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Their last winning season came in 1997. Only one member of their Opening Day starting rotation remains, a 27-year-old from Taiwan who hadn't pitched in the majors before this year. The others have been replaced by a Red Sox cast-off picked up from the Mexican League, an ex-prospect with a career ERA of 5.5 in his first three years, and the son of one of their former pitchers, a throw-in in a 2009 trade with the Dodgers. They have only one regular hitting over .270, they're missing two-thirds of their Opening Day outfield, and their 20-year-old third baseman started the year at AA. Nate Silver's PECOTA projection system reckoned they'd finish in last place, 24 games behind the Yankees. And tomorrow night, the Baltimore Orioles will play their first postseason game in 15 years.

Only one current Oriole played in that game; and it was veteran Jim Thome, playing for the other team.

Longtime Birds fans remember the last time the Orioles contended deep into the season after years of futility, and hope the story has a happier ending in 2012.

Tomorrow's opponent is the two-time defending AL champion Texas Rangers, who in 2007 delivered the Orioles the most brutal pasting in modern baseball history. It's a battle between an overachieving and very lucky underdog versus an ultratalented team that can't seem to get all the way to a title. A team owned by a Democratic superPAC million-dollar donor versus a team once partially owned by George W. Bush. Baltimore at Texas, 8:30 EST start. This is wild card baseball! This is Orioles Magic!
posted by escabeche (87 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
Buy the movie rights NOW.
posted by msalt at 9:11 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let's Go Oakland!
posted by wherever, whatever at 9:18 PM on October 4, 2012 [12 favorites]


Based on their runs scored/allowed and expected runs scored/allowed due to their underlying stats, the Orioles won 11-14 more games than expected this year.
posted by thecjm at 9:24 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I grew up as an Os fan in montgomery county md and I just want to say: Go Nats and bite me Angelos.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:27 PM on October 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


their 20-year-old third baseman

Experience is great, but there are some things you just can't teach. Machado is amazing.
posted by clearly at 9:31 PM on October 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm rooting for the Orioles in this because I hate the Rangers, but really let's go The Yankees.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:31 PM on October 4, 2012


Buy the movie rights NOW.

They already made the movie.
posted by chrominance at 9:33 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


the Orioles won 11-14 more games than expected this year.

Going 16-2 in extra inning certainly helped.
posted by clearly at 9:35 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm still mad at the O's for stealing Adam Jones from the Mariners. Hmm. It's not really the O's I'm mad at, is it?
posted by Fnarf at 9:40 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


the Baltimore Orioles will play their first postseason game in 15 years

I'm a Pirates fan, god help me, and I can only imagine what this must be like. Let's go Orioles!
posted by sendai sleep master at 9:42 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Up yours, Bavasi.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 9:44 PM on October 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm a Pirates fan, god help me, and I can only imagine what this must be like.

There are college graduates with no memory of the Pittsburgh Pirates having a winning season, rather like how the Berlin Wall exists only in history books.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 9:50 PM on October 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile, we in Cubs Land have been ignoring the fact that this baseball team even exists for the last month.

So: go A's go!
posted by sc114 at 9:56 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sigh. As a Royals fan, I will probably take a break from trying to clone Geroge Brett and cheer for Baltimore.
posted by dismas at 9:57 PM on October 4, 2012


There are college graduates with no memory of the Pittsburgh Pirates having a winning season, rather like how the Berlin Wall exists only in history books.

This is going to sound really bad, but I'd actually forgotten the Pittsburgh Pirates existed until you brought them up just now.
posted by chrominance at 9:58 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


There sure are some terrific Not Yankees to root for this year. Go Orioles/A's/ExposNats/Giants, go!
posted by gompa at 10:05 PM on October 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Is the Orioles making the playoffs really a good thing? Most likely they have been playing over their heads, and will lose early and often in the playoffs.
posted by gyp casino at 10:12 PM on October 4, 2012


I didn't know that Nate Silver was still predicting baseball. He's doing pretty well now with political elections, but that's probably easier because there are only two teams.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:16 PM on October 4, 2012


Is the Orioles making the playoffs really a good thing? Most likely they have been playing over their heads, and will lose early and often in the playoffs.

