HomeTeamsNationalsA History of the Nationals-Orioles Beltway Series

A History of the Nationals-Orioles Beltway Series

The Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles faced each other once again for the Beltway Series at Nationals Park, with the Nats winning 3-0 on Tuesday and the Orioles winning 7-6 in a 12-inning thriller on Wednesday.

But for this article, instead of a typical series recap, we’re going to reflect on the history of the Beltway Series between Washington and Baltimore, which started in 2006, a year after the Montreal Expos moved to D.C., in terms of stats and notable aspects over the years.

The first matchup between the Nationals and Orioles took place at RFK Stadium on May 19th, 2006, with Baltimore winning by the score of 5-1. The rivalry then moved to Nationals Park for Washington home games starting in 2008.

The Orioles have the superior W-L record over the Nationals at 56-40, as well as the better season series record at 10-2-6. Baltimore also has the superior record both at home at Camden Yards (29-18) and on the road at RFK Stadium/Nationals Park (27-22). In the years including Montreal, the O’s are 62-49.

2012 was a landmark year for the Beltway Series as it marked the first year both the Nationals and Orioles made the playoffs, while 2014 was the first year both teams won their respective divisions at the same time.

However, the series isn’t without controversy, as a history of play between the two clubs, owner disputes, television issues, and fan chants have been very prominent over the years.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, both Baltimore and Washington had numerous franchises such as the early Orioles and Nationals/Senators. However, the original Orioles folded in 1902, and were re-enfranchised as the New York Yankees in 1903.

Play resumed between the two cities in 1954 when the St. Louis Browns relocated to Baltimore and became the current Orioles, but the original Senators moved to Minnesota after 1960 and became the Minnesota Twins, while the second Senators franchise moved to Texas after 1971 and became the Texas Rangers.

Since 2005, both the Nationals and Orioles have played most of their television games on the regional Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), which is headquartered in Baltimore, and with the O’s owning 77 percent of the network and the Nats owning 23 percent, this has involved a series of broadcast practices and rights fees that have made the regional sports network controversial.

One big Orioles tradition is fans yelling “O!” during the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner,” which had also penetrated the Washington market from 1972-2004. However, even when the Nats aren’t hosting Baltimore, some Washington fans resent importing O’s traditions into Nats culture and some sports fans consider yelling “O!” to be disrespectful to the American flag.

Meanwhile, some fans even question whether such a rivalry even exists, with one notable factor being fans of both the Nats and O’s at the same time. While relatively few Baltimore-area fans support the Nationals, many Washington-area sports fans adopted the Orioles as their “home team” from 1972-2004 when D.C. had no MLB team.

This has resulted in many D.C. sports fans to continue to root for the Orioles, either instead of or in addition to rooting for the Nationals, and supporting both teams is made easier by the two clubs being in different leagues and the rarity of their meetings compared to their multiple games against divisional and league rivals, with the Beltway Series continuing to draw well in both Baltimore and Washington.

Harry Lichtman
Harry Lichtmanhttps://mlbreport.com/
Washington Nationals Beat Reporter | Frostburg State University Class of 2018 | Resident of Potomac, MD


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here