There was a time when the Baltimore Orioles would have delighted to finish 85-77 and in contention for a playoff berth until the final week of the season.
In a testament to just how far the franchise has come under manager Buck Showalter, not playing baseball in October is no longer acceptable. After ending a run of 14 straight losing seasons in 2012 and extending the New York Yankees in the final game in the Divisional Series, the Orioles now measure themselves by a much higher standard.
''This isn't a club that went into the season trying to be the wild card,'' Showalter said. ''We tried to win the division.''
Still, there were some positives to take into next year.
Even though they finished tied for third in the AL East, the Orioles achieved one of their objectives by proving last year was no fluke.
''We have to be proud of the fact that we gave ourselves a shot to be in the pennant race,'' said center fielder...