BALTIMORE — You are a citizen of Red Sox Nation, still basking in the glow of last year’s unexpected October magic, but you are having a little trouble getting into an ALCS with no Red Sox, Yankees, Angels, or Tigers.

This year it’s the Orioles and the Royals — pennant-starved franchises that have lost more games in this century than any other American League teams. The emerging stars of this ALCS are guys named Eric Hosmer and Zach Britton, and the key players could be the long relievers. Not very sexy. You might even have trouble finding the games on your cable system.

Take heart, Sox fans. The Orioles are your hardball cousins, and I am here to tell you why it matters that Baltimore is back in baseball’s Final Four Showcase. You’d do well to adopt the Orioles for the next three weeks. The “modern day” Orioles joined the American League 60 years ago and have played an enormous role in Red Sox history over the last seven decades.

The Baltimore Orioles gave Boston Babe Ruth, Willie Tasby, Mike Boddicker, Larry Lucchino, Theo Epstein, Dr. Charles Steinberg, and Janet Marie Smith.

Baltimore always matters to Boston because Baltimore is the home of George Herman Ruth, and the Bambino is the guy who came to the Red Sox as a rookie (via the Baltimore Orioles of the International League) in 1914 and stuck around for three championship seasons, throwing shutouts and hitting homers. The Sox sold him to the Yankees in a cash deal that decimated the Boston franchise and triggered 86 years of frustration. You know the story.

When the upstart big-league Orioles (they were the St. Louis Browns before they moved to Baltimore in ’54) came to Fenway in 1956, the great Ted Williams made …read more