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A rivalry? Not yet.

May 21, 2010, 2:35 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Nats-Mets didn't pack 'em in. Will the Battle of the Beltways?

Nyjer Morgan didn't arrive in D.C. until last July, so he hasn't experienced any interleague play with the Nationals to date. The effervescent center fielder was talking yesterday about how much he's looking forward to this weekend's series against the Orioles. The Pirates don't have a true geographic rival (they share the Indians with the Reds) so he's anticipating a raucous scene the next three days at Nationals Park.

I didn't have the heart to tell him he's probably going to be disappointed.

Much as the two sides have tried to play up the Battle of the Beltways, there's really not much to this Baltimore-Washington rivalry yet. It doesn't help that neither franchise has posted a winning record since the Nationals arrived in town in 2005. (Come to think of it, the Orioles haven't posted a winning record since 1997. For all the ridicule the Pirates take for their 17-year losing streak, the O's aren't far behind.)

These annual interleague games do seem to draw a few more fans to the ballpark, and there probably will be a robust "O!" cheer tonight during the national anthem from the folks who make the trek down from Balmer. But this remains a tame rivalry at best, certainly not worthy of being included among baseball's best geographic tiffsRead more ยป

  1. Anonymous - May 21, 2010 at 2:48 PM

    Diasgree… clearly you don't have friends who are O's fans.

  2. WFY - May 21, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    Until the Nats are genuinely a playoff contender, I want these series more than any other. What Peter Angelos did the Nats is unforgivable and I root for him to fail.

  3. Anonymous - May 21, 2010 at 2:57 PM

    There should be no joy among Baltimorons–GO NATS. Other than myself, I will say that I feel there is more of an anti-DC sentiment in Baltimore, than there is an anti-Baltimore sentiment in DC

  4. Anonymous - May 21, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    "I will say that I feel there is more of an anti-DC sentiment in Baltimore, than there is an anti-Baltimore sentiment in DC "Heck yes! Since Angelos started campaigning against DC getting a team, I've refused to ever go to an Orioles game in Balmer.Oh, and which is the only team in all of MLB who doesn't even control their own TV rights? That would be the Nats — Angelos contols their TV rights. How f&cked up is that?Darn straight there's more anti-Baltimore sentiment in DC. The Orioles did it the hard way: they earned it (our antipathy).

  5. Pete - May 21, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    I am a typical DC O's and Nats fan. Definitely like the Nats more now, but still have some warm memories from the O's. Plus, as nice as Nats park is, it still doesn't hold a candle to Camden Yards. That promenade is the tits.

  6. Anonymous - May 21, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    After some surprisingly small crowds the last two days for Nats-Mets (19,384 on Wednesday, 23,612 last night) C'MON Mark those are freakin' paid attendance figures, the crowds are much smaller than that…report the TRUTH about the number of people who attend games not the $$$ that the Lerners care about!!! I would love an ampproximate acutal attedance counting on a Friday or Saturday vs a Tuesday or Wednesday and we wll see what the true fan base is!!!

  7. Anonymous - May 21, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    The number one thing killing the Nationals-Orioles rivalry is MASN.Over and over and over, Nats fans come home to take a look at a Nats win on replay, and find MASN is running an Orioles' loss instead. I want 100 % of Nats games replayed, just like every other baseball network in America. They have the power to show 100% of Nats replays and 100% of O's replays. Instead I come home after a daytime win that I wasn' able to watch due to my job, and an Orioles Classic is on MASN. Mark can you find out why they can't replay all our games and all their games?MASN also kills the rivalry by causing commentators to pull their punches. Like it or not, our entire Nationals TV crew is supervised by Peter Angelos because of the MASN deal. Imagine watching a Yankees game where the commentators were afraid to talk bad about Mets management. That's what we have here.They also kill the rivalry by the idiotic "oh come let us broadcast together" format of the Nats and O's TV crews broadcasting the interleague games as one big, happy, dull, inoffensive family. It's like watching a student-faculty game at a junior high school–no one in the broadcast booth really cares too much who wins. Try to imagine the Celtics and Cavaliers jointly broadcasting their last series. That's what we have on MASN. It's collusion.The MASN effect even affects radio coverage on WFED. We've got radio people (not Charlie and Dave though) who also receive MASN paychecks. It would be too much, considering human nature, to think they wouldn't pull their punches on the radio on Angelos, when he is paying their salary for their MASN work.Finally, the MASN/Angelos effect has a strong influence on the potential rivalry within the Natosphere. Ben Goessling is a nice writer, but is he going to stoke a Nats-0's rivalry, when the CORE of that rivalry is Peter Angelos himself–and his determined multi-year effort to kill baseball in Washington?No. On every front, the MASN effect dulls the sharp edges of a rivalry and makes certain everyone keeps getting paid to make nice-nice.

