A bad headline leads us to an interchange of sports fandom and roadgeekery.
“For all the (I-495) marbles” was surely written by someone on an understaffed copy desk that has never spent time in what I like to call BeltwayLand. It preceded a bloodbath of a Washington Nationals – Baltimore Orioles game; an 11-0 loss for DC. Expletives!
Let’s deconstruct that headline; it’s less troubling than the postmortem of that performance.
I-495 is the 64 miles-long Capital Beltway that for the most part encircles the District of Columbia. The southern and eastern portions of the Capital Beltway also include I-95. The closest the Capital Beltway comes to the Baltimore city limits is about 23 miles.
On the Baltimore Beltway, I-695 is posted on the 51 miles-long loop that clips the southernmost part of Baltimore. Technically, southern and eastern portions are Maryland Route 695, but for continuity, the interstate shield is used throughout. The Baltimore Beltway is about 25 miles from the District border.
For all the I-695 marbles would even work better — both cities have their own I-695.
The interleague series
The annual Washington Nationals vs. Baltimore Orioles series was initially called the Battle of the Beltway. The never worked because there are two beltways – one for each city. Neither connects the two cities.
By 2010, the interleague series was pluralized. This makes more sense since “Beltway” originated in this region. Other areas have adopted “beltway” for roads, but it’s most associated with D.C. and Baltimore has one too.
The “Battle of the Parkway” or something similar has been suggested since the Baltimore-Washington Parkway actually connects the two cities. That corridor is has three different designations of 295 which I’m not going to get into now. Parkway is much more generic of course.
Why we fight
DC vs. Baltimore is a proximity-based rivalry though it’s not particularly intense for most people. In a more perfect world it’d just be regional bragging rights. However, a generation of bad faith from Peter Angelos and his family has made this a bitter rivalry for some. The antagonism towards the Nats, the District and their fans is called The Oriole Way.
The Oriole Way is a belief that a Washingtonian and/or Nats fan is less of a person than a Baltimore fan. It’s bad faith in practice.
The most conspicuous examples of The Oriole Way include:
- 2004: Voting against D.C. baseball
- 2005: The creation of Mid-Atlantic Sports Network and the corrupt bargain that granted the Angelos family no less than 66% ownership of the Nats television broadcast rights.
- Angelos keeping MASN off of most D.C. area cable systems until after the 2006 season began.
- MASN’s underwhelming, if not pro-Baltimore, coverage since 2005.
- Angelos fighting since 2012 the annual payouts to the Nats. The Oriole Way has been nearly a decade of court battles to prevent Angelos from paying out per the terms of his sweetheart deal.
A note of thanks
Thanks to my wife Erica, pictured on the right of me in the above photo, who put more effort into copy-editing this post than the mlb.com copy desk did in the headline above.
On the bright side
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk
Highway markers generated by shields-up.net