Ever since its origination in the 2006 season, the Beltway Battle is a rivalry that hasn't exactly taken center stage in Major League Baseball.
It's not as historic as the Yankees versus Red Sox. There haven't been near as many games as the Cubs versus Cardinals rivalry. And it is not nearly as dug into baseball lore as the Dodgers versus Giants rivalry.
This year, however, the Orioles and the Nationals have a chance to take their rivalry to a whole new level.
In years past, the Beltway Battle has been a contest between teams in or near the cellar of their respective divisions. The games were a cite for blunders, SportsCenter Not Top 10 highlights, and just bad baseball.
This year, the Beltway Battle features two teams at (or in the Nationals case NEAR) the top of their divisions. Both teams are also in the top six in the MLB standings. These two are separated by just 1.5 games in the overall MLB standings.
Many times this year, both teams have been featured highlights on SportsCenter...for good reasons.
The Beltway Battle actual has some meaning to it this year. With a sweep, it would catapult the Nationals into the second place spot just behind the Dodgers in the overall MLB standings. If the Orioles sweep, they could send themselves to the top spot for the entire league.
Currently, after 36 meetings, the Orioles hold the series lead 19-17. They have had the Nationals number throughout the six year history of the event. The O's have won the season series twice. The Nationals have won the season series once back in 2007.
This past season, the clubs split the season series 3-3. The most memorable game from last season came on May 20th when the Nationals clubbed the O's 17-5 with 19 hits.
Through the first six seasons this rivalry has not been a one sided affair. It has gotten more and more interesting as the seasons have gone on. Now, former Oriole second baseman, and current Nationals Manager, Davey Johnson is part of this mix. That extra element could end up sparking a long standing tradition in baseball history.
While the season is young, this weekend has a lot on the line for both teams. Depending on the outcome, there is a possibility for the series winner to be at the top of the MLB standings.
For both teams, however, this weekend is a chance to jump start this rivalry into one for the history books. This is their chance to make The Beltway Battle one that sticks with baseball historians for years to come.
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