Clashing Cities: The Baltimore Orioles Vs. Washington Nationals Rivalry

Kevin Smith

nationals vs orioles

The rivalry between the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals is a captivating spectacle that intertwines the storied history of one team with the rise of a newer franchise.

Since the Nationals’ move to Washington, D.C., in 2005, these neighboring teams have engaged in thrilling “Battle of the Beltways” matchups, igniting the passion and loyalty of their fanbases.

Despite the relatively short duration of their rivalry, iconic moments have already emerged, showcasing the competitive spirit and regional pride that define this clash.

This introduction sets the stage for a compelling tale of baseball competition, where tradition meets modernity on the diamond of America’s pastime.

History: Baltimore Orioles Vs Washington Nationals

The history of the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals can be compared and contrasted in various aspects, considering their origins, achievements, and overall impact on their respective cities and MLB.

Origins and Relocations

  • Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles’ history dates back to the late 19th century when they were founded as the Milwaukee Brewers in 1894.
    They later moved to St. Louis and became the St. Louis Browns before finally relocating to Baltimore in 1954. The Orioles have been a staple in the Baltimore sports scene for decades.

  • Washington Nationals: The Nationals’ history is relatively newer compared to the Orioles.
    They were established in 1969 as the Montreal Expos, based in Canada.
    After years of playing in Montreal, the team moved to Washington, D.C., in 2005, becoming the Washington Nationals.
    The arrival of the Nationals brought MLB back to the nation’s capital after a prolonged absence.

Achievements and Championships

  • Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles have a more extensive history of success, with three World Series titles to their name (1966, 1970, 1983). They also have multiple American League pennants and division titles, establishing themselves as a prominent franchise in MLB history.

  • Washington Nationals: The Nationals’ first significant achievement came in 2019 when they won their first World Series title, capturing the hearts of their fans and making history for the franchise. Prior to that, the Nationals had won several division titles, showcasing their competitiveness in the league.


  • Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles play their home games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful and iconic ballparks in baseball. The team has a passionate and dedicated fanbase that has supported them through both highs and lows.

  • Washington Nationals: The Nationals’ home stadium is Nationals Park, a modern and fan-friendly ballpark located in the heart of Washington, D.C.
    Since their move to the capital, the Nationals have gradually built a loyal fanbase that continues to grow, especially after their World Series victory in 2019.

Fanbase: Baltimore Orioles Vs Washington Nationals

Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles have a long and storied history dating back to the late 19th century, which has helped them establish a strong and devoted fanbase. They have been an integral part of the Baltimore sports scene for decades, becoming a beloved institution in the city.

Orioles fans are known for their loyalty and enthusiasm, even during times of struggles for the team. The support for the Orioles runs deep in Baltimore, and the team enjoys a rich tradition that has been passed down through generations.

The team’s success in the past, including three World Series titles, has contributed to the passionate following it enjoys today.

Washington Nationals

The Nationals, being a relatively newer franchise, had the challenge of building their fanbase from scratch after relocating to Washington, D.C., from Montreal in 2005.

In the early years, the team faced some struggles on and off the field, but they gradually won over the hearts of baseball fans in the nation’s capital.

The Nationals’ fanbase has grown steadily, and their first World Series victory in 2019 played a significant role in solidifying their popularity. Winning the championship not only brought joy to long-suffering Nationals fans but also helped attract new supporters to the team.

Iconic Moments: Baltimore Orioles Vs Washington Nationals Rivalry

There have been some iconic moments that have left a lasting impact on fans and the baseball community. 

Here are a few of those moments

The Battle of the Beltways (2006 – Present)

The Battle of the Beltways is the name given to the interleague series between the Orioles and the Nationals, and it has become an annual tradition since the Nationals moved to Washington, D.C., in 2005.

These matchups provide a unique regional rivalry, with fans from both cities coming together to support their respective teams. The intensity of the games and the proximity of the two cities have made these contests a highlight of the regular season.

2012 “Battle of the Beltways” Series

During the 2012 interleague series, the Orioles and the Nationals were both having successful seasons, and their matchups garnered significant attention.

The teams split the four-game series that year, each winning two games. The series showcased the competitiveness of both franchises and created excitement among their respective fanbases.

Adam Jones’ Walk-off Home Run (2017)

In May 2017, during an interleague matchup between the Orioles and the Nationals at Camden Yards, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones delivered a memorable moment.

With the game tied in the bottom of the ninth inning, Jones hit a walk-off home run to give the Orioles a dramatic victory. The moment was celebrated by Orioles fans and added another layer of excitement to the rivalry.

Bryce Harper’s Return to Nationals Park (2019)

Bryce Harper, a former Nationals superstar, left the team in free agency after the 2018 season to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies. In April 2019, Harper made his highly anticipated return to Nationals Park wearing a Phillies uniform.

The reception he received from the Nationals fans was mixed, showcasing the emotional connection between the player and the fanbase. This moment highlighted the impact that star players can have on a team’s fanbase and the emotions that come with player departures and returns.

