Nationals outfielder Nate McLouth has been on both sides of the Beltway Series.
Having spent half of 2012 and all of 2013 with the Orioles, McLouth is now on the other end of this unique matchup, featuring two teams almost 40 miles apart from each other.
McLouth, along with other Nationals players, didn’t seem too keen on calling the matchup a rivalry, though. He said the Beltway Series gives fans in the area a reason to take a quick trip to the opposing ballpark.
“I think it’s a different type of deal than say maybe the Redskins-Ravens rivalry, just because Washington is a newer team in the region,” McLouth said. “It seems like it’s real friendly.”
Washington would like to change that perception, considering the amount of Orioles fans that showed up at Nationals Park for Baltimore’s win on Monday and Tuesday’s postponement. Since the Nationals relocated from Montreal in 2005, a lot of the fans in the area kept their allegiance with Baltimore.
But both teams are bringing excitement back to the region. Entering Wednesday’s game in Baltimore, the Orioles stood alone in first place in the AL East. The Nationals were tied for first in the NL East. Less than a week before the All-Star Game, both teams are in great shape to make a postseason run.
“I’m not sure if it’s a rivalry but it’s definitely two good teams playing against each other,” center fielder Denard Span said. “Two sets of good fans here to support both teams. It just so happens both teams are playing good right now.”
Though the cities are close, it’s not the same as Cubs-White Sox games, where fan bases are divided based on neighborhoods; or Yankees-Mets games, where older fans in New York latched on to the Mets after the Dodgers and Giants took their National League clubs out west.
The Orioles and Nationals have played each year since 2006, with Baltimore holding a 4-1-3 series advantage prior to this year’s matchup. Catcher Wilson Ramos noted that while it’s exciting for the fans in this area, the Beltway Series isn’t viewed much differently than any other one.
“They have a pretty good team, and I respect them,” Ramos said. “But we have to play baseball. Every time we play against them or any other team, we have to play hard.”
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