Is there a team in the AL that really looks superior? The Yankees look old, the Rangers look tired, I'm not sure who won the AL Central (or if it matters), and the A's have overachieved every bit as much as the Orioles.
posted by A dead Quaker at 10:24 PM on October 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is the Orioles making the playoffs really a good thing? Most likely they have been playing over their heads, and will lose early and often in the playoffs.

Well with this new wild-card format, one loss would be enough. But I still don't see how making the playoffs would be a bad thing.

I think it's great. But, and I can say this as a Baltimore native, wouldn't it just be *so* Orioles to make the playoffs after a 15 year absence, then be eliminated after one game?
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:30 PM on October 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Random fact if you don't follow baseball since way back:

The Orioles used to be a great franchise. They went to the World Series six times between 1966 and 1983. And when I was a kid in the mid-80s, even as they were going downhill I remember them bragging about having the best all-time winning percentage of any franchise.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:32 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is there a team in the AL that really looks superior?
The Tampa Bay Rays, LA Angels, and Chicago White Sox all have a significantly better run differential than the Orioles. Most believe run differential is more indicative of a team's strength than win-loss record.
posted by gyp casino at 10:35 PM on October 4, 2012


I'm a Pirates fan, god help me, and I can only imagine what this must be like.

There are college graduates with no memory of the Pittsburgh Pirates having a winning season, rather like how the Berlin Wall exists only in history books.


Not to make anybody feel old but, just to confirm this, I AM a college graduate (currently a graduate student) with no memory of the Bucs having a winning season. We sure do have a heck of a ballpark though.....
posted by sendai sleep master at 11:11 PM on October 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was at all three recent Seattle Orioles games, batting practice on through.

Three guys from the coaching staff of the Orioles hung out in the outfield right in front of the outfield bar area where it is traditional,to wheedle players for toss-up balls during batting practice. I am not familier enough with them to name them, but among them were a shortish, stocky silver-haired ruddy-faced guy who leaned on an orange and black-taped bat the entire time and looked like the reincarnation of Earl Weaver, and a very tall, skinny fellow with a white moustache.

No other team's coaching staff did anything like it all year that I know of and I believe I attended about 25 of the games at Safeco this year, maybe a bit more, nearly always in time for batting practice.

Tall and skinny chucked more balls to the fans than any other player, all three games.

That said, on the closing day of the M's season, right up to the National Anthem, the
Rangers - A's game was on the jumbotron and the monitors and every time Oakland would score or make a play all 400 people attending the game would yell their heads off.
posted by mwhybark at 11:21 PM on October 4, 2012


"Is the Orioles making the playoffs really a good thing?"

Actually, it could be a disaster. The owner, Satan Peter Angelos bought the team and ran it into the ground. He's basically put just enough cash into it to keep it alive but not nearly enough to actually compete with New York, Boston, or even Tampa.

So lightning has struck, and Buck Showalter should definitely get manager of the year honors, but statistically there's no way this should have happened.

And I bleed orange and black so I'm happy about this on an obvious level, but cynical me realizes that this is just going to ensure that Angelos never spends the money he should (and can) on this team, and next season we'll go back to competing with Toronto for last-place honors.

Mark my words -- great young talent like Machado and Jone won't even be traded away next season, they'll simply be liquidated for cash.

So yeah, fuck Angelos.
posted by bardic at 11:41 PM on October 4, 2012


Machado is so much fun. We saw him in the minors and he had this huge goofy grin. I hope he has a long and positive career.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:07 AM on October 5, 2012


Also for some context on just how bad the organization had been until this season, one of their former star players killed himself in part due to his sense of failure as a front-office manager almost exactly one year ago.
posted by bardic at 12:57 AM on October 5, 2012


Just because their owner is a miserable, short-sighted prick doesn't mean I still don't love seeing my hometown team (with an amazing culture and history that precedes Angelos) succeed against the big budget perrennial overdogs. Buckle up, haters!
posted by electricsandwich138 at 3:30 AM on October 5, 2012


I'm a Giants fan. So yeah, Go Orioles!
posted by chavenet at 3:50 AM on October 5, 2012


