The Boy Who Loved Joe Kelly: Here at Bleacher Brawls, we recognize that Yankees/Red Sox is the most interesting rivalry in baseball, but not the only one. As a resident of the DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia area), I’m well acquainted with the Battle of the Beltway: the Baltimore Orioles and their little brother, the Washington Nationals. The Girl Who Loved Nick Pivetta (who, for the purposes of this piece, will be known as The Girl Who Loved Adley Rutschman) and I are frequent visitors to both ballparks and figured we should weigh in on this debate.
The Girl Who Loved Adley Rutschman: Is this even a debate? The Nationals had one great thing going for them, Juan Soto, and without him, they will be bad forever. Their farm system sucks. Their best player, Luke Voit, hates being on the team. They’re one of the worst teams all around. The O’s on the other hand, are having an incredible season and I can’t wait for the momentum to keep building. Chaos is coming, baby!
The Boy: Not only will the Nats be bad for years, the Orioles will only get better with their never-ending farm system. Adley, Gunnar, Stowers, DL, Felix…these are just names of stud young players who came up this year. They have more coming. Yes, chaos is coming.
Orioles: 2 Nationals: 0
The Boy: I’m sorry, but orange looks bad on most people. The Nats’ red, white, and blues are patriotic basics, but their Cherry Blossom City Connects might be the best unis in the whole league. That alone gets my vote.
The Girl: While my entire closet is essentially curated around what is acceptable to wear to O’s games at this point, I’m going with Patrick on this one. Is there anything more classic than a red, white, and blue moment? And in the Nation’s capital on top of that? I don’t think so. I love the City Connects as well, although I’m not the biggest fan of the shade of grey they use. I’m excited to see what Baltimore’s will look like in the future when they debut them.
Orioles: 2 Nationals: 2
The Girl: This is once again, a no-brainer for me. There is not a bad seat in Camden. It feels so intimate, even at the very top. The nosebleeds at Nats park will *actually* make your nose bleed. The views are terrible from most places normal people can afford/are willing to spend on a seat. While the Nats do have a lot of great amenities and cool restaurants, it doesn’t get more classic than Camden. Eutaw Street after a win is pure magic, and I’ve especially felt that this season.
The Boy: Camden is better, but Nats Park is nicer. There are great vibes around the park – it’s in a great neighborhood. When you get inside, you’ve got a beautiful layout, great places to eat and drink (and still watch the game!), one of the best and brightest scoreboards in the biz, and it’s a great park to catch a few balls or get a tossup. But with all of that said, unfortunately for Nats Park, Camden Yards is Camden freakin’ Yards. It’s the Ballpark That Changed Baseball, after all.
Orioles: 4 Nationals: 2
The Boy: I’m gonna say something that is going to have me banned from Camden Yards forever: Boog’s BBQ stinks. It’s dry and completely flavorless. Maybe it was good 15, 20 years ago…but it’s not anymore. I’ve tried it three or four times and it’s been bland every time. You can’t be known for your barbeque and serve that. Meanwhile, the pulled pork and cole slaw from the BBQ stand in centerfield at Nats Park is not just good for a park, it’s just good. Everything else is a tie for me, so I’m using the barbeque as my tiebreaker. I’m sorry Birdland, but it’s true. And you know it.
The Girl: Here’s the deal. I’m pretty limited in my ballpark options. I don’t eat red meat or pork, which rules out those delicious hot dogs and hamburgers we all know and love. It’s tough to choose because they each have their own special items.
When it comes to a veggie dog, I have to hand it to the Nats. That said, go to one of their many veggie stands, and not the regular hot dog stands. They’re stale at those. Veggie sausages however, that’s all Camden – and usually I can schmooze another stand to throw some sauerkraut on there for me. Nats beats out Camden in main-stream dining experiences. Can’t go wrong with a shroom burger from Shake Shack or a beer from one of their many brewery stands. The Nats lose a major point though for not having Summer Shandy. I mean, what the hell guys?
I’m copping out and doing a split on this one. One point for each.
Orioles: 5 Nationals: 4
The Girl: I got nailed by a foul ball the other week in D.C. and not only did a fan sadistically take the ball and tell us that I could essentially only have it back if I groveled (I didn’t), fan services never followed up to give me swag (something the first-aid team who kindly gave me ice and tissues told me they would absolutely do). I’m still milking this recovery for my unbruised back (I will never understand how it didn’t bruise because I’m still in some pain a week later…), so until I stop being hateful (never) it’s going to the Orioles.
The Boy: The Orioles play “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” during the 7th inning stretch, and it’s the best part of the night because it hasn’t made any sense since 1978. Who in Baltimore is a country boy?
Orioles: 7 Nationals: 4
The Girl: This is a real toss-up for me… On one hand, I have always viscerally hated the fact that the Orioles do a digitally animated hot dog race. What an absolute copout. They can afford three hot dog suits. Hell, if they’re that broke, I’ll buy it for them and be one of the hot dogs in every race for free. The Nats, however, have a cool Presidents Race where the Mt. Rushmore dudes race with their giant heads across the field and it’s fun and silly. I even get to root for my guy Abe as if I don’t root for him already for a living. However… Nats fans just don’t care about the race. They don’t watch, they don’t cheer, they don’t pick a president. It’s just something that happens in a blink and then the ballgame resumes. The hot dog race on the other hand unifies Camden. Fans feel so passionate about their choice between Ketchup, Mustard, and Relish that a fan literally dumped a gallon of relish on himself the first time relish won last season. That is real dedication, and the entire stadium erupting when that silly animation pops on the screen just can’t be beat.
The Boy: Go Mustard.
Orioles: 9 Nationals: 4
The Girl: The Orioles solely relied on their giveaways and events last season to bring visitors to the ballpark, hence my hefty collection of O’s shirts and swag. They even have a cool concert series where we recently saw The Struts perform a concert post-show a couple of weeks ago. The Birdland team has gotten very good at creating a memorable experience outside of the game. While we don’t travel to D.C. too often for events or t-shirts, we did get to watch Ryan Zimmerman’s number retirement a couple of months ago. That alone teeters the score for me. Ask me again next season and I may have a different answer, but for now, I’m going with the Nats.
The Boy: The swag is cool, but the Nats are just better at using their park to their full advantage. They’ve been hosting concerts for years, have played hockey there, and I even donated to their blood drive earlier this year.
Orioles: 9 Nationals: 6
The Boy: As much fun as it is to yell out the infamous “O!” during the National Anthem in Baltimore (also the birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner), there’s just something special about it in our Nation’s Capitol. They’ve always got a Color Guard or veteran or military band or public servant lead the way and it’s powerful.
The Girl: O!
Orioles: 10 Nationals: 7
The Girl: #ImWithHer (Her being the incredible, entertaining, ethereal Adrienne Roberson with the Baltimore Orioles).
The Boy: I would say Nationals PA Announcer (and high school teacher!) Jerome Hruska solely based on the way he says JUUUAAANNN SOTOOOOOOOO…but he doesn’t get to do that anymore. His leaving really sucked the life outta that place, huh?
FINAL SCORE Orioles: 12 Nationals: 7