Question of the Week:
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 18:09
The Baltimore Orioles haven’t won the American League East since 1997, but 2012 may be their year.
Only one game back from the New York Yankees, they have a very soft schedule with only 13 games left in the regular season. They will host and then travel to Boston for six extremely winnable games against the stagnant Red Sox and host a four-game series against Toronto. Both Boston and Toronto are looking at sub- .500 seasons and a determined Orioles should be able to post some solid W’s.
However, New York won’t let Baltimore take the division easily. The Yankees are also looking at a relatively gentle schedule to close out their season. The most trouble that they’ll be seeing is a three-game series against a strong Oakland squad and a road trip to Toronto.
I’m not quite prepared to start calling for a Baltimore World Series appearance, but I would really like to see the Orioles take the division and land in the postseason. If Nick Markakis and Adam Jones can keep their eye on the ball and put up solid numbers that may be a very realistic possibility. Unfortunately, they don’t have all the power; they need to see the Yankees take on a few, critical late-season losses.
For me, the answer is clear. The Baltimore Orioles are looking for their first postseason bid since 1997, and no fanbase deserves a shot at a ring more than the much-maligned Orioles fans.
As to why they in particular would be great to see in the post season, you can simply look at their stats and the way that they play.
They are third in the major leagues in home runs (including back-to-back-to-back home runs in a game, as well as a Chris Davis three-home-run night), have a fantastic, historic record in one-run games and go to extra innings more than any team. All of these ingredients make up a team that fights hard until the end of every game, pulls out ridiculous comebacks and hits the long ball well.
The old saying is that “chicks dig the long ball,” but in reality, America as a whole is in love with home runs, and so am I. They add randomness and excitement to any game, and make the Orioles arguably the most exciting playoff team.
The Oakland Athletics are another exciting team that plays the game the right way with exciting players like Cespedes and Reddick, and they definetly deserve an honorable mention, but the Orioles brand of baseball is so exciting that Baltimore easily wins out as the most exciting team to watch.
The two biggest surprise stories in baseball are separated by a mere 40 miles, but neither will hold my interest come playoff time. The Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles both make for great talking points, but if you plan on watching (and staying awake) for nine innings of one of their playoff games, I tip my cap to you.
My team to watch though, besides my beloved Yankees, would be the Los Angeles Dodgers. The storylines are truly endless: Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Josh Beckett, Clayton Kershaw, Adrian Gonzalez, Magic Johnson and, oh, did you guys forget about Matt Kemp as well?
The Dodgers are currently right in the thick of the chase for the second wild card spot, trailing the St. Louis Cardinals. I don’t think they have enough starting pitching depth after Kershaw to make a significant run against the likes of the Cincinnatti Reds with Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos, San Francisco Giants with Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and a possibly revitalized Tim Lincecum and the Nationals with Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman and even Ross Detwiler. But regardless, you better believe I will be pulling for the Dodgers to keep advancing.