Cheap Seats

Fans vote with their pocketbooks: NL baseball is better

National League style baseball wins in a landslide when fans vote with their pocketbooks.

While other factors -- like the success of the team on the field, the atmosphere at the games and the price of attendance are surely a consideration -- when there is a National League team and an American League team competing for fans in the same market, the NL team almost always wins out.

Los Angeles: The Dodgers are outdrawing the Angels this season by nearly 3,000 people per game -- even though the Halos are the club that went on the off-season spending spree, buying Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in an effort to boost their profile and their crowd counts. So far it hasn't worked -- at all -- even though the Dodgers have been without Matt Kemp for a large portion of the season because of two stays on the disabled list. The Dodgers got off to the better start. But the Angels had the momentum at the start of the season with their splashy acquisitions while the NL counterpart's hands were tied during the winter thanks to the bankruptcy and pending sale of the team.

Chicago: The First place White Sox are drawing 20,892 per game as they reside in first place in the American League Central. Meanwhile the Cubs have the second-worst record in baseball: 18-35. So, why do the Wee Bears average 37,297 per game? Don't say it's their quaint, old time ballpark. Because the White Sox had one of those, too. And they tore it down to replace it with a modern stadium to try to attract fans.

Washington D.C./Baltimore: The Orioles got out to a surprisingly good first quarter of the season and have been in first place most of the time. They have what many people to believe to be the best ballpark in baseball. But they're averaging 24.436 per game while the Nationals are pulling in 28,308 while battling in a three-way tie for first place in the NL East.

San Francisco/Oakland: The Giants are in first place in the NL West while the A's are in last in the AL West. But it's no surprise to see San Francisco out-draw Oakland because the Giants consistently do it year in and year out. What is surprising this season is the margin. San Francisco is pulling in more than twice the fans with 41,465 per game compared to the Athletics' 20,218 average.

New York: This is the only competitive market in which the American League team has an advantage. And it might have a little something to do with the fact that the American League Yankees are the most successful franchise in baseball history when it comes to winning championships. Meanwhile the Mets are a team largely devoid of stars that have an unfortunate link to scandalous swindler Bernie Madoff. The Yankees draw a hair shy of 41,000 per game while the Mets are bringing in 27,500.

Does this directly mean that the fans of baseball have overwhelmingly rejected the designated hitter. I don't know. But I do know that guys who have spend time managing in both leagues like Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and Whitey Herzog pretty consistently say they like the National League style of play better.