I had a long thing written up about my Orioles fandom and what this means to me, but then I decided, what the hell. Suffice it to say that Angelos is a prick, there are serious doubts about the team's ability to do this next year, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them lose tonight, but goddamn if this isn't one of the most incredible feelings I've ever felt as a sports fan.
posted by downing street memo at 4:15 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am rooting for the Orioles. They are still in the bottom half of of the major leagues in terms of payroll. Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for the 1% to win. Yuck.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 4:25 AM on October 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I grew up in Maryland and at the age of ten, I started to look into the baseball fan thing so I could join in lunchtime chatting. It was 1988.

It didn't work out between me and baseball.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:31 AM on October 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I grew up an Orioles fan. Win or lose, I'd go just to see those guys play. Even in the winless era of the late '90s, their fielding game was pure poetry. And Ripken, Ripken!

I guess they began to lose me in July 2000, when many of my favourite players were traded away. But Camden Yards on a humid summer's evening is still my happy place, and I'd be glad to see the Os do well.

The possibility, however remote, of a DC/Baltimore Series makes me bounce for gleeeeeee.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:43 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Say what you want about Peter Angelos, but he will always be on my good side for being one of the only owners who opposed the '94 strike, refused to use replacement players and backed Fay Vincent, The Last Real Commissioner of Baseball.

(Bud Selig has all the management skill and integrity of a bag of salted dicks.)
posted by delfin at 5:01 AM on October 5, 2012


I grew up as an Os fan in montgomery county md and I just want to say: Go Nats and bite me Angelos.

MoCo in the house! And I totally agree. I went to a Red Sox-Os game last weekend, and while I was rooting for the Sox, I will allow that the Baltimore crowd is more fired up than I've seen since the 1980s. In fact, it was the first time in several decades that I'd been to a Boston-Baltimore game where there was more orange and black than red and blue.

But I'm definitely all for the Nats this year, maybe because I'm no longer a Marylander. They've been awesome, and I think they deserve it more. I'm only sad that I wasn't there to see Teddy win for the first time ever.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:08 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


My brother's a lifelong Orioles fan and I'm a Red Sox fan, so we often go to games together at Camden Yards when the Sox are in Baltimore. Though the Sox have had a terrible season this year, I was still able to enjoy 2012 thanks to the Os unexpectedly great season, because it makes me happy to see my brother happy that his team is finally out of the basement for once. As much as I like going to Camden Yards and seeing a ton of Red Sox fans, something isn't right when they outnumber the fans of the home team and it's heartening to see the Orioles fans come out and cheer for their team. I don't remember ever hearing the crowd so amped up at games like I have this year, especially in the last month or so.

I really hope the Os win tonight. My brother got us tickets to a couple of the division series playoff games if the Os get in.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:10 AM on October 5, 2012


Experience is great, but there are some things you just can't teach. Machado is amazing.

Machado, Mike Trout and Bryce Harper make me really hopeful that the days of pure slugging, pure fireball are going to wane a little.

You have three 20 or young players who are hungry, smart and do so much more on the field than hit the ball hard. All three play plus defence, run the bases extremely well and are a nightmare to play against...plus, they're unbelievably fun to watch. Machado is particular has a habit of making big plays at crucial times in the game, adding to his folklore.

I don't know of anyone in the AL who really has the pitching and experience to be guaranteed a run to a pennant. The Yankees' veteran line-up may be their saving grace; for all their faults, they've been here before and don't panic when things are going wrong. If the Orioles figure that out quick, this might be a magic year for them. Texas are reeling and the Tigers are getting hot at the right time (as is Oakland), so it's really going to be a fun post-season.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 5:11 AM on October 5, 2012


(Bud Selig has all the management skill and integrity of a bag of salted dicks.)

And yet, right now, he looks like he's probably the best commissioner among the big four North American leagues.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:13 AM on October 5, 2012


And yet, right now, he looks like he's probably the best commissioner among the big four North American leagues.

