Baltimore Orioles: Tonight it’s time for the O’s to fly
The Baltimore Orioles are back in Toronto for the AL Wild Card game. In an automatic elimination game, the Birds will need to fly strong out of the gate.
There’s nervous energy surrounding the Baltimore Orioles tonight, as they head north of the border to take on their arch-rivals, Toronto, in the American League Wild Card game. I suppose it’s fitting for these two teams to take two more swipes at each other this year, this time in an automatic elimination game. Let me say that again; tonight’s game is an elimination game. There’s no game one, two, or three – just tonight’s game.
That’s why there’s nervous energy, and yes excitement. We all know how difficult is is to win a major league game, yet that’s what the Orioles are taxed with doing…winning one game. But this one game means the world to the Birds, and to the loyal people who follow them. Win and they go onto Texas for the American League Divisional Series. Lose, and they go home. While their efforts and accomplishments this year would still be noteworthy and worth mentioning, they’d still be done.
And done at the hands of a division rival who hates them, I might add. And that’s why it’s important for the Orioles to spread their wings and fly tonight. There’s nothing that Toronto and their fans would like more than to send the Orioles packing out of the post season. And in the case of these two teams, the worst part is that in the past they’ve seemingly been able to get the Orioles to play right into their hands…
…that is until last week. The Orioles came into Toronto against great odds and took two-of-three games, highlighted by Hyun-Soo Kim’s two-run homer to win game two. For the first time, the Orioles just didn’t allow Toronto’s theatrics, the dome (and the funny bounces off of the turf), or their fans bother them. They put their heads down and played baseball. And it’s partially due to that series that the Birds now find themselves in the playoffs – and back in Toronto again.
The Birds will have to channel that exact sentiment they took into Toronto last week if they’re going to win this game. And I stress once again, it’s one game. Winner goes on, loser goes home. And that’s why these games can be so passionate – teams know they’re playing for their season. There’s a chance that it might end up being “congrats on making the post-season…by the way you’re out!”
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This core group of Orioles won the wild card game on the road in Texas four years ago. But I think this Toronto team is better than that Texas team. Furthermore while they don’t really like anyone, they seem to have a special hatred for the Orioles for whatever reason. It’ll take an effort like they gave that night in Texas – and then some.
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Tonight’s game at Rogers Centre will be shown on national television courtesy of TBS – and one other than the great Cal Ripken Jr. will be in the booth! Chris Tillman will be on the mound for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Marcus Stroman. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.