Title-starved teams battle for World Series berth
By Larry Fine
(Reuters) - The title-starved Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals both seek to end decades of frustration when they battle for a World Series berth in a best-of-seven series starting on Friday.
The once-proud franchises and their fans, who enjoyed great success in the past with such Orioles stars as Jim Palmer and Cal Ripken Jr. and Kansas City's George Brett, relish a return to glory in the American League Championship Series that opens in Baltimore.
"The crowd, it's an unbelievable atmosphere," said Royals pitcher James Shields, who won the Division Series-clinching Game Three in Kansas City for a sweep against the top-seeded Los Angeles Angels. "This is a special time in this city right now and they're enjoying this as much as we are."
The wild card Royals, using blazing speed, dazzling defense and solid pitching, are appearing in the postseason for the first time since beating St. Louis in the 1985 World Series.
The AL East champion Orioles have gone two years longer since hoisting the trophy in a 1983 triumph over Philadelphia.
Baltimore has been no less enthralled with the performance of their power-hitting Orioles after witnessing six trips to the World Series between 1966 and 1983 including three in a row from 1969.
The Orioles vanquished Cy Young winners Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and David Price in a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers that fueled a belief that this is their year.