So, that makes Goodell a truck of salted cocks, Stern a truck of sour cream and onion cocks, and Bettman a fucking idiot who just ordered two trucks of cocks and is eating them by the bucket.
posted by eriko at 5:28 AM on October 5, 2012 [13 favorites]


Red Sox fan here and the only thing better this year for us than Bobby V getting frog marched outta town yesterday would be seeing the O's and the A's compete for a chance at the Series.

The Yankees are smug, boring baseball. (And as someone who lived in Seattle for 10 years - don't. get. me. started. about. Ichiro!)

The Rangers are a great team with great uniforms and great ability to CHOKE. Wish we could wrestle Ron Washington away from them, though.

Here's to the Birds and Buck "Going to the Show" Showalter!
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 5:34 AM on October 5, 2012


Normally, I'd bitch about the stupid one day playoff, but guess what? If we were running the old rules, we'd have had a one day playoff for the wild card slot, because Baltimore and Texas both ended 93-68.

Of course, the team that doesn't belong is the 88-74 Tigers, because both Tampa Bay (90-72) and the Angles (89-73) have better records.

No screw jobs in the NL, though -- the closest is that the 94-68 Braves have to fight for a playoff sport, while the 94-68 Giants are in. But at least the top five teams are in the post season.

No 100 win teams, only two 100 loss teams, and amusingly, someone managed to suck more than the Cubs. Which, of course is why Cincy and St. Louis made the playoffs, the two worst teams in baseball were in the NL Central, The Cubs (61-101) and Houston (55-107.) Having a dog in your division is a few wins in the bag, having two dogs is a gift.
posted by eriko at 5:35 AM on October 5, 2012


Having a dog in your division is a few wins in the bag, having two dogs is a gift.

Isn't this arguably a flaw of the unbalanced schedule?

Yes, I'm still moaning about the unbalanced schedule after like a decade. Of course, you don't really need divisions at all--the playoffs could be done with the top four from a league table qualifying.
posted by hoyland at 5:56 AM on October 5, 2012


I've lived in the US for around 11 years now, and the first place I moved to was Baltimore. For three years I lived in a rowhouse right by Camden Yards (on the same street at the Babe Ruth museum) I could sit on my stoop and hear the crowd. I went to a whole load of baseball games while I lived there, at least 15 a season. Every year I (and everyone I know) has said "I'll be happy if we make it to .500" This season's been awesome.

And our bullpen. Holy crap.
posted by gaspode at 6:32 AM on October 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think we got a fair shot of taking the Yanks in a series, but the one-off against the Ranger's is pretty nerve racking.

I am thrilled with this season win or lose tonight, but I really, really want the O's to get revenge for what happened last time they were in the playoffs.
posted by spaltavian at 6:43 AM on October 5, 2012


I grew up in PG County. I was never a big baseball fan, but I do remember rooting for the O's so hard in 1988 because I used to listen to Baltimore's 98 Rock on my way to and from work in Columbia, and poor Bob Rivers had pledged to stay on the air until they won their first game for the season. He'd read bedtime stories to his kids over the radio, which was terribly cute.

11 days on the air, until they *finally* won one. 0-21 start, forsooth.
posted by hanov3r at 6:58 AM on October 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I didn't watch baseball as a kid, and came around to the sport in my early 20s. I've been an O's fan for about 8 years or so, and have been an apologetic one at that. Baseball, for me, has been a way to wile away a few happy hours, vaguely paying attention to the game, sipping on a beer and talking with friends. Going to the stadium was a low-stakes affair where it's nice if you win, and still nice if you don't. The Orioles, rarely having any skin the game after the first few weeks, made it easy to be a lackadaisical fan who viewed Baseball as less a spectator sport, and more of a good way to take a mid-day nap.

I do not handle real baseball very well.

I've been nervous all week. It's like how I start feeling towards the end of the Football season, when it's down to 1 or 2 games to wrap up a playoff berth, but instead of one day out of the week it's 4 or 5. I don't understand how fans of perennially good teams do this.

Anyway, I have to say that I'm happy regardless of the outcome. At the start of the season a friend who hates baseball as a sport made several bets against the O's breaking 500, and I decided to go renegade and make a small bet on them taking the AL East. I can't believe I was 2 games away from winning it (also he got soaked on the 500 bets, which makes it worth while).

