So good, in fact, that the Blue Jays would be in contention for first place in two other divisions, but instead sit 14 1/2 back of the Yankees. So good that as of Monday night, the five teams had a collective run differential of plus-238, the best in the majors by a healthy margin. So good that the Red Sox could win 90 games this season and not make the playoffs.
It makes for some good baseball and pennant races, but it generally means that a deserving team gets stuck on the outside looking in when October rolls around.
So while most MLB fans will agree that the AL East is the best division in baseball (even with the Orioles locking down fifth place), it's worth asking if it's the best division in all of sports.
Where most fans' minds immediately head toward is the NFC East in the NFL. The Giants, Cowboys, Eagles and even the Redskins are always formidable opponents, with the Giants twice representing the NFC in the Super Bowl this decade and the Eagles making it there in 2004. Still, compared with the AL East, which has produced seven World Series teams and four World Series champions this decade, the NFC East falls a little short. Still, the top-to-bottom talent is perhaps the closest equivalent to the AL East.
In the NBA and NHL, the best divisions seem to change annually. The NBA's Southwest Division is always competitive, with the Spurs, Mavericks and Rockets creating the tough Texas Triangle. The Lakers and Suns provide more than enough talent for the Pacific Division, but the Clippers, Warriors and Kings can't fill out the rest of the division. The Northwest Division sent four teams to the playoffs last season … only one of which advanced past the first round (and only on a technicality, as two of the teams played each other).
In the NHL, the Central Division is tough — just as the Blues, who won 40 games but didn't make the playoffs. Still, there might not be any collection that is truly formidable from top to bottom.
Of course, comparing apples to oranges and peaches to bananas isn't an exact science, but do you think the AL East is the most competitive division in all of sports?
Share your thoughts below.
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