When it comes to playing against each other, the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles have maintained a fairly cordial rivalry

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Washington Nationals (Credits: Sports Al Dente)

Dave Martinez was straightforward when asked about the rivalry between the Nationals and Orioles. He said, “Honestly, no. It really hasn’t.”

While some fans and a few lawyers might disagree, Martinez likely meant that despite being close geographically, there isn’t much hostility between the teams when they face off. Their rivalry has been pretty friendly on the field.

“I have a lot of respect for them, and I believe they feel the same way about us,” Martinez added. Both teams have young talent and are playing well, making their matchups exciting for fans.

The Nationals’ 3-0 win over the Orioles on Tuesday marked the first of four games between the teams this season, despite being just 40 miles apart.

Since the Nationals moved to D.C. from Montreal 20 years ago, there has been ongoing legal dispute over TV rights fees, mainly due to opposition from Orioles ownership. However, this legal battle hasn’t affected the players or fans much.

“It’s just another game, another series we need to win. They’re just next door,” Orioles pitcher John Means said. “Since we’re not in the same division and different league, it’s a bit tougher to build that rivalry.”

Recently, Baltimore has been led by Brandon Hyde while Washington has been managed by Martinez. The two even won a World Series together as coaches with the Chicago Cubs in 2016.

Washington Nationals (Credits: Sports Al Dente)

“I have no hard feelings toward Davey. I respect him a lot. Maybe I’ll feel differently this series,” Hyde joked.

“There’s a lot of mutual respect.” There were a couple of ejections in Tuesday’s game, but it was because Hyde and Orioles designated hitter Ryan O’Hearn argued with the plate umpire, not with any of their opponents.

One thing that made this game different was that both teams wore their special City Connect uniforms — the first time two MLB teams wore them in the same game. Fans from both sides enjoyed seeing them.

However, establishing a major rivalry between the Nationals and Orioles has been challenging since they are in different leagues. While matchups like Mets-Yankees and Cubs-White Sox are intense, the proximity between Washington and Baltimore isn’t quite the same. Fans in this area can be territorial toward each other, but not always.

The NHL’s Washington Capitals, for instance, have a lot of fans in the Baltimore area. And before the Nationals came, many baseball fans in the D.C. area supported the Orioles.

Baltimore Orioles (Credits: Sports Al Dente)

It might be easier to build a rivalry if both the Nationals and Orioles were doing well at the same time. But that hasn’t happened often. They both made it to the playoffs in 2012, 2014, and 2016, but that’s about it. And they’ve never gone past the Division Series in the same year.

Maybe things will change soon. The Orioles had the best record in the American League last year, and they’re doing well this year too. So it’s no surprise that many of their fans were at Nationals Park for the first Beltway Series game.

Washington didn’t do so well last year, but the win on Tuesday means they have a better record than losses for the first time since July 2021.

“My first year here, they were really good, and then we’ve both kind of gone in weird directions,” Hyde said. “But we’re still really close. I respect them a lot. (Ex-Orioles reliever) Hunter Harvey’s over there too. He’s a fan of a lot of people in our clubhouse. It’s a friendly rivalry.”


By Ritik

Ritik Katiyar is pursuing a post-graduate degree in Pharmaceutics. Currently, he lives in Srinagar, Uttarakhand, India. You can find him writing about all sorts of listicle topics. A pharmaceutical postgrad by day, and a content writer by night. You can write to him at [email protected]

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