  8. Anonymous - May 21, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    yeah, what he said

  9. DoubleH - May 21, 2010 at 5:50 PM

    47 years old and a life long O's fan until I made the switch which actually pre-dated the Nats coming to town. I just couldn't take what Peter "the Great" had done to my once proud franchise. The steps he took to prevent DC from getting baseball just cemented the deal for me. I can only hope that in another 100 years (when the O's still haven't won a thing) they're calling it the curse of the Angelos.

  10. Sec3MyTerp - May 21, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    You want a rivalry? Here's an idea: have the Nationals host "Duke University Night" when the Orioles are here.On second thougth, maybe "Ten Cent Beer Night" would be safer.

  11. Anonymous - May 21, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    they're calling it the curse of the Angelos.Then let's not forget the governhater of Baltimore: William Donald Schaefer.

  12. Anonymous - May 21, 2010 at 6:14 PM

    "They also kill the rivalry by the idiotic "oh come let us broadcast together" format of the Nats and O's TV crews broadcasting the interleague games as one big, happy, dull, inoffensive family."Actually, it looks like MASN may have finally wised up and decided not to do the combined broadcast booth thing this year. They're showing the games on both MASN and MASN2 (and why do that if you're just showing the same thing on both stations?) and whenever they've run the graphic showing the Orioles games coming up, Carpenter and Dibble have made no mention of the booths being combined, which they always did in years past. So cross your fingers, maybe you won't have to listen to the O's guys this year!

  13. DoubleH - May 21, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    So, I can just imagine having to watch the game in lo-def MASN2 if I want to avoid the insufferable Jim Palmer. (Just another one of my pet peeves!)At least I've got tickets for Sunday and can avoid the whole issue.

  14. yankish2 - May 21, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    Hate to disappoint you MASN bashers, but they are going to do the combined broadcast booth. I think it adds some interest.And Mark, aren't the Phils the Pirates' geographic rivals?

  15. Mark Zuckerman - May 21, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    Yankish2: No, the Pirates and Phillies are both in the NL. The Phillies' interleague rivals rotate between the Red Sox and Blue Jays. The Pirates sometimes have the Indians and sometimes have no AL rival.

  16. alm1000 - May 21, 2010 at 6:39 PM

    I agree with the long rant by Anom above.Unfortunately they have announced that they would be doing the joint broadcast.I call it the "disrespectful O" because that's what it is – disrespectful to our national anthem, trying to put a crappy team above our country.I hate Angelos and the Os.I went to a subway series game at Shea in 2000 and that was really cool – the atmosphere was electric with the sold out stadium hanging on every pitch. We will never have that here, unfortunately since you need 2 teams that are good and vieing for the loyalty of the same fanbase. Despite what Angelos has said in the past, the Os and Nats do not have the same fanbase so we will never develop that my team is better than yours rivalry. And the Os will always (hopefully) be crappy.

  17. The Great Unwashed - May 21, 2010 at 6:39 PM

    Sorry to disappoint you Anon 2:14, but Bob Carpenter said yesterday that they'll be doing the combined announcing team again this year.

  18. Anonymous - May 21, 2010 at 7:15 PM

    I was a partial STH in Baltimore through '04, and planned to attend a few games there after the Nats came to DC, but Angelos' meddling made me swear off the O's. To me, this series is just another useless interleague one against a bad team I care nothing about.

  19. Cwj - May 21, 2010 at 7:22 PM

    Actually I kinda enjoyed the joint broadcast last year. Both sides essentially just point out the positives (a little kissing up) of the other team.

  20. Anonymous - May 21, 2010 at 8:07 PM

    Glad you enjoyed it, Cwj. Why talk about Angelos screwing Washington baseball history into the ground, his regular insults to Washington baseball fans, his pathetic mismanagement of his own franchise, and his chumming up with totalitarian monsters like Fidel Castro, when we can enjoy toothless banter from cheery guys and gals who get paid the same no matter who wins the "contest" on the field?Don't you realize MASN has conned you?