Year of the bird, baby!
posted by codacorolla at 7:00 AM on October 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Two words. Buck. .
posted by spicynuts at 7:18 AM on October 5, 2012


I work next to Camden Yards at a bar called The Bullpen. I'm the guy that holds the "Cheap Ass Beer" sign. If you know who I am, stop by and say hi!

I've worked at the bar for three seasons now and this season has been so much different than the others both fiscally and morale wise, especially towards the end of the season when typically we'd open at 4pm and close at 7pm when the game started due to their being no one around going to the games.

While attendance has been up and people are happy, Orioles fans are bitter. Very bitter. Despite winning quite a bit, August of this year was exactly the same as August of the other years. 10k attendance figures was the norm. It's going to take a lot for people to come back in numbers it seems. People really only started to come out when they made a large section of the seats FOUR DOLLARS apiece. Usually they are the high price of ten dollars. This mixed with the fact that you can bring your own food in makes Camden Yards probably the most fan friendly in baseball in terms of cost to attend. Winning and inexpensive were nothing compared to the years of losing and bad ownership.

Regardless, it's been a fun year even if I railed against the fans not coming in the amount that suited me.

Sadly, I'm pretty sure they are going to fuck it up tonight and the choice of Joe Saunders as the starting pitcher does nothing to allay those fears. Trust me, though, if the O's win I'm going to whoop and go absolutely apeshit. LET'S GO O'S!!!
posted by josher71 at 7:20 AM on October 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Sigh. As a Royals fan, I will probably take a break from trying to clone George Brett and cheer for Baltimore.

George Brett, huh? True story. (possibly NSFW audio)
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:33 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is Orioles Magic!

Why not post a better Orioles song?

Or just one that's just goofy?
posted by snottydick at 7:40 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the O's low run differential (runs scored minus runs allowed) is amazing and difficult to explain in view of their winning record. Look at the "DIFF" column here for some points of comparison - most other playoff teams have run differentials widely spaced around +100 but Baltimore is +7. They were in negative territory for much of the season.

My town has a team in the playoffs for the first time since 1933. I'm hoping for a Nationals/Orioles World Series.
posted by exogenous at 7:48 AM on October 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Snottydick, those are great. Thanks for posting.
posted by josher71 at 7:58 AM on October 5, 2012


Good on you, Baltimore. (If you were going to have a run, I'm glad it was in a year when the Sox sucked anyway so I can be happy for you.) The AL East is a rough place.
posted by maryr at 8:43 AM on October 5, 2012


clearly: "their 20-year-old third baseman

Experience is great, but there are some things you just can't teach. Machado is amazing.
"

That was the most incredible instinctual play I've ever seen. I just scared the cats hooting, and watched it like five times.
posted by notsnot at 8:52 AM on October 5, 2012


The Yankees are smug, boring baseball.

Says a guy who's never been to Camden Yards in a losing O's season in August, in a game against the Red Sox. Smug's not even the word for the Sox fans who invade Camden Yards and act like disrespectful idiots.

One of the perennial disappointments of Orioles fandom is having your stadium invaded by fairweather Red Sox and Yankee fans without fail, every July, August, and September, when the home team is hapless and the away team is usually cruising to yet another division title or wild-card spot. These folks actively lead cheers against the O's - "let's go Red Sox", to which the reply is usually "you're from Fairfax" (because they inevitably are). They throw things at and spill beer on Orioles fans.

I won't lie: a lot of my joy over this Orioles season is because it's a big f-you to those people.
posted by downing street memo at 9:07 AM on October 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Someone on reddit just posted this striking chart of Baltimore and Washington baseball performance over the past 15 years.
posted by exogenous at 9:09 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was at every post-season game when the O's broke my heart in 1979 (and probably 70% of the regular season...Section 34, Upper Deck, Row 17). I still can't listen to "We Are Family" without wanting to puke. I moved away in '82 and watched the '83 Series from afar. I have in my possession two 29 year old "Baltimore Orioles World Champion" window stickers just waiting to be used.

I'm willing to bet they won't be used this year, but who cares? WE BROKE .500! That's all I wanted back in April. It was really refreshing to still be interested past the All-Star break.

