I love the daily routine of baseball. Sunday day games after Saturday night games. Consistent 7:05 pm starts during night games in Baltimore*. The ability to lose a game and not have to wait for days until playing the next one is something no other sport can offer.
The Orioles lost game two of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) to the Kansas City Royals on Saturday afternoon. After a travel day Sunday, Monday’s game three was rained out. It’s been the longest drought of the year for meaningful Baltimore Oriole games.**
This is one of the reasons why I am so antsy for the O’s to resume the series in Kansas City. I want a win in game three, but I also want wins in games four, five, and six. But some of my anxiety will be removed, regardless of the games outcome, once they are played because at least we will know exactly where things stand. If the O’s win tonight, it’s one less game remaining to turn the series around. If the O’s lose tonight, they will have their backs against the wall and have to play at least four elimination games if they want to advance. And tomorrow’s 4:07 first pitch will let us know even more where both teams stand, in addition to the relatively quick turn around time.
Sometimes, not knowing is actually harder than dealing with the reality of the situation.
This isn’t meant as a eulogy, but only as an affirmation of the amazing season we have been lucky enough to witness. If the Orioles aren’t able to come back and their season ends during this series, I will be anything but disappointed. Deep down, I knew the Orioles were better than their preseason predictions and projections. What I didn’t know and couldn’t see coming was that this team would run away with the AL East***, clinch in Mid-September, sweep the favorite Tigers in the ALDS, and come within one or two unfortunate breaks of winning at least one, if not two against the Royals to open the ALCS. And the craziest part? This would happen without Matt Wieters, without Manny Machado, and without Chris Davis.
My only disappointment will be of the normal variety. It happens every year in late September, early October, or possibly mid to late October this year. It’s the realization that baseball is over and done with for 6 months and that comforting routine is packed away for the winter.
In the vastly smart European soccer league format, the top 4 teams in the table (standings) qualify for the next years Champions League, a round robin knock out tournament comprised of the best teams from all over Europe that you play in conjunction with your regular league schedule.
This can’t happen in baseball’s current form and I’m not sure it should, but it’s interesting to look at the top of the MLB “table” and see St. Louis, San Francisco, Kansas City, and Baltimore. The English Premier League equivalent from last year:
The baseball equivalents to those teams are the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, and Tigers, not in any specific order. Some variety of those at least three of those teams, plus Manchester United, usually dominates the top four spots in English football. Its pretty eye opening to think about the Baltimore Orioles EPL team, whoever they are, would finish in the top 4 against all the big money, high revenue generating teams in England.
* Or 7:07 in Toronto, 7:08 in Detroit, or 7:10 in Boston and Tampa. Consistency.
** The days off in between series don’t count, especially when both the Royals and Orioles had the exact same amount of off days. The All Star break also doesn’t count. Maybe the final two weeks of 2014 felt like this for O’s fans but I will usually take a September 16 clinch over one that goes down to the wire.
*** The American League East, said to be in a down year by ESPN and other mainstream media, ended the year with the best division winning record in MLB.