Baltimore Orioles: What’s a post-season mentality?
Yesterday I talked about how the Baltimore Orioles hold professionalism in high regard. In saying that, I’m talking somewhat about “uptightness.” However one thing we’ve seen thus far in the MLB playoffs is that teams who we previously thought to be loose aren’t always in that mindset.
Toronto came off as one of the more loose teams during the regular season. Whereas the Orioles would get accused of being the guys who would sit there and enforce unwritten rules, Toronto would kind of throw caution to the wind. And many people (including some Orioles fans) believe that’s part of what set Toronto apart this year. Maybe, maybe not. But Toronto isn’t the team that I would have expected to lose their first two ALDS games – at home.
And the same is true of Kansas City, who dropped their first game to Houston. Heck, they almost lost game two as well. If you watched last night’s Chicago/St. Louis game, the TBS commentators were lauding the Cubs for how loose their clubhouse was before the game. And as everyone knows, that’s a reflection of their manager, Joe Maddon.
I’ll be honest; I have a begrudging respect for Maddon. Under the pressure of needing to win and win now, he always shows this relaxed demeanor. He never allows “the moment” to become bigger than it needs to be. I use the term begrudging respect because I’m the type who sees the severity ot “the moment,” and I believe that somehow if you dwarf it you’ll be made to pay. And I say that as someone who’s nerves have made him physically sick (and that’s no stretch of the truth folks) in real life stressful situations.
Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
But while Chicago lost last night, it’s also that type of looseness that can allow teams to remain grounded and in effect to have a flair for the dramatic. The Orioles and Delmon Young certainly had it last year in the ALDS. I’m on record as saying that when he hit that bases-clearing double in the eighth inning of game two, that was the loudest I’ve ever heard Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I’m not sure that anything short of a World Series title would cause it to be louder.
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But then the Birds came up against the upstart (at the time) Kansas City Royals, who were about as loose as they come. And the contrast showed in the result. Again, as a “type A” much like Showalter, there’s a part of me that resents seeing a team seemingly do as little as they can to strategize – only to outdo the guy with steam coming out of his head (due to thinking so hard).
Maybe some of this makes sense – and maybe it doesn’t. At the end of the day the MLB playoffs are series’, with the exception of the wild card games. They aren’t one-and-dones like the NFL playoffs or the NCAA Tournament. The better team usually wins in a five or seven-game series, regardless of who’s looser.
However perhaps there’s a mentality that you have to carry in order to play in the post season. If that’s true, it’s probably just not having a fear of losing or failing. And when you can figure out how to live like that, let me know. In the mean time I’ll be throwing up in the bushes before “the moment.”
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