Orioles vs. Nationals: Rivalry or not?

In honor of the last game in the Beltway Series between the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals, we figured we’d bring in our resident Orioles and Nationals experts to take the status of how each teams’ fans view the other. Will there be smack talk? You’ll have to find out.


Byline MattWhen I sit at home, I realize it’s 7:05 p.m: time for Orioles baseball. I change the channel to 247 (for Comcast users in Harford County) and up pops a Nationals game. I scowl at the TV and think to myself: Why are THEY on MASN? Why do the Orioles have to play on MASN 2?

That’s how I feel about the Nationals. And I have a feeling that many around Baltimore feel this same way. The Nationals are our neighbors to the South, and we don’t mind them for most of the year. However, when they get in our way of watching our team on MASN, then we have a problem.

Does that make it a rivalry? Or is it more of hatred of inconvenience?

I’d go for the latter in this instance. I sure don’t hate any Nationals players not named Bryce Harper and I sure don’t cheer against the Nationals. But I swear, there’s a certain fury that engulfs me when I see the Nationals playing on MASN.

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The same goes for when the Nationals are successful; I’m not a big fan. However, it wasn’t a problem from when the team started in 2005 through the 2011 season. The Nationals and Orioles were equally awful and I mean awful. Neither team had a winning season and Washington finished with 100+ wins twice in that span.

However, the 2012 season changed everything for Washington and Baltimore. The Nationals won their division and the Orioles made it to the ALDS via the Wild Card game. It was the Nationals best year in their eight years of existence and I got a little jealous after the World Series predictions.

I saw Nationals fans begin to pop up around the DC area; ones that were Orioles fans by default in the years before their city had a baseball team. There was a uprising of Nattiude and I was not happy about it.

So when the Nationals lost tragically in Game 5 of the ALDS to the St. Louis Cardinals, I couldn’t help but feel a little relief. We wanted excitement in the Baltimore-Washington region, but we didn’t want DC to have it all.

It sounds a lot like I’m spewing hate towards Washington; that’s not entirely true. I can travel down to DC and cheer on the Nationals (especially our pal Nate McLouth). I might even vote for Anthony Rendon for the All-Star game, because I simply like the way he plays.

I love watching Stephen Strasburg strike batters out. It’s something I wish the Orioles could find.

See? I wish the Nationals the best. I want them to be good, just not too good.

Is it a rivalry? No, but if we make the World Series, it sure will be!


Byline GabbyAs a Nationals fan, I can’t honestly say that I think of the Orioles as serious enemies or rivals. This whole Battle of the Beltway thing seems like something made up to make us hate each other. I mean yeah, they are the closest team to us, but we only play them once a year.

Now going to a school in the Baltimore area, I have to defend my Nationals in a sea of O’s fans. I love joking to my friends who like them that I want them to lose, but honestly (unless they are playing the Nats) I don’t care about them.

But I have to say, those of us not from Baltimore aren’t a huge fan of the “O” thing you all do during the National Anthem. I am going to a game in August, and I was told that I have to, “sing the O really loud during the National Anthem.” No, I’m OK.

Also, some people have this weird view on Baltimore culture. People like to claim that seeing “The Wire” contributes to their beliefs. They think it’s dirty and scary. And you know it might be both of those things, but I still like it!

I cannot speak for every single Nationals fan when I say the Orioles aren’t that important to us. However, the hype that builds up when they play each other is pretty high and makes me feel like they are a huge rival. But think about it, is it only because we are 38 miles away from each other?

I think we can all agree though that a Nats vs. Orioles World Series would be pretty amazing though!

Is it a rivalry? No.


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