Now that the Washington Nationals have qualified for the World Series, it makes life even more difficult for fans of the Orioles.
Some Oriole fans have begun rooting for the Nationals, others don’t care, and still others are pained by their success.
In the 50-year history of the Nationals and their predecessors, the Montreal Expos, the team played in only one League Championship Series, in 1981, and never in the World Series.
The Nationals’ first World Series’ berth leaves the Seattle Mariners as the only MLB franchise never to play in the Series.
Thursday was the 36th anniversary of the Orioles’ last World Series win, when they beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-0, winning the Series four games to one.
How long ago was 1983? Only three other major league teams have gone longer without a World Series appearance than the Orioles.
Seattle, which debuted in 1977, the Pittsburgh Pirates, who beat the Orioles in their last World Series in 1979, and the Milwaukee Brewers, who lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1982, have the three-longest droughts.
Not only have 26 of the 29 other major league teams played in a Series since the Orioles did, but 20 of them have won a World Series.
If you now want to call yourself “a long-suffering Orioles fan,” it’s certainly permissible.
Nationals’ hot streak: The Nationals head into the World Series on an incredible streak. Since September 23, they’re 16-2.
They won their final eight games of the regular season before winning the wild-card game as well as the Division Series and League Championship Series.
There will be plenty of talk about the weeklong layoff between the LCS and World Series, and if it matters. The Colorado Rockies might say it does.
In 2007, the Rockies won 13 of their final 14 regular season games and beat San Diego in a one-game playoff to qualify as the wild-card team. Then the Rockies beat the Chicago Cubs in three straight games in the Division Series and Arizona in four in the LCS.
Colorado, which had won 21 of its previous 22, waited nine days to play the Boston Red Sox. Boston came from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Cleveland Indians in seven games in the ALCS.
The Red Sox swept the Rockies in four.
Baseball vs. football: For years, the NFL has trumpeted its parity, but despite that self-promotion, baseball has had more different champions over the last 40 years.
Beginning in 1979, and the Pirates’ World Series championship, 29 of the 30 major league teams have played in the Series. Twenty-seven of 32 NFL teams have played in the Super Bowl. Just over half, 17 of the 32 teams, have won a Super Bowl in the last 40 years.
Another area in which MLB has excelled in comparison to the NFL is video replay.
Since baseball belatedly adopted replay in 2014, technology has steadily improved, and it’s rare when an obvious error isn’t overturned.
Baseball could do a better job by expanding its scope of replay to include interference/obstruction calls and running out of the basepaths.
Eventually, baseball could adopt the Atlantic League’s robot umpire for balls and strikes. With telecasts featuring strike zone boxes, why not take the human element out of umpiring for the sake of getting it correct?
An umpire shouldn’t have an interpretation of the strike zone. The rule book strike zone should be uniform and enforced.
It doesn’t disturb me that there are mechanical line calls when watching Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. They’re trying to get the calls correct, and they do.
In baseball, the improvement in technology has made most calls obvious. If there’s not something that’s blatantly wrong, the call is quickly confirmed.
Football is a more subjective game than baseball, and while replay doesn’t seem to impede the flow of a baseball game very much, the rhythm of NFL games has been hurt as technology improves.
Postseason telecasts: I don’t watch much television during the regular season, but during the postseason I try to catch a good part of each game.
As long as I’ve been watching postseason baseball, fans have complained about network announcers, saying that they’re prejudiced against the team they follow. Twitter has worsened these arguments, which once were somewhat entertaining, but now are just tiresome.
I’ve enjoyed John Smoltz’s commentary on this year’s postseason much more than I did last year. A year ago, he seemed to be comparing “the good old days” of when he played with contemporary baseball.
This year, he has stuck to commenting on the games, and he’s expressed many excellent insights.