The Kansas City Royals throwback playoff series
By David Hill
There was a point in time, from 1969 when the first American League Championship Series was played, through 1985, when the Kansas City Royals had last made the postseason prior to this year. During that time frame, the Royals and the Baltimore Orioles appeared in 13 of the 17 series. Along with the Oakland A’s and the New York Yankees, these four franchises were the class of the American League.
Somehow, in that time frame, the Orioles and the Royals never faced one another. Now, beginning tonight, that will change. Almost as if we had managed to hitch a ride in Dr. Emmett Brown’s DeLorean and traveled back to the 1980’s, the Royals and Orioles are back in the ALCS. This time, those two powerhouses of bygone days get to face off for the right to return to the World Series.
Both teams have a feel offensively of those days gone by. The Royals live by speed and defense, making contact and slapping the ball around the field, a throwback to their glory years. The Orioles, while they led all of baseball in home runs, were almost as aggressive as the Royals, drawing only 21 more walks all season.
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With the Royals playing throwback baseball and going back to their roots, it almost seems fitting that they would need to get through the Orioles to reach the World Series. Even though the days of George Brett, Cal Ripken, Frank White and Brooks Robinson have long since passed, and Dick Howser and Earl Weaver are not in the dugouts, the 1980’s feel of this matchup is still palpable.
Should the Kansas City Royals get past the Orioles, another throwback matchup could be in store. The St. Louis Cardinals are in the NLCS, and it would be fitting for the Royals to go through their foes from 1985 as they usher in a new era.
This Royals series with the Orioles is a throwback to the 1970’s and 1980’s. It is fitting that, as they appear to be on the verge of a new Golden Age, the Royals would pay homage to the past.