Along with the rest of the league, the Baltimore Orioles will be at home watching game six of the World Series tonight in Cleveland. First off, both teams are great stories. I would also submit that neither team’s “suffering” will truly continue (as it did before at least), as they both exorcised a few demons this year.
However in looking at the Cleveland Indians more specifically, it makes you wonder if the Orioles’ way of doing things isn’t starting to become outdated. One could definitely argue that here the Birds were spending all of this money on the likes of Chris Davis, and here Cleveland is playing their small ball game and getting to the World Series. There’s always a certain amount of luck involved in getting that far, but the fact is that Cleveland deserves to be there.
The Orioles built their team to compete in the AL East. It’s always been a division of mashers – look at Boston, NY, and Toronto. Yet all of those teams are at home also. And again, it’s Cleveland and their small ball game that’s representing the American League in the fall classic.
I cover an east coast team – so from my perspective while it does on occasion serve it’s purpose, small ball is almost foreign to me. However in the midwest it’s how the game is played. For the record however, there is a small ball team in the AL East: Tampa. And look at where they finished this year. So…
…it’s all kind of a Catch-22. It’s tough to compete by playing small ball in the American League East. Unless your pitching is so off the charts it’s impossible to lose, it just doesn’t work against the likes of Boston, NY, Toronto, and the Orioles. But whether or not fast and furious home run reliance works come October is another story also.
Again, I’m not suggesting that how the Orioles are construed is wrong. They had to re-sign the likes of Davis. Replacing him with a first baseman who was really good at moving runners over just wouldn’t have sufficed. But whether or not this type of team is going to make it to the World Series is another story.
The Orioles, just like all mashing teams, have a horrible habbit of having all of their bats go to sleep at once. With small ball that’s much more unlikely given the fact that the offense is based on making outs and piecemealing runs together. Is this the direction in which the game is going? That remains to be seen.