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A league I love to hate

Updated: 2013-03-31 07:41
By Dusty Lane (China Daily)

A league I love to hate

It's time to come clean, National League. I don't like you very much.

I just turned 35, and I'm from the American League city of Seattle, and I'm not that sophisticated to begin with. So it makes sense. A 52-year-old rocket scientist from Philadelphia might rightfully consider me an idiot.

But you know what? I like the designated-hitter rule. If there was no designated hitter, I would've been deprived of watching the Seattle Mariners' Edgar Martinez deliver 2,247 of the purest right-handed hits the game's ever seen - hits launched by a swing so sublime, one of my good friends actually has a three-year-old son named Edgar running around - in favor of watching pitchers like Randy Johnson lay down embarrassingly awful bunts in key situations.

On the plus side, not having a DH gives you one-ninth more opportunities to hustle to the bathroom.

If you grew up a Los Angeles Dodgers fan, I suppose it's fair if you developed a certain appreciation for watching former manager Tommy Lasorda sweatily scratch his butt in the top of the seventh inning while he debated whether to pinch-hit for a pitcher with a three-hitter going.

You know what I appreciated? Watching Martinez hit a double that drove home Joey Cora and Ken Griffey Jr. in Game 5 of the 1995 American League Division Series, clinching it in the bottom of the 11th inning, sending the Mariners to their first ALCS and probably saving the franchise from being sold and relocated. I was at that game, and I'm still hoarse from all the yelling I did after that hit.

So pardon me if I don't get all excited watching Cole Hamels bat twice a game for the Phillies.

In no particular order, five more things I hate about the National League:

- The Mets. We all count on New York to provide a villain in every sport. The Mets have been so bad for so long, you can't even get a good hatred worked up. I attended one game at the old Shea Stadium, and I mostly just felt sorry for the fans there.

- Barry Bonds. Yeah he's long gone, but maybe if he'd had a DH to help him out some on offense, he wouldn't have felt the need to triple the size of his head and trash the record books.

- The Rockies. I went to a game at Coors Field once and suffered a bad sunburn thanks to the thin atmosphere in Denver. A minor quibble, but I hold grudges.

- Jeffrey Loria. With apologies to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, Loria is the worst professional-sports owner in the US. The man ruined baseball in not one, but two cities. First he went scorched-earth on the Montreal Expos, eventually shipping them off to Washington. Then he bought the Miami Marlins, slimed his way into getting the city to build him a new retractable-roof stadium, then immediately dismantled the team, leaving the already cash-strapped city with an expensive, empty home for an awful team.

Dusty Lane is a sports copy editor who is picking the Dodgers to win the NL, for the record. Reach him at

(China Daily 03/31/2013 page8)

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