Every year since the Baltimore Orioles began his big league career in 2009, Matt Wieters has been a part of the annual Battle of the Beltways. This year will be no different, however he’ll experience it from the opposite dugout. Wieters of course is now the starting catcher in Washington.
That’s more of a player-centric storyline than it is having to do with this weeks two series’ against Washington. Yes, tonight and tomorrow’s games are one series, and Wednesday’s and Thursday’s games in Washington are another. That’s how MLB does these regional rivalry games. But I digress…
…if attendance is any indication, the fans on both sides of the aisle really seem to like these games. But I’ll be honest; they just don’t have the same feel as they did years ago, when ironically both teams weren’t very good. The Orioles used to go down to DC over a weekend in May, and Washington would come up to Camden Yards over a weekend in June. That was good for fans on both sides of the divide, as if you wanted to go and spend the weekend in the other city and see the games you could.
Somehow it isn’t the same when they do two games in one city followed by two games in the other – during the week. However fans across Major League Baseball are happy about that because it places less emphasis on regional rivalries and perhaps more on divisional play. Nevertheless no matter how you spin it, the Orioles play Washington four times this week.
You’ll see a few curly W’s at the yard tonight and tomorrow for sure, however if history has anything to say about it you’ll see A LOT of orange and black at Nationals Park on Wednesday and Thursday. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the games more so than the fans. If the Orioles win, fans will be happy – no matter how many of them they are, or in which park.
The Wieters storyline adds a bit of drama, but more so from the perspective of a former player returning as a visitor. Washington certainly didn’t sign him as a slap in the face to the O’s or anyone else – they needed a catcher and he was available. But it’s always interesting to see these games unfold, because in effect they are between two brothers. And while the Battle of the Beltways certainly isn’t the Subway Series per se, the fact is that nobody does baseball like we do it in the mid-Atlantic region.