The Baltimore Orioles felt that they had a legit shot at a World Series title in 2014. After Delmon Young‘s bases-clearing double to in effect win game two of the ALDS and an anti-climactic win in game three to close out Detroit, they had momentum. Then they ran into a buzz saw in Kansas City.
In the Kansas City Royals, they found not only an opponent who equaled their belief in themselves, but one who wanted to do everything in it’s power to squash their opponent. As Buck Showalter would often say, some days you’re the windshield and some days you’re the bug.
In watching this year’s NLCS, I see some similarities. St. Louis won a big game five in Atlanta to get to that stage. A game in which they put up ten runs in the first inning to win. They felt they had momentum, and they believed. Now they’ve run into the Washington Nationals.
Now this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison by any means. First off, the 2014 Orioles were a power-hitting team, and Kansas City won games on broken bat and bloop singles. In this case it’s Washington who’s more of the power-hitting team. However they’re also the team who’s seemingly got more pep than a high school cheerleading squad. That’s part of what carried Kansas City in 2014 and 2015.
So I suppose what I’m saying is that Orioles fans know what St. Louis fans are doing through right about now. I remember getting read to cover Game Four of that ALCS with Kansas City up three games to zero. My attitude was almost is there really a point to playing this game? Obviously that’s probably a bad attitude to have, but you get the point.
There is one other area in which these situations differ. Kansas City made sure that the Orioles knew they were going down, and they made sure that the Orioles saw their celebrations. Down the stretch there were numerous gestures made towards the Orioles from the Kansas City dugout in those games. I’ve seen nothing that indicates Washington’s team has guys capable of that sort of disrespect.
However the point is that Orioles fans probably get St. Louis fans in this instance. Of course you want to believe it’s possible that you can come back and so forth. However in the back of your mind you know it’s all but a done deal. And ultimately if St. Louis is able to pull off what the 2014 Orioles couldn’t (and win a game in the series), it’ll feel almost like a one-day stay of execution.