|First meeting||May 19, 2006
Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Washington, D.C.
|Latest meeting||September 24, 2015
Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
|Next meeting||August 22, 2016
Orioles Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
|Regular season||Orioles, 33–23 (.589)|
|Largest victory||Nationals, 17–5 on May 20, 2011|
|Current streak||Orioles, 3|
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 the folding of the original Washington Senators franchise in 1899 and the departure of the subsequent two franchises of the same name to become the Minnesota Twins in 1960 and Texas Rangers in 1971.
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, 33–23.
Controversy fueling the rivalry
Opposition to relocation by the Orioles
Although this rivalry is new, it has a strong basis because of the circumstances surrounding the Nationals' founding. Peter Angelos, the owner of the Orioles, opposed the move of the Montreal Expos to Washington, D.C. 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, mostly due in part to their then-new ballpark.
Both cities have a long history of professional baseball teams, beginning with the 1882 American Association Baltimore Orioles and followed by the 1886 Washington Nationals of the National League. The original Washington Senators (now the Twins) and Baltimore Orioles (now the Yankees) were both charter members of the American League in 1901.
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, DC 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.|
- "Nationals Broadcast Schedule". nationals.com. Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
- "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.
- Brewing a Rivalry (Washington Post)
- No Need to Read Between the Lines (Washington Post)
- Dawn of a New Rivalry (SI.com)
- The Next Great Baseball Rivalry (Business Week)
- Beltway Battle Has Become Crowd Pleaser (Washington Post)