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Wednesday, July 14, 2010
In the end, it's just one game


You may, if you like, be surprised that the National League beat the American League. Particularly if you're too young to remember the last time it happened.

I was mildly surprised, because the American League seems to be the better league, and seemed last night to have the better lineup.

But there were two obvious reasons to think the National League had a fighting chance:

1. The collective talents of Josh Johnson, Adam Wainwright, Roy Halladay and Ubaldo Jimenez; and

2. It's just one game, and anyway it's not like the American Leaguers have been crushing the National Leaguers during their streak.

The AL had won seven straight since the tie in 2002, but five of those games were one-run affairs and three of those included late-innings heroics. As much as we like to think the All-Star Games tell us something about the leagues, there's a limit to how much they can tell us.

I don't believe the American League's run of success has been a fluke. I don't believe the National League's long run of success in the 1970s and '80s was a fluke, either. But while the National League went 23-2-1 from 1960 through '82, nine of their wins were by just one run ... and five of those came in extra innings.

So yes, these long streaks are interesting, and even informative. But just moderately. Because this is baseball. Shoot, if Hong-Chih Kuo doesn't throw that ball into right field and Brian McCann's pre-double foul ball falls just inside the field of play rather than just outside it, they might still be playing.