|First meeting||May 19, 2006
Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Washington, D.C.
|Next meeting||August 22, 2016
Orioles Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
|Regular season series||Orioles, 36–24 (.600)|
|Largest victory||Nationals, 17–5 on May 20, 2011|
|Longest win streak||
|Current win streak||Nationals 1|
The Beltway Series, promoted by the teams as The Battle of the Beltways, is the Major League Baseball (MLB) interleague rivalry series played between the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals. The Orioles are a member of the American League (AL) East division, and the Nationals are a member of the National League (NL) East division. The series name is taken from the two beltway highways, the Baltimore Beltway and the Capital Beltway, that service Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The relocation of the Montreal Expos to Washington in 2005 marked the first time the Baltimore–Washington Metropolitan Area had two Major League Baseball franchises since 1971, when the second Washington Senators franchise moved to Texas to become the Texas Rangers.
Interleague play has ensured the rivals have faced one another in each year of their co-existence. The Orioles lead the Beltway Series by year, 6–1–3, and the Orioles also lead the overall series, 36–23.
Controversy fueling the rivalry
Both cities have a long history of professional baseball, beginning with the 1871 Washington Olympics and the 1882 American Association Baltimore Orioles, followed by the 1886 Washington Nationals of the National League. At the formation of the American League in 1901, franchises were placed in both cities, with the original Washington Senators and an earlier Baltimore Orioles among the eight charter members. The Senators and Orioles played 39 times in those first two seasons, with the Orioles winning 22. The original Orioles, however, moved to New York in 1903 and eventually became the New York Yankees.
A new Senators–Orioles rivalry began in 1954 when the St. Louis Browns relocated to Baltimore and became the current Orioles, once again giving both cities teams in the American League and regular meetings each season. This second Senators–Orioles rivalry lasted through the 1971 season. The original Senators moved to Minnesota in 1961 and became the Minnesota Twins and were replaced by a second Senators franchise, which played from 1961 through the 1971 season. After the 1971 season, the second Senators franchise moved to Texas and became the Texas Rangers. Overall, the Orioles won the series with the Senators 224–126, which included an 89–65 mark against the original Senators and a 135–61 record against the second Senators franchise.
Opposition to relocation by the Orioles
In addition to the existing rivalry between the cities of Baltimore and Washington, the Nationals–Orioles rivalry is also influenced by circumstances surrounding the Nationals' founding. Peter Angelos, the owner of the Orioles, opposed the move of the Montreal Expos to Washington on the grounds that it would harm the Orioles financially, contending that the Orioles alone had a legal right to the Baltimore-Washington market. Ultimately, the owners of the other MLB teams approved the move to Washington in a 28–1 vote on December 3, 2004; Angelos cast the sole dissenting vote.
In the four full seasons since baseball returned to Washington, the Nationals drew 9,127,252 fans to their games, compared to 8,892,951 fans attending Orioles games. The Nationals were a larger draw in 2005, while both teams were about the same in 2006 (the Orioles drew exactly 100 more fans that year), and in 2007 the Orioles were a larger draw by nearly 200,000 fans. In 2008 the momentum swung back the Nationals' way, with the Nationals outdrawing the Orioles by over 370,000 fans, due in part to the opening of Nationals Park.
The dispute with Angelos over the move was resolved when the Orioles were granted the right to broadcast Nationals games on their new television network, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. However, the deal was struck only days before the beginning of the 2005 season and many D.C.-area fans did not receive the new network for some time and were unable to watch most games. Furthermore, it has been reported that Angelos and the Orioles hold majority ownership in the network, which has led some Nationals fans to contend that the channel exhibits a bias in covering the Orioles compared to the Nationals (such as displaying the scores of Beltway Series games as "Orioles vs. Washington" as opposed to "Orioles vs. Nationals"). Furthermore, the Orioles changed the name on their away jerseys from "Baltimore" to "Orioles" in 1972 after D.C. lost the last Senators team, in an attempt to convince D.C. fans to adapt them as their team. In 2009, the Orioles changed back to "Baltimore" on their away jerseys.
The tradition of yelling "O!" during the line "Oh say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave" in the "Star Spangled Banner" is a Baltimore Orioles tradition. Over the years it became a staple of Washington, D.C.-area sporting events. The chant has had controversy in the past, and the usage of the "O!" chant at Nationals games has reignited such controversy.
|Team||World Series titles||League pennants||Division titles||Wild card berths||Playoff appearances||World Series appearances||All-time regular season record||Win percentage|
Summary of results
|Orioles wins||Nationals wins||Orioles runs||Nationals runs|
Beltway Series results
|Year||Series Winner||Orioles W||Nationals W||Notes|
|2007||Nationals||2||4||First Nats' Beltway Series win, Nats' last year at RFK Stadium|
|2008||Tie||3||3||Nationals Park opens|
|2009||Orioles||4||2||First O's Beltway Series win|
|2012||Orioles||4||2||Both teams make playoffs. 1st playoff appearance for the Nats.|
|2013||Orioles|||3||1||League realignment, two fewer games in series.|
|2014||Orioles|||3||1||Both teams win their respective East divisions.|
|2015||Orioles|||4||2||Both teams fall short of high expectations and miss playoffs.|
- Major League Baseball rivalries
- Bay Bridge Series, Oakland Athletics vs. San Francisco Giants
- Freeway Series, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
- Subway Series, New York Yankees vs. New York Mets, etc.
- Red Line Series Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox (Named for the Red-line "L" route)
- Citrus Series Miami Marlins vs. Tampa Bay Rays
- "Nationals Broadcast Schedule". nationals.com. Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
- "Head-to-Head results for Washington Senators vs. Baltimore Orioles from 1901 to 1902". Baseball-Reference.com. 2016. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
- "Head-to-Head results for Washington Senators vs. Baltimore Orioles from 1954 to 1960". Baseball-Reference.com. 2016. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
- "Head-to-Head results for Washington Senators vs. Baltimore Orioles from 1961 to 1971". Baseball-Reference.com. 2016. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
- "MLB Attendance Report—2008". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 2, 2010.
- Zillgitt, Jeff (May 2, 2005). "Nationals, fans breathe life into baseball-starved D.C". USA Today.
- Steinberg, Dan (December 15, 2006). "Should the National Anthem "Oh!" be Retired?". Washingtonpost.com. Archived from the original on May 23, 2011.