It is the season for the underdogs in the American League as Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles shape up for the Championship Series which begins on Friday at Camden Field.
According to MLB.com, there is a real buzz of excitement and uncertainty surrounding the two clubs with neither side advancing this far into October since the mid-90s.
The last time the O’s made the ALCS was in 1997 when they fell to a 4-2 defeat against Cleveland Indians and in truth that was the last great Baltimore outfit, which was led to two consecutive Championship Series by legendary manager Davey Johnson.
Taking them on are the Royals whose fans under the age of 30 won’t remember a postseason that Kansas City contested, let alone a Championship Series. 1985 was the last time the Royals played in October, where they went all the way and were crowned World Series Champions after a 4-3 series victory over St Louis.
29 years of pain and frustration followed with a handful of second-place finishes as they Royals lost out to their financially overbearing league rivals.
For the O’s last World Series title, the record books skip back a further two years to 1983 when forgotten man Joe Altobelli lead them to a 4-1 series victory over Philadelphia Phillies in his first season in charge.
One of them will contest the World Series on behalf of the American League which is scheduled to commence October 21.
So what can the fans expect from this unlikely match-up for a place in the World Series.
Well, according to MLB.com, the AL East-conquering Orioles are the big-hitters, scoring 211 home runs during the regular season while the Royals grabbed the fewest with 95.
Where the Royals lack the firepower they make up for in graft as they stole the most bases in the AL with 153, while the O’s nicked the least amount with 44.
Each sides' active roster is filled with solid ball players but lack the superstars possessed by their fallen opponents. The team game strategy appears to be working.
It is genuinely anyone’s guess to how the Championship Series will play out after each side fought tooth and nail to make the playoffs.
The Royals overcame the much-fancied Oakland Athletics in the Wild Card after being 7-3 down in the eighth inning and then swept aside Los Angeles Angels who possessed the best regular season record.
The Orioles on the other hand, won arguably the toughest league which contains the Red Sox, Yankees and Blue Jays before producing a clean sweep of Detroit.