After tough ALCS loss, the offseason begins

KANSAS CITY - The Orioles' first batter yesterday hit a groundball up the middle and Kansas City second baseman Omar Infante made a nice play, ranging to his right.

The Royals' first batter hit one up the middle. It went for an infield single and Kansas City scored two runs without hitting the ball out of the infield.

That is how the series went for the Orioles. I agree with the players that said it wasn't something the O's didn't do as much as what K.C. did.

The Royals' defense and bullpen are exceptional. It allowed them to win so many close games. Somehow, Kansas City had a losing record in one-run games during the regular season, going 22-25. But in the postseason, the Royals are 8-0 and they've won six games by two runs or less.

You know how a lot of teams tried to copy the Moneyball approach and acquire high on-base percentage players? I predict this Royals team will lead to more clubs putting a premium on defense. Run prevention is as important as run production and the Royals kept making momentum-turning plays in the field.

DisappointedO'sDugout.jpgCongrats to the Royals, they outplayed the Orioles and now we find out if they can carry this momentum to a World Series title. Happy for my friend Steve Stewart, one of the Royals radio broadcasters and someone I worked with in Baltimore and Richmond. WBAL listeners remember Steve. He's doing great in K.C.

The end of the season comes abruptly in the playoffs. One day you are still alive with hopes, and then it's done. Although after the Game 3 loss, you knew this was a near impossible task.

The series was one-sided, a four-game sweep. Yet every game went down to the last pitch. Kind of strange and frustrating for O's players and fans.

As we move into the offseason, I want to say thanks to the readers here for coming to this blog this season. You don't have to; you choose to. And I try to never forget that. So many loyal O's fans that hang on every pitch and made the O's game blog this year a place to be. I can't thank you all enough for thinking I have something to offer and for coming back - day after day, blog after blog.

Now keep this fact in mind: The season ends, but the blogging doesn't. There will be at least one fresh entry here probably every day or just about every day from now until the next season starts - and beyond.

There will be plenty to write about and comment about and we'll be doing that here every day, practically 24/7. We won't have games to watch, but we'll have plenty of O's and baseball topics to discuss daily. So keep coming back here!

In fact, as I end this entry today and get ready to head back to Baltimore, what thoughts do you have about this O's offseason? What priorities should the club have? Which players should be re-signed?

Let the offseason discussion begin!

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