As many of you true fans know, it's easy to root for a consistently winning team. It takes a fan that loves their team and/or city to root for a hard luck team.

Right, Cubbies?
posted by jeporter99 at 9:26 AM on October 5, 2012


Isn't this arguably a flaw of the unbalanced schedule?

Yes, this is *very* much a flaw of the unbalanced schedule. Back when we just had the division split, you'd get great teams not making the playoffs.

I can think of a few years before the wild card* when the second best team in MLB didn't go to the playoffs.

1980, the BoxSox, at 100-62, don't go, because they're in the AL East, with the 103-59 Yankees. 3rd best record was KC, 97-65.

1983, Baltimore, at 94-68 doesn't go, one game behind the Brewers in the AL East. 3rd best was the Angles at 93-69.

1984 was fascinating. The AL West winner was Kansas City, at 84-78. There were five teams in the AL East with better records, Batimore (85-77), Boston (86-76), NYY (87-75), Toronto (89-73) and the actual winners, Detroit, (104-58)

In 1993, the 103-59 Giants miss, because they're behind the 104-58 Braves in the NL West, but the 97-65 Phillies, with the 3rd best record in MLB, go because they're in the NL East.

We went to the wild card in 1994, which does at least ensure the 2nd best team in baseball will get into the playoffs, but there are still numerous cases where a team with a better record doesn't make it, because on of the division winners (which always go to the playoffs) played in a crappy division.

I don't mind having two leagues. I don't even mind taking the top four in each league to the playoffs. I can even stomach a little interleague. But the MLB schedule is unbalanced, and the 2013 one is even worse. Personally, this is what I'd like to see.

In division -- everyone plays 18 against their division opponents (72 games)
In league -- everyone plays 6 against everyone else in league (60 games)
Cross league -- everyone plays 3 against two of the three divisions (30 games)

This keeps the sacred 162, keeps the divisions, and you play 24 of the 29 possible opponents every year. It *does* increase the amount of interleauge play, but it's still unbalanced enough that you'd probably end up with wild cards.

Fully balancing is hard. We (in 2013) will have 30 teams, 15 per league. This makes it hard. 162 factors to 2,3,3,3, and 3 which means you can't play an even schedule unless you have a number of teams, plus one, that equals a product of some of those factors. So, if you have, say, 10 teams (3x3+1) , they each would play the other 9 (3x3) teams 18 times (2*3*3) and 9x18=162.

So, for a fully balanced table, you need to have 2 opponents, so a three team league plays the other two 81 times. 7 teams (2*3+1) would play each of the other teams 27 times, 10 teams (3*3+1) would play the others 18 times, and 19 (3*3*2+1) teams would play the others 9 times, and 28 teams would play the others six times.

But we have 15 teams per league The closest they could play is to each play the others in the league 12 times, which gets 168 games. Otherwise, we need to add four teams, or cut five teams, to have a fully balanced schedule across a league and still play 162. Dropping five per league is better in the sense that you'd play 9 home and 9 away, rather than half being 5 home/ 4 away and half the opposite with an 19 team leauge.

A cross league balanced table is harder, you either play 6 times against everyone else (174 games), 5times against everyone else (145) or you play 6 against your league and 5 against the other (159 games.)

There is one way to have a fully balanced schedule across both leagues and still keep the normal season. That's to drop a team from each league. Now, you have 28 teams, where each team plays all the others 6 times, so call it one three game homestand, and one three game away set.

Who do we cut?


* Non-USians. The concept of a wild card comes when you need an even number of teams to play, but you have an odd number of entryways to the playoffs. In the MLB, there are three division per league, and the team with the best record in the league advanced to the post season. However, that means we need another team. So, they rank the rest of the league by record, and the best record that didn't win a division becomes the wild card and goes. This year, they instituted a variant where the top *two* non division winners play one game to determine who advances to the playoffs, so you hear talk of "two wild cards", though maybe it's better to call them "possible wild cards."

