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In an ALCS between Baltimore and Kansas City, the winner is baseball

No matter what happens between the Royals and Orioles in the ALCS, one of them is going to the World Series. And that is awesome.

Leon Halip

Yesterday was a good day for baseball, even if fans of the Tigers and Angels don't agree. The Orioles and Royals both completed sweeps of their ALDS opponents and will meet in the ALCS, ensuring that one of them will go to the World Series. Both teams spent years wandering lost, racking up loss after loss as their fan bases grew more and more disenfranchised. But those days are behind the Royals and Orioles, at least for now, and they are ready to make their triumphant return to the national stage. A generation of fans of both teams have never witnessed the joy of a World Series berth, but that will soon change.

It's no secret that I root for the Royals. It's less that I am a Royals fan and more that I am a fan of Royals fans, if that makes sense. I feel that the three fan bases of the Orioles, Royals, and Pirates all understand each other in a way that other current fan bases cannot. And while our Pirates brethren can't join us on this journey, the Orioles and Royals fans are going to a place that we haven't seen in a long, long time.

Of course, this is where I have to leave my Royals-rooting ways. They are the enemy now, so I hope they go down in flames. I hope their offense doesn't hit and their starting pitching falls apart and their defense forgets how good they are. I hope the Orioles hit 25 home runs onto Eutaw Street and 25 more into the fountains at Kauffman Stadium .

But even if my beloved Orioles lose the ALCS and it's the Royals who head on to the World Series, baseball is lucky to see that team there. The more teams that have success, the more fans from all different parts of the country have a chance to rally and grow in size, which is awesome. Plus it just makes the playoffs more interesting than seeing the same teams in there.

Over the last eight years, the World Series has been less and less interesting to me because it's been reruns of teams over and over again. The 2004 World Series was exciting because it featured the Red Sox, who hadn't been there since 1986 and hadn't won since 1918. The next year was the Chicago White Sox beating the Houston Astros. The White Sox hadn't been to the World Series since 1959 and hadn't won since 1917. It was the first ever trip for the Astros. 2006 was also fun because the Detroit Tigers finally made it after years of being terrible, but then they lost to the Cardinals.

From 2006-2013, there have been six teams who have made it to the World Series more than once. The Red Sox won two more times, the Cardinals appeared three times and won twice. There were teams that made it for the first time in forever, like the Giants and Phillies, but then became repeat performers. The Phillies were in back-to-back World Series with one win, and the Giants won twice in four years. Even Detroit made two appearances, though they still haven't brought home a win since 1984. It was kind of fun in 2010 when the Texas Rangers made their first appearance in franchise history, but then they were right back there in 2011, picking up their second straight World Series loss.

It's exciting when a team makes it for the first time ever or for the first time in a million years. Remember Rocktober? Or when the Rays finally shook off their losing ways to go from last place in 2007 to the World Series in 2008? Maybe it's just me, but those stories are more exciting than watching the boring old well-run Cardinals make their bi-yearly trip to the Fall Classic.

There are a bunch of teams that are foisted upon us every year by MLB and television executives. The Red Sox, Cardinals, Yankees, and Dodgers, for example. They have the biggest market and the largest fan bases and, therefore, the most appearances on national television. The people who decide what game is played on ESPN on Sunday night don't care how good the teams are or how compelling the match up is, they care how much money it will make them. That's why you see the Red Sox and Yankees play each other on national TV constantly. But part of that is cyclical. How are you ever supposed to learn anything and develop interest in a baseball team if you never get to see them on television? How can any hype be built up about a good team if only their local cable network is showing them? Some teams have larger markets and fan bases, so they get more national exposure, which leads to bigger fan bases.

The TV executives don't get to decide what teams make the playoffs, so this is the chance to get fresh teams on national television and win over America. Most of America doesn't know how awesome Steve Pearce is or how hard Yordano Ventura throws, and if it were up to the people who make TV decisions, they never would. But the Orioles and Royals are on a big stage now, with a chance to get to an even bigger one. Fans think they want to see Dustin Pedroia at second base, but they've never seen Jonathan Schoop turn a double play. They think that they want to watch Mike Trout play center field in the World Series, but maybe they'll watch Lorenzo Cain make catches like the ones he made last night and forget that.

I'm so excited for the Orioles that they are in the ALCS with a chance to go to the World Series, just as I know the Royals fans are about their team. And no matter which team wins, baseball fans at large have the opportunity to learn more about a couple of teams that aren't usually in the spotlight.