I'll get more into it within the next few weeks, but it seems that the Yankees not making the playoffs this year, besides being something that most baseball fans would celebrate, would be an unmitigated boon for the Orioles.
Rumor has it that the Yankees current GM, Brian Cashman, is sick of George Steinbrenner and the situation in New York, and that he would covet running the Baltimore Orioles. I believe this would be a huge pick up for the Orioles, as Cashman has a reputation in baseball as a respected and well-liked GM. Implications for drawing a successful manager, such as Jim Leyland (who has expressed a desire to get back into baseball), and opening the door for suddenly interested and previously hesitant free agents to come here this winter are exciting to say the least.
The big problem is that the Yankees, for the first time in several months, as of last night overtook the Boston Red Sox for first place in the American League East and are half a game back in the Wild Card standings. Steinbrenner is notorious for being volatile and having a "what have you done for me recently?" attitude. Even though Cashman's job as GM of the Yankees would still remain in doubt if they reach the postseason, winning the World Series would probably keep him in New York. Given the Yankees previous success and experience navigating through the playoffs, such a scenario would be fairly possible. At that point, Cashman leaving would be on his own accord. The current rumblings have him as already past the point of no return, but nothing is certain. The only near certainty would be the Yankees and Cashman parting ways if they don't reach the playoffs.
The most frustrating factor in all of this is the fact the Orioles control their own destiny in this regard - they are wrapping up a four-game series today, and they host New York at Oriole Park next week for 3 games. How have the O's responded? By losing the first three games of the series, and catapulting the Yankees into first. Further complicating matters is this weekend's series against the Red Sox, creating a double-edged sword and lose-lose situation. I honestly hope we just lose out against the Red Sox and help them win the East, but New York has taken matters out of our hands by winning three close games against us and, as all good teams do, controlling their own destiny.
In other Orioles news, the ongoing Rafael Palmeiro controversy just took another strange turn, as he now implicates a teammate. One of the worst Orioles seasons of the past 20 years gets more interesting, and this offseason will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt whether the Orioles are THE worst-run franchise in all of baseball, or whether they can avert disaster and, combining some promising pieces with shrewd and drastic moves, finally contend in a brutal division.