NHL hockey and NBA basketball do a similar thing, but they don't call them wildcards, because they bring many more teams into the playoffs -- both have three divisions, and the division winners qualify, then the next five best records qualify as well, so you can argue that there are more wild cards then regular ones. There.
posted by eriko at 9:50 AM on October 5, 2012


Go Orioles/A's/ExposNats/Giants, go!

As an Expos fan -- I'm sorry. I want to be a bigger man about this and wish the Nats every success, but... I just don't have it in me. They broke my heart. I can't bear to even watch. The wouldabeens and couldabeens are just too much.

So what did I do after they were stolen? I walked around in the wilderness of trying to just enjoy 'the game'. Which didn't work. So I pledged allegiance to the Pirates. Both last year and this year, it was looking pretty good for a while, and then...

Well, it's a lesser heartbreak than Expos fandom. I'll say that much.

posted by Capt. Renault at 10:09 AM on October 5, 2012


These folks actively lead cheers against the O's - "let's go Red Sox", to which the reply is usually "you're from Fairfax" (because they inevitably are).

It took until this year for a lot of the iffy fair-weather transplants who didn't see a reason to drop their old alliance that came to DC to swing around to the Nationals. (Maybe DC will become a real baseball town now).
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 10:48 AM on October 5, 2012


It took until this year for a lot of the iffy fair-weather transplants who didn't see a reason to drop their old alliance that came to DC to swing around to the Nationals. (Maybe DC will become a real baseball town now).

DC has some many transplants that it's hard to apply the same fair-weather/transplant standards to it that you have for other cities. If you have no history in the place you're in, there's not much reason to start caring too much about a losing team, and so many of DC's residents come from somewhere else. I've lived here six years, and I've always tried to care about the Nationals, but it's hard when it's a new habit and the team is terrible. This year I finally got into watching games regularly, then slowly got excited about them as the season wore on. I'm guessing there are a lot of fans in my boat, and I hope they'll stick around for the years to come.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:06 AM on October 5, 2012


Capt. Renault: I want to be a bigger man about this and wish the Nats every success, but... I just don't have it in me. They broke my heart.

So, you fully understand why folks from Baltimore hope Bob Irsay is slowly rotating over the hottest fire in Hell, then.
posted by hanov3r at 11:34 AM on October 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


1983, Baltimore, at 94-68 doesn't go, one game behind the Brewers in the AL East

That was '82. The '83 Orioles won the World Series.

[/from Baltimore]
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:46 AM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the O's low run differential (runs scored minus runs allowed) is amazing and difficult to explain in view of their winning record.

C.f. The Raven's Superbowl year.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:14 PM on October 5, 2012


So, you fully understand why folks from Baltimore hope Bob Irsay is slowly rotating over the hottest fire in Hell, then.

...while rooting for the Ravens, right?
posted by zempf at 12:19 PM on October 5, 2012


I believe this year is my 32nd of following the Orioles - being a fan goes back as far as I have decent memories, really - and I have followed them even through the deep crevasses of the last 14 years. You would think the losing would put me off, but it never did. What I hated so much about the teams from 2000-2010 was that for all the limits in their talents, they really were gutless losers. If someone else scored 3 runs in the first two innings, you could see the collective shrug from everyone in orange and black and the game was effectively over. A decade plus of nothing but that.

What has made me enjoy this season is that the coaches and players - revolving cast that they have been - have played every game like it mattered and made more of their opportunities than people even thought was available. You don't go 16-2 in extra innings or 73-0 when leading after seven innings by accident. You do so by knowing your strengths, playing to them at every chance you get, and hanging on till the last in every single game. Fuck Angelos, fuck run differentials, fuck the unbalanced schedule, and gimme that 162 games a year. When bloggers and ESPN talking heads go on about run differential as though it were a peek into the ding-an-sich behind the veil of ideas, they act as though the Orioles have cheated them out of something. Perhaps it's a less perfect indicator than we take it to be. The White Sox were +72 a the end of the season, and they only managed that with 54 games against KC, Cleveland and Minnesota. Against AL Central teams other than the White Sox, the Orioles went 17-11 (.607), while the White Sox went 37-35 (.514). Add in the White Sox and the Orioles were 23-13 (.639). But somehow that run differential with more games against those really weak teams supposedly proves something. The Orioles beat up on the East, the Central and the National League. The AL West was the only division against which they had a losing record. The Nationals had the best record in baseball and the Orioles took four out of six from them. They beat teams with great pitching, great hitting, great defense and they did so consistently for a whole season, and at some point that's not just luck. So you know why the Orioles are playing games in the next couple of days and the Red Sox, White Sox, Angels and a bunch of other pre-season favorites are headed home to play golf? Because for all the weird gaps and band-aids in the lineup, the Orioles never punked out this year. Gimme that 162 games a year.
posted by el_lupino at 2:21 PM on October 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


