Cut4 postseason preview: Crab races, baseball doctorates and everything else you need to know about the Baltimore Orioles
Playoffs? You kiddin' me? Uh, no, actually we're not. In case you've been holed up watching Gangnam Style videos for the last few months, here's what you need to know about the season that was and the postseason to come – Baltimore Orioles edition.
Chosen to finish with the worst record in the AL by Sports Illustrated. Chosen to finish last by three of three Yahoo! baseball writers. Chosen to make the playoffs by not one of 50 pundits ESPN.com asked to predict the 2012 season. The baseball world expected the Orioles to make the playoffs like people expect Rebecca Black to win a Grammy or Roseanne Barr to win next month's presidential election. But it's October, and here the O's are. How did they get here, and what can we expect from them in the postseason?
- Chris Davis -- who in 2012 has played, more than any other position, designated hitter, a role which doesn't even require a functional throwing arm -- pitched two scoreless innings to record the win in a 17-inning battle of attrition with the Red Sox.
- But that wasn't the only director's cut-length game Baltimore would win on the road. They also emerged victorious from an 18-inning contest in Seattle that was so long the birds in attendance couldn't hold their bowels until afterward.
- Rookie starter Wei-Yin Chen arrived from Taiwan and ushered in a new era of cultural exchange with the Republic of China at Oriole Park, with fans bringing Taiwanese flags to the game, commemorating the annual Dragon Boat Festival and giving away ROC-a-wear like a shirsey with "Orioles" written in Chinese Hanzi characters.
- Adam Jones played in every regular season game, made his second All-Star team and lent some cross-Beltway support to Teddy Roosevelt in the Nationals' Presidents Race. What's next for him? Perhaps an ALCS or World Series MVP, and then hopefully a reality show in which he lives in a house with every other Adam Jones, including this one, and this one.
- After years of paying off student loans, manager Buck Showalter finally got something out of that Doctor of Baseball degree. Citing his expertise in diagnosing "orange fever," he appealed to bosses and teachers to excuse those playing hooky to attend key September day games.
- Luis Ayala will catch every single home run the Orioles hit in the postseason in his cap, gradually stretching the hat's crown to such a stovetop shape you'll think Ayala's appearances on the mound are a cross-promotion for Lincoln.
- Speaking of hats, the Orioles went to ones with white in the front and black in the back this year, the first time such a look as been part of an MLB team's regular identity in almost two decades. They'll surprise us again by taking the field in another bicolored alternate with panels emulating the different sections of the Maryland flag, taking a page from the University of Maryland football team.
- In Game 6 of the World Series -- scheduled for October 31 -- Baltimore will face their fellow orange-and-black team, the San Francisco Giants, on October 31, creating the most chromatically appropriate baseball game ever. And doing one better than the "Halloween in June" promotion the two teams put on in 2010.
- Unless they face the Nationals, in which case the fantasy football-guru crabs will race Teddy Roosevelt, and win.
-- Dan Wohl / MLB.com