Baltimore's magical run -- which snapped a streak of 14 straight losing seasons -- recaptured the attention of a city that hadn't seen postseason baseball since 1997. The O's hadn't been competitive in what felt like an eternity, but there's a buzz among the players that says the dog days could be over.
But what made the Orioles click -- and what will make them click next year -- was good chemistry. Baltimore's players were behind each other, and will be behind each other again in 2013.
So when Mark Reynolds fielded questions after the O's 3-1 loss to the Yankees in the decisive Game 5 of the American League Division Series on Friday night, almost every answer ended in thoughts about doing it all again next year.
"We had so many people step up this year and a lot of guys put some stuff together for us, and without contributions from everyone in here, we wouldn't be where we are," Reynolds said. "For it to end this way stings, but we had a good run. We have experience and I hopefully next year we'll be back in this situation."
Reynolds signed a three-year, $14.5 million contract before the 2010 season with an $11 million option for 2013. He hit just .221 in 2012 -- and .136 in the postseason -- but his transition to first base couldn't have gone smoother. His option is expensive, but he proved himself a valuable asset and a team player on an O's club that surprised the masses with its trip to the ALDS.
"I'd definitely like to come back," Reynolds said. "This is the most fun I've ever had playing baseball, this group of guys. There's a bunch of ballplayers in this room. No prima donnas, nobody for themselves. Just ballplayers who pull for each other, and who wouldn't want to be in that environment."
In a similar position is Nate McLouth, who was signed midseason as a free agent after he was cut by the Pirates. McLouth resurrected his career with the Orioles and played a huge role in their march to the playoffs, and like Reynolds, would love to come back in 2013 to try to win it all with the O's.
"Personally, I couldn't have had a better time in the time I've spent here, the two months I've been up here," he said. "I am appreciative they gave me the opportunity and I had a great time."
As for their immediate plans? Take some time off and reflect on the season. Whether Reynolds and McLouth will both return remains to be seen, but both would be thrilled to be in black and orange on April 2 in St. Petersburg.
"We made it to the playoffs and nobody expected that," Reynolds said. "We pushed the Yankees to five games. Nobody expected us to beat Texas on the road. Overall, it's not the final result we wanted, but we're going to regroup and get ready for another 162."
Adam Rosenbloom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.