  21. K.D. - May 21, 2010 at 8:15 PM

    Anon at 1:20; So Mark is supposed to stand and count the filled seats? What else are you supposed to go by except tickets sold. I actually don't mind the combined booth attendance, gives you a different perspective hearing about your team by different staff.

  22. LoveDaNats - May 21, 2010 at 8:26 PM

    As a "Washingtonian" who half-heartedly followed the O's before we got baseball back in DC, I cannot see how this rivalry will develop. There are too many Nats fans who have fond memories of Camden Yards and the O's when that's all we had. As for their current troubles, I know what it's like being a fan of the worst team in baseball. To me, gloating would be like kicking a guy when he's down.

  23. LoveDaNats - May 21, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    Of course, I still want the Nats to sweep the series.

  24. cadeck13 - May 21, 2010 at 9:01 PM

    I hate the combined booth, but I really hate the disrespect of the National Anthem – disgusting. As much as I dislike the Phillies fans I'd rather watch/go to Phillies v Nats than the O's.

  25. Cwj - May 21, 2010 at 9:09 PM

    Anon 4:07 – Trust me I hate MASN. My dad and I bash it all the time. I don't think either team's announcers are bad though. Listening to Palmer reminds me of the late 80's :)

  26. Cwj - May 21, 2010 at 9:16 PM

    Cadeck13 – surely you jest! The Phillies fans over the Orioles? I have noticed the O's fans being surprisingly belligerent this year (who can blame them?), but at least you wont have to worry about one of them vomiting on your daughter

  27. cadeck13 - May 21, 2010 at 9:34 PM

    Cwj, what I meant was, I dislike the Phillies fans, but I like the actual game between the Phillies & Nats rather than a game between the O's & the Nats….sorry for not being more clear on that :) The Phillies fans are the worst!

  28. Anonymous - May 21, 2010 at 11:30 PM

    Pete – the Baltimore park is all phony like a model railroad layout. Or a Disney park. It's all fake retro. No soul whatsoever. The fence – just the right height got photo op catches. The warehouse – a facade for K street law firm offices. I could go on. It's a fraud.

  29. Cwj - May 21, 2010 at 11:38 PM

    Oh I would disagree. Oriole Park is beautiful. My favorite would be PNC Park though.

  30. Rich - May 24, 2010 at 4:04 PM

    I went up to Camden Yards last year when the Nationals played there. First time I'd been there since 2001. It wasn't nearly as nice as I remember (or as Baltimore fans think it is). Certainly its importance to baseball, in terms of how it represented a paradigm shift in ballpark design, cannot be overstated, but on the whole it's been surpassed in a number of ways. The majority of the seats at Camden Yards are aligned incorrectly for watching baseball–if you sit anywhere other than the infield sections, or the far left-field seats, you have to turn yourself at an angle or keep your neck twisted uncomfortably because the seats face across the outfield. That's dumb. Heck, RFK had better sight lines than Camden Yards, even though as a stadium RFK is quite decrepit and is blown away by Camden Yards in most respects. There are no cupholders on the seats at Camden Yards (RFK either, of course, but this isn't about RFK). Cupholders are one of those things that seem so obvious that you wonder why it took so long for them to be invented. The concession stands at Camden Yards are all on the wrong side of the concourse, i.e., between the concourse and the field, so you can't see the field when you go to get a beer or something. Sure, they have TV monitors, but if you want to watch a game on TV wouldn't you just stay home and save some money? When the concourse is designed properly, you can quickly dash across to see the field if something happens (assuming you're not waiting on line at the concession stand already, of course). The scoreboard could stand to be upgraded to a newer model.Of course some of these things, the concourse design in particular, were developed after Camden Yards was built, and it's not reasonable to suggest that they gut the place to change these kinds of things. But I think it's a bit overly simplistic to say that because it was the best in 1992 it's automatically still the best today. It's not. Now, of course the warehouse lends a lot more character than those two car parks at Nationals Park, which I think were a design mistake. But no ballpark is perfect nor ever will be.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 64 -- 0
ATLANTA 76 76 11.5
MIAMI 74 77 13.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 82 18.0
Through Wednesday's early games
x-Clinched division title

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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