If you asked the Orioles themselves, they'll tell you unequivocally that 2020 was a disappointing season to not make it to the playoffs. But while O's fans would have certainly preferred to see their team in October, that doesn't take away from what was a fun season full of development, rookie debuts, and ultimately, another top pick in the MLB Draft.
It also doesn't mean that O's fans can't have a little more fun watching baseball in 2020. Nobody knew for sure that Major League Baseball was going to be able to play its postseason with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on, so O's fans should take the chance to watch as much baseball as they can, even when the players aren't wearing orange and black.
As of Wednesday evening there are 14 teams still alive in the MLB postseason (sorry Twins and Blue Jays!). Some are more worth rooting for than others.
Here is a list of them, based on how much O's fans should be rooting for each franchise.
Yankees (aka literally the worst-case scenario)
This one is obvious, so might as well get it out of the way first. I don't need to tell O's fans this, but for the sake of completion: you do not want the Yankees to win the World Series.
The Yankees will forever be the Evil Empire and the O's biggest rival (no, I don't care that the Yankees have the Red Sox as their biggest rival). Any of the other 13 teams winning it all would be an infinitely better scenario for fans in Baltimore.
Astros (aka just barely better than the Yankees winning)
Most categories will include more than one team, but like the Yankees, the Astros are in a tier of their own. After their notorious sign-stealing scandal and their verbal abuse of a female reporter last October, not to mention all of their recent trips to the Fall Classic, no casual fan will be pulling for Houston.
The only thing keeping them ahead of the Yankees is the lack of long-term hatred between Astros and O's fans. Oh and Dusty Baker manages them now, and everybody loves Dusty.
Past playoff opponents (Indians and Dodgers)
Frankly, there aren't too many scenarios O's fans would hate beyond the Yankees and Astros winning, so this will mostly be a breakdown of the remaining teams. But for these two, at least, there is some history between the teams.
The Orioles swept the Dodgers in 1966 for their first-ever World Series title. Plus, Los Angeles is the best team in baseball, and who likes pulling for the heavy favorites?
And as seen on Twitter, a lot of fans still haven't forgiven the Indians for knocking out the great 1997 Orioles from the ALCS.
Teams who have won enough recently (Cardinals and Cubs)
Both of these teams won a World Series last decade. The Cubs had a long history as lovable losers, but they've been a quality team for several years running now. And the Cardinals have been regulars in the National League postseason for the last two decades.
There aren't really reasons to hate these iterations of the two squads, but each fanbase has won enough already.
Division 'rivals' (Rays and Blue Jays)
Toronto has already been eliminated, of course, thanks to the shortened best-of-three format, but we'll give them a mention in honor of them making the postseason. These two teams are technically division rivals, which should lower them in the eyes of O's fans, but they have spent most of their recent years getting stomped by the Yankees and Red Sox, just like the O's. So it's hard to hate them too much, especially the perennial underdogs in Tampa.
Beloved former Orioles (Twins and Braves)
Like Toronto, the Twins have already been eliminated from the postseason, which is a major shame for O's fans hoping to cheer on the ageless Nelson Cruz. The 40-year old slugger only spent one season in Baltimore (2014), but what a season it was.
Atlanta employs Nick Markakis, which means they are automatically worth cheering for until the end of time (or Markakis retires, whichever comes first).
Good teams, but meh (A's, Reds and Brewers)
The Athletics have sneakily been one of the best teams in baseball the past three seasons. They won 97 games in each of the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and they were on a nearly identical pace in 2020's truncated season.
Still, they are a team without many well-known stars. Their uniform color combination is the best in baseball which gives them a nice boost too.
Cincinnati has Trevor Bauer and Joey Votto, who are two of the most interesting personalities in baseball. They don't have much else, though they are a good, breakout team which is always nice to see.
The Brewers have Christian Yelich, who is awesome, and Devin Williams, the rookie reliever whose changeup is the best, most fun pitch in all of baseball. Those two alone make Milwaukee worth cheering on. Also, Miller Lite.
Young, fun underdogs (White Sox, Padres and Marlins)
None of these teams entered the season as likely World Series contenders. Sure, the White Sox were bringing up some very high-end talent and the Padres clearly had designs on a playoff run, but nobody was putting these teams in the same conversations as baseball's best.
That's not true anymore, particularly of San Diego. The Padres were baseball's most fun team this season, led by potential MVPs Fernando Tatis Jr and Manny Machado along with a whole host of grand slam-hitters. And with Luis Robert patrolling the outfield, and Lucas Giolito on the mound, the White Sox may very well have been baseball's second-most fun team.
Then there are the Marlins. Miami has (somehow) literally never lost a postseason series in franchise history, and it would be incredible to see that streak continue in a season in which they were expected to finish much closer to the top pick than the postseason.
The Marlins are essentially the Orioles if their early-season hot streak lasted long enough to make the playoffs. This group of teams is easily the most fun group to be picking from if you're an O's fan looking to hitch your fandom to an October bandwagon.