Monday, October 6, 2014

Long time coming for Orioles and Royals fans

A chance to advance to the World Series is coming to a ballpark in Kansas City and Baltimore.

After barely winning the wild card play-in game, the Kansas City Royals swept the Los Angeles Angels, the winningest MLB team during the regular season. The Royals’ opponent, the Baltimore Orioles, beat the Detroit Tigers who strung together three straight Cy Young Award winners yet failed to win a single game in the best-of-five series.

Now two clubs, both certainly in the discussion at the beginning of the season among teams which could make some noise in 2014, yet not heavily favored, are four wins away from reaching the World Series. Neither of them has been there in three decades. One of them will advance and their championship starved fans will finally experience the excitement of a World Series game.

Each of these teams’ franchise history is rich with postseason success; just not too much in recent memory. While the Orioles made the 2012 playoffs, they were disposed of by the New York Yankees in the division series. Prior to that they last made the playoffs in 1997 when they reached the position they are in now. That squad lost to the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS. The '96 O's lost to the Yankees in the ALCS.

As for the Royals, they’ve had a much longer wait to reach this mark. Prior to this season, the last time there was a postseason game in Kauffman Stadium it was Game 7 of the 1985 World Series in which they were crowned champions.

Without exaggeration, both the Orioles’ and Royals’ fans are rabid with excitement. Camden Yards has been filled with Orange and Black while Kaufmann Stadium has looked like a sea of blue. And the noise? Well, it’s been inspiring to say the least.

There is no doubt that the fanbase from each city is reveling in the exhilaration of postseason play because they know all too well how fleeting it can be. They understand that it takes more than just a good season to get there, but requires some breaks along the way and then some solid play once the stress of the playoffs begins, in order to proceed to the next round.

Only one team will move forward, the other sent back to the drawing board to figure out how to advance further in 2015. Actually, there is no assurance that will happen, win or lose.

Expect throngs of Baltimore and Kansas City fans to fill the respective ballparks and never let the noise die down because they simply can’t and won’t take the situation for granted.

Winning is not assured, and not many know that better than Orioles and Royals fans.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer and sports media strategist. His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports, the FanSided network, Sportsideo and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In.