Editor’s note: Every day leading up to and during the American League Championship Series, The Star will share articles from the Baltimore Sun.
There is all sorts of statistical information out there to help you discern who’s going to have the advantage in the upcoming American League Championship Series between the Orioles and the Kansas City Royals, but you know — in your hearts — that none of that stuff matters in the postseason.
If it did, the Los Angeles Angels would be hosting the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 on Friday night.
The ALCS opener will be at Camden Yards and will feature a Cinderella opponent from just outside the Land of Oz because of factors that can not be appraised with the usual baseball metrics.
Call it karma or mojo or the most overused word in the sports lexicon — destiny. There’s going to be at least one team in the World Series this year that will have no logical explanation for its presence on baseball’s biggest stage.
The Royals were dead in the water in the AL wild-card game when they set fire to the unwritten rules of baseball and started stealing bases with a four-run deficit in the eighth inning. The Orioles were staring at a firing squad that included three former AL Cy Young Award winners, and it turned out that the Tigers were the ones wearing the blindfolds.
Some things defy explanation and yet seem very real. Just ask Detroit manager Brad Ausmus if he felt like the baseball gods were kicking him in a very sensitive area at every turn over the longest weekend of his baseball career. The Orioles, meanwhile, got every close call and won the deciding game on a home run that should remind their fans of the razor-thin difference between Oriole Magic and whatever is the opposite of that.
The Royals have it going on, too. They’re a good team with a lot of measurable things going for them, but they stole that victory in the wild-card round, and they found all sorts of ways to confound the winningest team in baseball in their AL Division Series.
Read more from columnist Peter Schmuck on his blog, “The Schmuck Stops Here.”