Rock or Bust: A musically inspired preview of the ALCS
By JON ALBA
College Contributor Network
If you've watched even 30 seconds of Major League Baseball's postseason on TBS, you know that you've been exposed to some quality baseball.
That and the annual "song of the postseason" that gets played coming in and out of every break, including multiple times in bumps. This year, that song is "Play Ball" by AC/DC, the first single off the band's upcoming new album Rock or Bust.
I have a tendency of being hyperbolic, but it's far from hyperbolic in saying the article you're reading is written by an AC/DC fanboy. So, in the interest of fulfilling my desires to be a member of AC/DC, alongside my obligations as a columnist for the College Contributor Network, let's "play ball" and take a look at what is "rock" and what is "bust" regarding the upcoming American League Championship Series.
Royals on the bases: Rock
Kansas City can run the bases, and it can run well. The Royals have stolen 12 of 13 bases in the postseason, which puts them among the best swiping percentages in postseason history. A team can dictate the pace of a game with its ability to control the basepaths, and that's what the Royals have done so far.
The Jarrod Dyson stolen base from the American League Wild Card Game, depending on what happens through the rest of the postseason, may prove to be of Dave Roberts proportions. If you're good at something, you take the chances, and that's what Kansas City is doing.
Are the stolen bases sometimes ill-advised? Perhaps, as point No. 2 will illustrate, but in the postseason, the goal is to die another day.
Ned Yost: Bust
So, about being ill-advised...
Yost's bittersweet postseason kicked into high gear following the aforementioned Wild Card Game when future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez blasted the skipper for his handling of James Shields and Yordano Ventura. But the criticism hasn't ended there.
From perceived bullpen mismanagement to a high emphasis on the sacrifice bunt, Yost has given reason for the influx of "Boom Yosted" memes.
Nonetheless, he'll need to change his "bust" status in the ALCS, as his opponent stands on another level.
Buck Showalter: Rock
I've had the opportunity to work in the Major League Baseball Productions library the past two summers, and one of my favorite clips that I've come across revolves around Buck Showalter.
It was the end of the 1993 season, and the New York Yankees had just wrapped up an 88-74 record, good for second place in the AL East. A rejuvenated, albeit, half-full Yankee Stadium took note as the team defeated the Detroit Tigers to clinch the second-place finish. Coming off an era of what, realistically, was horrible baseball, Showalter smiled as the fans tipped their caps to the players.
You knew the Yankees were about to break out into something special. And it was primarily due to Showalter.
He also missed out on an opportunity at glory in Arizona, but now he'll have an opportunity to earn his moment. The double play setup in Game 3 of the ALDS was a microcosm of Showalter's season, and the sure-to-be AL Manager of the Year will have an opportunity to punch his first World Series ticket this upcoming series.
Chris Davis: Bust
Davis was left off the ALCS roster with five games left on his outstanding amphetamines suspension. Davis was well aware he had no prescription for the drugs, yet still went forth with using what he claimed was an aid to help him combat ADHD.
Regardless of the circumstances, Davis' suspension leaves the Orioles without a much-needed bat against a quality pitching staff.
The Royals bullpen ERA: 3.30
The Orioles bullpen ERA: 3.08
They're about as evenly matched as it gets, and there's a reason these squads collected the two best records for the second half of the regular season. Andrew Miller has been rumored to get paid around three years and $21 million to throw an inning or two per game, while America has been enamored with the story of Brandon Finnegan's journey from the college mound to that of Kauffman Stadium in a matter of months.
There's a reason so many of these postseason games have gone to extras, and these respective bullpens are it. At this point, it will be up to the managers to prevent them from falling into bust.
J.J. Hardy and the Orioles: Rock and Bust
Hardy wins the "rock" on this one, after signing a brand new three-year, $40 million extension on Thursday -- prior to hitting free agency at season's end. The 32-year-old was set to be one of the higher-pursued free agents in a bad class, but now is off the market.
So, who busts? Baltimore, for getting baited. Hardy reportedly put word out that he would "listen" to the Yankees on a prospective offer this offseason, at which point the Orioles went all-in on an extension almost immediately. Bust.
Give me the Orioles to "out rock" the Royals in a series that should see Game 7. If the ALDS series were any indication of what's to come, fear not baseball fans, there will be no bust in the ALCS.
Jon Alba is a senior at Quinnipiac University. There he serves as general manager of the school's television station, Q30 Television. Follow him on Twitter: @JonAlbaSFC