate entities ever since, with the National League being considered the older and more established of the two.

In the early years of the American League, it struggled to establish itself as a major league and was often referred to as the “junior circuit.” However, over time it was able to attract top talent and build strong teams, and by the 1920s, the American League had established itself as the equal of the National League.

The two leagues have undergone several changes throughout their history, such as the AL added teams, the NL contracted teams, and eventually both leagues expanded to have 15 teams each. The leagues also began to play interleague games in 1997, and the All-Star Game between the two leagues, which had been played annually since 1933, became a much-anticipated event.

In recent years, the rivalry between the American League and National League has been less pronounced, as the two leagues have become more similar in terms of rules and regulations, but the distinction between the two leagues still exists to this day.

Structure

The American League and National League are divided into three divisions each: the East, Central, and West. Each division has five teams, with the exception of the AL West which has four teams.

The teams in each league play a 162-game regular season schedule, with most of the games being played against teams within their own division. The teams with the best record in each division, as well as one wild card team from each league (the team with the best record among the non-division winners), advance to the playoffs. The playoffs consist of a best-of-five series for the wild card round, and a best-of-seven series for the division series, league championship series, and the World Series.

Interleague play, which is a regular-season schedule of games between teams of the American League and National League, has been in place since 1997. Each team plays a set number of interleague games each season, usually against teams from the opposite league that are geographically close to them.

The American League and National League also use different rules in certain aspects of the game, such as the designated hitter rule, which allows a team to use a player to bat in place of the pitcher in the American League, but not in the National League. Additionally, the National League teams have to use their pitchers for batting, which is not required in the American League.

Rules and Regulations

The American League and National League have some differences in the rules and regulations of the game of baseball. The most notable difference is the designated hitter (DH) rule. The American League uses the DH rule, which allows a team to use a designated player to bat in place of the pitcher. This means that the pitcher does not have to take their turn at bat, and the DH can be a better offensive player. The National League does not use the DH rule and requires the pitcher to bat.

Another difference is in the pitcher batting rule, where in American League, pitchers do not bat, but in the National League, pitchers must bat. Pitchers are generally considered weaker hitters than position players, so the absence of the pitcher from the batting order in the American League can make the lineup stronger.

In terms of other rules, the two leagues have largely converged over time, but there can be small differences between them such as the number of coaches allowed on the field during games, number of substitutions allowed, and so on.

Additionally, both leagues have its own set of rules for the All-Star game, League Championship Series, and the World Series. These rules may vary depending on the league and are decided by the league’s governing body.

Rivalry

The rivalry between the American League and the National League in baseball dates back to the early 20th century when the American League was first established and began to compete with the National League for players, fans, and overall dominance of the sport.

The two leagues have met in the World Series since 1903, and the American League has won the World Series more times than the National League, with an overall record of 63-47.

The leagues also play an annual All-Star Game, which pits the best players from the American League against the best players from the National League. The All-Star Game has become a major event, with fans voting for the starting lineup, and the winning league earning home-field advantage in the World Series.

There’s also the interleague play which started in 1997, that allows teams from both leagues to play against each other during the regular season, which has added a new level of excitement to the baseball season.

The rivalry between the American League and National League may not be as intense as it once was, but it still remains an important part of baseball history and adds an extra level of excitement to the game, especially during the World Series and All-Star Game.

Conclusion

The American League and National League are the two main professional baseball leagues in the United States and Canada. They were established in 1901 and have operated as separate entities ever since. The main difference between the two leagues is the use of a designated hitter (DH) in the American League and the lack of it in the National League. Additionally, the National League teams require their pitchers to bat, which is not required in the American League.

Throughout their history, the two leagues have undergone several changes and have become more similar in terms of rules and regulations. However, the distinction between the two leagues still exists today, and the rivalry between the American League and National League remains an important part of baseball history. The two leagues also play interleague games and annual All-Star Game and the World Series, which adds an extra level of excitement to the baseball season.

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