Baltimore Orioles: Friendly neighborhood baseball game

The Baltimore Orioles head down I-95 this evening to open the Battle of the Beltways in Washington D.C. against the Washington Nationals. Well, maybe more like down the B/W Pkwy – but you get the idea. The O’s will be in D.C. tonight and tomorrow, and Washington makes a return visit to Camden Yards in September.

Perhaps more so in the stands than on the field, the line between home white and road gray can be a bit blurred in these games. You’ll hear Orioles fans cheering when the Birds score the next two games, many of them having traveled less distance to see their team at Nationals Park than they would at Camden Yards. But either way, it’s the best of the Mid-Atlantic Region on display for all of baseball to see the next two nights. That’s something that should register with pride for both fan bases.

Baltimore and Washington are two very different places, but with many similarities. Some fans on both sides hate the other. But many root for the other city (for the most part, that is). It’s just how things shake down.

And almost everyone in this region has ties in the other city. My grandfather, Dr. Anthony Launi, was a semi-pro catcher in the Washington Senators’ farm system. (In those days semi-pro was akin to today’s minor leagues.) He had a tryout with the big league club, but didn’t make it. So he remained a Washington DC area dentist for years. He certainly did okay for himself, rearing seven kids into adulthood, including my mother! But again, it’s that sort of story which typifies the idea of a “friendly neighborhood baseball game.” For the record, I have one of of my grandfather’s bats at my parents’ house somewhere. I should dig it out sometime soon.

I think it’s a “rivalry” unlike any other in baseball. The Subway Series makes people very bitter – NY fans, that is. Chicago’s games between the Cubs and Sox are similar. But again, those are the same city. Baltimore and Washington are different, yet the same. They don’t intersect but for two series’ a year. However when they do, it’s fun for the fans.

The O’s head to Nationals Park this evening for the series in Washington. Dean Kremer gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Washington’s Josiah Gray. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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