By Leighton Schneider
At the start of the MLB season, ESPN asked 44 of its experts what team would win each division and what team would win the World Series. Not surprisingly, only two had either the Baltimore Orioles or Kansas City Royals in the World Series, and both experts had the teams losing. Only five of the experts had the Orioles making the playoffs, while 15 experts had the Royals making the playoffs.
The American League Championship Series starts on Friday, and despite all the experts’ doubts heading into the year, one of these teams will get a chance to go to the World Series. This will be significant for both franchises, as neither team has made the Series since the 1980s.
The Orioles and the Royals have the sixth and seventh longest current World Series droughts the MLB — 30 years and 28 years, respectively. One of these teams will get the chance to end its drought this year when they play in the American League Championship Series.
Even though neither of these teams have been in the playoffs very often or are in the top media markets in the country, this series will be great for baseball.
It will give fans across the country a chance to see two teams that do not have a great history in the playoffs. The Orioles have won three World Series, while the Royals have just one in the franchise’s history.
While this is probably not what TV executives would have wanted for the ALCS, it will still draw viewers because of the differences between the teams.
During the regular season, the Orioles led the league in home runs, while the Royals did not even hit 100. On the other hand, the Royals led the MLB in stolen bases with 153, which was 109 more than the last place Orioles.
The Royals are continuing their small-ball tactics during the post-season, having already stolen 12 bases in four games, more than all other post-season teams combined. While some teams might call them boring, their tactics are effective. They already have scored 24 runs.
The Royals and the Orioles played against each other seven times this season, with the Royals winning four.
The Orioles are also continuing to do what they did during the regular season, and that is hitting the crap out of the ball. In their three game sweep of the Detroit Tigers, they scored 21 runs and hit four home runs. They are hitting home runs at a higher percentage than they did in the regular season.
That said, I think that the Royals will win the ALCS due to their pitching staff. Against the Angels, who had the best record in baseball, the Royals pitching staff had 25 strikes outs and held the Angels to a .170 batting average.
Leighton Schneider is the Multimedia Editor for The Fordham Ram.