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A Blue Jays-Royals ALCS: Orioles fans' worst nightmare becomes reality

Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista reacts as he is heckled by Orioles pitcher Bud Norris from the dugout. Chris Davis listens.
Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista reacts as he is heckled by Orioles pitcher Bud Norris from the dugout. Chris Davis listens. (Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images)

If Wednesday's ALDS Game 5 outcomes were any indicator, this year's American League Championship Series should be an entertaining one, but watching the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays play for a ticket to the World Series has to make Orioles fans gag.

You have the Royals, who ruffled the Orioles' feathers last postseason with their excitability in the process of sweeping the ALCS. They jumped out of the dugout after every run and their sudden brashness came out with every playoff win.

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Remember "That's what speed do?" Remember "These O's ain't Royal?"

I know you do.

But if there's any club that equals the Royals – and maybe surpasses them – in evoking disdain from Orioles fans, it's the Blue Jays. Over the past three years, Toronto right fielder Jose Bautista might have become Public Enemy No. 1 with all his theatrics. He even flipped his bat once after drawing a walk.

Bautista was the hero of the Blue Jays' Game 5 win over the Texas Rangers, hitting a three-run homer in Toronto's 6-3 win.

After clobbering Sam Dyson's pitch into the left-field stands of the Rogers Centre, Bautista stared at the mound, then tossed his bat toward the Texas dugout and trotted around the bases.

Whether you advocate that type of celebration or not – personally, I have more of a problem with the stare than the bat toss – it reminded me of earlier this year, when Bautista had a long staredown of Rule 5 pick Jason Garcia stepping out of the batter's box after homering off Garcia. Bautista's display came right after fastball thrown by Garcia sailed behind Bautista.

But in 2015, Bautista ate the Orioles' lunch, hitting six home runs, driving in 20 runs and posting a 1.304 OPS in 15 games.

Still, you have to give the Royals and Blue Jays credit. They were two of the most active teams at the deadline. The Blue Jays definitively went all-in, acquiring power-hitting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, front-line starter David Price and speedy leadoff man Ben Revere in three trades.

And the Royals sent three left-handed pitching prospects to the Cincinnati Reds for right-hander Johnny Cueto, who struggled in a Kansas City uniform but pitched well in Wednesday's Game 5 win over the Houston Astros. They also acquired veteran utility man Ben Zobrist at the deadline, who added valuable defensive flexibility and postseason experience.

These were two teams that battled back from the brink in the division series. Toronto lost the first two games of the series at home before waking up in Game 3 in Arlington. They overcame a controversial call in the seventh inning Wednesday – and got help from three Texas errors in the bottom part of the inning – to win Game 5.

And the Royals were six outs from elimination in Game 4 in Houston before rallying from a four-run deficit, reminiscent of last season's wild-card game against the Oakland A's.

OK, Orioles fans, who do you take in the ALCS? The Blue Jays or the Royals?

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