Every general manager and manager discusses strategy heading into a season.
What kind of team do they want to build, and how will they construct it?
They lay out a blueprint for what they want to do.
Some teams haven't followed their preseason plans to the letter. Adjustments needed to be made, and in some cases, the team they constructed turned out to be a different type of team than what the builders originally envisioned.
For the Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Oakland A's and Texas Rangers, those blueprints have led to a successful 2012 campaign, one that has resulted in a playoff berth and a chance to advance to the World Series.
Reaching the Fall Classic is the ultimate goal, and to reach it, these teams need to stay true to who they are—to follow the blueprints that the players designed over the course of a 162-game season.
Let's take a look at what got the American League contenders this far, and how that translates to potentially ending the season with a championship parade.