of course the braves are choking, as usual
posted by sonic meat machine at 3:57 PM on October 5, 2012


I would like an Orioles-Giants World Series, purely for the aesthetic value of all orange and black. It should go six games, so it ends on Halloween.
posted by madcaptenor at 4:18 PM on October 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Based on their runs scored/allowed and expected runs scored/allowed due to their underlying stats, the Orioles won 11-14 more games than expected this year.

Something like this looked true in early August, and some people were arguing that the Orioles didn't have much of a chance of making the playoffs because somehow those extra wins would get taken back. But lucky wins count. (Disclaimer: the commenters there are me and the OP.)
posted by madcaptenor at 4:21 PM on October 5, 2012


Nice of you not to mention I was predicting at that point that the Orioles would finish 83-79.
posted by escabeche at 4:24 PM on October 5, 2012


If I mentioned that, I'd have to point out that I predicted 82-80.
posted by madcaptenor at 4:27 PM on October 5, 2012


Well, the Braves / Cardinals game has taken a turn for the farce.
posted by dirigibleman at 4:57 PM on October 5, 2012


of course the braves are choking, as usual

Yes... but now choking under protest!
posted by torticat at 5:20 PM on October 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Braves are an interesting team to follow. They're not as futile as, say, the Cubs, but they have an amazing record of failure-against-all-odds. They had an incredible run of 14 division titles, but only managed a 1-4 record in the World Series, and managed to lose in the first round of the playoffs six times in that span. Their last six playoff appearances have ended in the first game or round that they played in, counting tonight. Their record in those six appearances was 8-16.

In 2011, they missed a playoff appearance due to an incredible collapse that saw them lose an 8.5 game lead in the NL wild card standings in the last month of the season.
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:18 PM on October 5, 2012


Oh gods i am so nervous right now.
posted by gaspode at 8:43 PM on October 5, 2012


WooHoo Baldimore!
posted by stbalbach at 9:00 PM on October 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Birds win!
posted by dirtdirt at 9:04 PM on October 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


They did it! Can't wait for Sunday!
posted by MegoSteve at 9:07 PM on October 5, 2012


Awesome. I watched (listened to?) the bottom of the ninth with my head literally under a pillow.
posted by gaspode at 9:09 PM on October 5, 2012


Great game - great story - great manager - Great God Awmighty the Yanks are scared as hell.

Bring it.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 9:13 PM on October 5, 2012


YYEEEEEEEEEEEHAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWW
posted by escabeche at 9:19 PM on October 5, 2012


The Orioles were +180 tonight, in a one game playoff, in the game of baseball.

TBS put up a graphic in the top of the 8th: the Orioles record when leading after the 7th inning: 74-0.

Fuck run differential. Buck has turned these perennial losing O's into some cutthroat scrappy ball playing birds.

Easiest bet ever, even if the O's lost, I was on the right side.
posted by clearly at 10:03 PM on October 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Huh. Just when I thought they found a way to lose...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:04 PM on October 5, 2012


Just so you know -- literally anything is possible.
posted by bardic at 10:32 PM on October 5, 2012


YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by josher71 at 7:56 AM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Baltimore went nuts last night. People were honking horns and generally going crazy. It was awesome.
posted by josher71 at 8:04 AM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


More good news in Baltimore; Jason Hammel, who's made only two starts since July, has been cleared for action and he will start tonight's ALDS game 1 against New York, wearing a "Dan Marino brace" on his right knee.
posted by escabeche at 6:55 AM on October 7, 2012


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