The Battle Of The Beltways Should Be Fun

DC Sports Nexus ---- Monday, May 21, 2012

Two Baseball Cities Less Than An Hour Apart

Have you ever spent a weekend up in Baltimore for a baseball game?  It is amazing.  The stadium is nice, the fans are passionate, and the pregame & postgame nightlife is great.  I don’t care what team you root for, you will have a good time in Charm City.

The baseball experience in DC is slightly different, but you can still have a great time.  While the stadium may have been built with no charm at all, and our bars are a cab ride away, a baseball weekend in the Nation’s Capital is quite an experience.  

People that live in D.C. and Baltimore may be very fervent and particular about their home cities, but it doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy taking a short road trip for a new experience every once and awhile.  And as a baseball fan, who doesn’t want to check out one of America's baseball towns.

That is one of the things that makes the Battle of the Beltways series so amazing.  Two cities that are less than an hour apart, each with their own charm & uniqueness, coming together for some summer baseball.  You can grab your friends & family, drive a short ways, and have a baseball experience.

Non-Rival Rivalry

The other great part about the series is that you have a National League team playing an American League team.  That means that the games, while not meaningless, are not as important as most other games during the year.  That should lead to an environment where the rivalry is fun, instead of vicious as in division rivialries.

A “light-rivalry” such as this one, caused by geographical location, should be a time when fans of opposing teams jab and jeer each other in a friendly and... matter instead of vomiting on each other and getting in fights like an O’s/Yankees game or a Nats/Phillies game.  These two great mid-Atlantic fan bases should be engaging in friendly positive banter.

An Intensifying Rivalry

In seasons past the Battle of the Beltways have been fun for the most part.  Typically when the two teams meet they are not even close to their division leads and are struggling to not look like the Keystone Cops on the field.

However, in 2012, each team has over-performed and division titles are on the minds of each organization.  The Orioles are leading their division and have the 2nd best record in baseball.  The Nats are 1 ½ games back after leading the division for most of the season.  And let's face it, winning breeds emotion.

The improvement of each team and their place in the standings has caused this series to get a little more intense.  What used to be a fun time when O’s & Nats fans could come together to laugh at their team’s incompetence has become a time when Nats fans can’t stand listening to the Orioles fans cheer as they beat their home team.   

You can even see it on the field with guys like Davy Johnson bringing up "spit-ball", and guys like Adam Jones getting fired up about the Bryce Harper hype.

A Section Of Bad Fans

As discussed earlier, the best way to mess with fans of another team is to do it with some humor and fun.  However, in this series, a select group of Baltimore fans did not understand that concept and they let the intensity of the games cloud their judgement.

At the game on Saturday night, “F**k You Nats!”  was randomly screamed by three guys in O's jerseys in first inning as they stared at a couple wearing Nats jerseys. Why would you yell this in the first inning of a baseball game AT someone when nothing happened?  If It was in a funny tone I get it, but it was with anger from the heart. 

“Bryce Harper F’ing Sucks!” Really.  Couldn’t have gone with an “overrated” chant or “bust!”  Those would have at least been sarcastic and funny.  But no, this particular O's fan went deep down inside to that moment when his girlfriend broke up with him for being an alcoholic and screamed, “Bryce Harper F’ing Sucks!” with 8 year old kids in the seats next to him.

Yelling drunk angry things is not a Baltimore thing (necessarily).  This happens at every game in every sport.  I assure you Nationals fans (I know Skins fans at least) scream similar meaningless things and vulgar hate-filled things.  It just seemed to be turned up a notch for this series between two winning teams, it seemed to be more personal, and it seemed to be coming more from the Baltimore side (although they were winning, and everyone is confident with a lead).


So chill out fans!  This series is supposed to be fun.  When Nats fans go up to Baltimore for the next round, they need to do so with a smile on their face.  And Baltimore fans need to do the same.  Don't stop the heckling, just be smart about it.  Welcome the Nats fans to Camden Yards with boos, clever insults, and friendly banter.  Let's drink a few Boh's together in Fed Hill.  

Because let's face it, we aren't Yankees/Sox/Rays/Jays fans and they aren't Phils/Mets/Braves/Marlins fans.  We are all baseball fans...

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