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Before getting started, the National League wishes to recognize some very successful owners and re-builders, each of whom have helped to create very competitive seasons–season after season.  Over the years, the National League has benefited from diversity of ownership and moderate parity between some very talented owners.  Camarillo, West Coast (newly departed), Long Beach, Iron City, and the newly departed Owensboro–just to name a few.  Not only is the NL the best league in MWBL (as the NL’s 11-4 World Series record proves), but it is incredibly fun to play against such fierce competitors with impeccable sportsmanship.  As a side note, reviewing the AL-NL World Series record revealed a shocking statistic–of the NL’s 10 World Series Championships, Tempe won 7, Kentucky 2, Sacramento 1, and MWBL’s very first champion, Merrick; so, while competition has been intense among a wide variety of teams, greater parity can only make the NL better!

SacramentoThis year’s National League Championship Series was a match-up of the two teams with the best regular season performance, National League or American League notwithstanding.  Comparing the 28 MWBL teams, Tempe was the best, bar none; but Sacramento was a close second.  Tempe and Sacramento finished the regular season with the two best records in the league, with Tempe finishing 134-28 and Sacramento finishing 114-48.  As Table 1 and Table 2 show below, Tempe’s defense was marginally better than Sacramento’s–Sacramento gave up only 2 more runs than Tempe over the course of the entire season.  The key difference in their overall records: Tempe’s offense; Tempe outscored Sacramento 928 to 751–more than one full run per game–over the course of the season.

TempeAll this to say, the NLCS brought together two of the best two teams in 2012.  On paper, Tempe had a significant advantage.  Not just because of the stats noted above.  But, more telling than all of this was their head-to-head record during the 2012 season: Tempe won 11 of 12 games during 2012, and gave little hope to the Sacramento squad approached the Game 1.

The regular season is not the only reason Sacramento’s expectations were, well, less than optimistic prior to the NLCS.  Sacramento has a history of playing well during the regular season, and doing well, at least of late, in the Division Series.  In fact, Sacramento’s reached the Division Series 10 times in 15 seasons, winning 7 of these 10 series (all of which since 2003).  But, Sacramento’s NLCS record was NOT GOOD, going 1-6 in NLCS series since 2003. Just to remind you:

2002 — Kentucky defeated Los Angeles (4-0)
2004 — Tempe defeated Los Angeles (4-1)
2005 — Tempe defeated Los Angeles (4-3) (Sacramento’s almost Boston moment, almost turning it around after being down 0-3)
2007 — Tempe defeated Los Angeles (4-0)
2009 — Kentucky defeated Sacrament (4-1)
2010 — Iron City defeated Sacramento (4-1)
2011 — Sacramento defeated Jersey (4-2)

In stark contrast, Tempe has never lost a NLCS series.

2008 – Tempe defeated Northridge (4-2)
2007 – Tempe defeated Los Angeles (4-0)
2006 – Tempe defeated Kentucky (4-0)
2005 – Tempe defeated Los Angeles (4-3)
2004 – Tempe defeated Los Angeles (4-1)
2003 – Tempe defeated Kentucky (4-1)
2001 – Tempe defeated Johnstown (4-1)
2000 – Tempe defeated Kentucky (4-2)
1999 – Tempe defeated Staunton (4-0)
1998 – Tempe defeated Northridge (4-1)

Hope was never lost, however.  Sacramento took great solace in the fact that the only year in the 11-year period between 1998 and 2008 when Tempe did not win the NLCS was the result of Sacramento’s sweep of Tempe (3-0) in the 2002 Division Series.  Not only this, but while Tempe’s 2012 statistics suggested a strong advantage over Sacramento, the teams actually matched up well.  Tempe had a decided offensive advantage, the two teams were pretty even defensively, and Sacramento’s pitching duo of Verlander and Lee gave Sacramento a clear advantage on the mound.  This year’s NLCS will, once again, rekindle the Tempe-Sacramento rivalry and the age-old debate: bats v. arms.

This debate, and Game 1, commences shortly.  Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re anticipating a nail-biter.

FRIDAY 10/18/2019
AT 10:00 AM - ET!