My apologies if it's blatant post-padding to dip into a preview magazine from nearly two decades ago, but I find this fascinating. Here's the opening paragraphs of the cover article, entitled "THE AL IS TAKING CHARGE":
There is nothing God-like about the National League. It is a league drowning in its artificial turf and its bland, homogenuous teams. It is a league filled with human insects. Yes, insects, who scurry around the bases, legs churning maddeningly. Squash them.
Give me muscle. Give me home runs. That is all I ask, and, truthfully, that is what the baseball purist asks, too. We wake up in the morning thinking of 500-foot home runs, the kind you have to squint to see as the ball travels to Saturn. Don't get us bicep freaks wrong: we admire pitching, and we know Jack Morris has no equal in That Other League. But we worship Mark McGwire and Ruben Sierra. We think Vince Coleman is an insect.
Rather provocative stuff, no? I guess we file that under "Be careful what you wish for." At any rate, the context is that 1987 was a great year for offense---particularly homers---whereas the upcoming 1988 wasn't. Many of 1987's pseudo-stars fell flat on their faces. And a very unlikely NL team, the Kirk Gibson Dodgers, walked away with a world title.
* * * *
The Florida Marlins didn't exist in 1988, and this spring many people forgot that they exist now. But exist they do, and they're basically as competitive as competitive gets in the National League (which once again feels inferior). The Nats also exist, and they sort of didn't exist in 1988. But they square off for real in 2006, starting tonight at the football stadium near Miami. Check out Fish Stripes for more on the Marlins, and check out Curly W for more from Fish Stripes.