It’s that time of year – you know the one, Fantasy Football draft season. And really, there are two types of people who get involved in Fantasy Football drafts. The first actively follows the league, and spends a couple days (or every waking hour, you know, whatever) preparing a strategy to finally wrestle the trophy away from Dale in Accounting. Because Dale is a smug, jerkface who should not forget who totally bailed him out of that customer presentation in Quarter 2.
The other type of person is the one who logs in to the projections, and bases his/her team on whatever player is ranked the highest by some publication’s online content. This is the person who drafts injured wide receivers and picks a kicker way too early.
But as much as we may enjoy fantasy football, I’m fantasizing about baseball these days. Specifically, I am fantasizing over what the Orioles might be. You see, they have been incredibly frustrating this season. And despite their lack of regard for my happiness, they have tried very hard since May to look like a team that is destined watch the playoffs from the comfort of their couches.
Then, the unlikely happened: the Orioles started winning, and the teams the Orioles needed to stumble started losing. In the span of a week or so, the O’s have leap-frogged the rest of the slop in the AL Wild Card race, and sit in the “on deck circle,” a mere 1.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins.
The first Wild Card spot is held by the New York Yankees, and, well… that’s where my fantasies start getting explicit.
The Yankees are wrapping up a series with the Red Sox. You know, #TheRivalry? As you can imagine, the major media outlets are wetting themselves with excitement. But after that, the Yankees come to Camden Yards for a three-game set against the suddenly relevant Baltimore Orioles.
Now, this is a team that just salvaged a split with the last-place Toronto Blue Jays, but hear me out. What if the Yankees come into Baltimore up two games in the Wild Card race, with the Orioles 1.5 games back of the second Wild Card spot? Regardless of how well or poorly the Twins perform, the Orioles could force themselves much deeper into the playoff hunt, and stave off the specter of elimination.
Yes, it is dangerous to hope that the Orioles will acquit themselves against a legit playoff team. And it is downright foolish to think that the Orioles will sweep a talented team at a juncture in the season when it could help them the most. It is absurd to expect anything of the sort. But the Orioles have given us a taste of what we have wanted all season. This is a team, that despite its very real flaws, is playing excellent baseball. Even if there is a horseshoe involved, they’re winning games, when it matters the most.
So against my better judgement, I am daring to hope. And when I cannot hope, I am fantasizing. You see, when I look in the mirror, I see the Orioles hoisting the house cup. These are meaningful games in September, folks. Embrace the ride – the O’s are finally providing us a season to enjoy. Don’t tell me it is short lived… I have been negative enough all season. We may get a harsh dose of reality this week, but for now, sleep well, and dream of large winnings.