Major League Baseball refers to these seven days as “rivalry week.” It’s the time in which local teams in different leagues go head-to-head, like the Angels and Dodgers, Cubs and White Sox, Mets and Yankees and of course, Orioles and Nationals.
What makes a rivalry though? When I googled it, I got this:
Competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field.
While I myself have hesitated to label these local contests a “rivalry,” the two respective fan bases have certainly cranked up the heat on games. Over 250,000 attended the six games (three in D.C., three in Baltimore last season) and Nats Park was sold out for Monday’s Memorial Day matchup.
In my weekly guest post on MASNSports.com, I looked closer at the making of this rivalry.
There’s much discussion about Washington’s stellar pitching staff, which has posted a 3.53 ERA (seventh-best in all of baseball) over 451 1/3 innings. The Orioles find themselves ranked 23rd on that list with a 4.39 ERA on the season. However, their offense is hitting .275/.332/.459 (second-highest average, fifth-highest on-base percentage, highest slugging percentage in the league).
Washington is down at the bottom with a .230/.292/.367 slash line.
As it turns out, the Battle of the Beltways (or MASN Cup) comes down some of the baseball’s best pitching against its top hitters. Sprinkle in two fan bases who want to prove that their team reigns supreme in this region and you’ve got yourself some pretty exciting baseball.