2019 World Series Triumph of the Nationals

While not a direct moment in the rivalry with the Orioles, the Nationals’ remarkable run to win the 2019 World Series brought significant attention to the franchise and their passionate fanbase.

The achievement marked the first World Series title for the Nationals since their move to Washington, D.C. It also solidified their status as a force to be reckoned with in MLB and added to the competitive nature of their matchups with the Orioles.

Future Outlook: Baltimore Orioles Vs Washington Nationals

Baltimore Orioles

Their focus remains on their rebuilding process and the development of their young talent. Led by players like Cedric Mullins, Ryan Mountcastle, and top prospect Adley Rutschman, the Orioles have a promising foundation.

Additionally, their farm system boasts potential stars like Gunnar Henderson and DL Hall. However, they must address roster depth, particularly in the bullpen and on defense.

As they continue to nurture their young players and add key pieces through the draft and trades, the Orioles are likely a few years away from contention in the competitive AL East.

Washington Nationals

The Nationals, on the other hand, face a complex situation. With a roster featuring established stars such as Juan Soto, Trea Turner, and Max Scherzer, they have the talent to compete.

However, injuries have been a significant obstacle, and their lackluster farm system presents challenges in replenishing their roster with young talent.

The Nationals must decide whether to hold onto their core players and make strategic additions to bolster their chances of contention or explore trading some assets to rebuild their farm system for long-term success.

Recent Performance: Baltimore Orioles Vs Washington Nationals

Game 1 (September 2022)

  • Baltimore Orioles 4, Washington Nationals 3.

  • The Orioles staged an impressive comeback, scoring four runs in the eighth inning to secure a narrow 4-3 victory over the Nationals.

Game 2 (September 2022)

  • Baltimore Orioles 7, Washington Nationals 0.

  • The Orioles dominated the Nationals in a one-sided affair, winning 7-0. John Means led the way with a complete game shutout, striking out nine batters.

Game 3 (September 2022)

  • Washington Nationals 2, Baltimore Orioles 1 (10 innings).

  • The third game was a tense and closely contested matchup, with the Nationals prevailing 2-1 in 10 innings, thanks to Juan Soto’s walk-off single.

Baltimore Orioles Vs Washington Nationals Rivalry

2006June 23-25Camden YardsWashington9-6
2006June 30-July 2RFK StadiumBaltimore3-2
2007June 22-24Camden YardsWashington4-2
2007June 29-July 1RFK StadiumWashington3-2
2008June 27-29Camden YardsBaltimore3-2
2008June 27-29Nationals ParkWashington5-3
2009June 26-28Nationals ParkWashington4-3
2009June 26-28Camden YardsBaltimore5-3
2010May 21-23Camden YardsWashington7-6
2010June 25-27Nationals ParkBaltimore7-6
2011May 20-22Nationals ParkWashington17-5
2011June 24-26Camden YardsBaltimore7-4
2012May 18-20Camden YardsBaltimore6-5
2012June 22-24Nationals ParkWashington2-1
2013July 8-10Nationals ParkBaltimore6-2
2013July 8-10Camden YardsBaltimore9-6
2014July 7-10Nationals ParkBaltimore6-2
2014July 7-10Camden YardsWashington4-3
2015May 8-10Camden YardsWashington7-4
2015July 10-12Nationals ParkWashington3-2
2016May 9-11Nationals ParkBaltimore4-1
2016July 25-27Camden YardsBaltimore10-8
2017May 8-10Camden YardsWashington6-4
2017July 10-12Nationals ParkWashington8-1
2018May 28-30Nationals ParkWashington3-2
2018July 16-18Camden YardsWashington4-2
2019May 27-29Camden YardsWashington8-1
2019August 27-28Nationals ParkBaltimore2-0
2021August 23-25Camden YardsWashington4-2
2021August 6-8Nationals ParkBaltimore8-7


When did the Baltimore Orioles vs. Washington Nationals rivalry begin?

The rivalry started in 2006 when the Washington Nationals moved to Washington, D.C., and became the Nationals, leading to interleague matchups with the Baltimore Orioles.

What is the “Battle of the Beltways” in relation to this rivalry?

The “Battle of the Beltways” is the name given to the interleague series between the Orioles and the Nationals. It highlights the regional rivalry between the two teams due to their proximity along the Interstate 95 corridor.

How do Orioles and Nationals fans view each other’s teams?

Orioles fans and Nationals fans share a competitive and spirited rivalry. There is mutual respect for each team’s history and accomplishments, but also a desire to see their team prevail in head-to-head matchups.

What are some iconic moments in the Orioles vs. Nationals rivalry?

Some iconic moments include the 2012 “Battle of the Beltways” series, Adam Jones’ walk-off home run in 2017, and Bryce Harper’s return to Nationals Park in 2019 after joining the Philadelphia Phillies.

How often do the Orioles and Nationals play each other during the regular season?

The Orioles and Nationals typically play each other in a limited number of interleague games each season. The number of games may vary depending on the MLB schedule, but they usually meet for a home-and-away series.

To Recap

The Baltimore Orioles vs. Washington Nationals rivalry, though relatively young, has already left a significant mark in MLB history.

The “Battle of the Beltways” interleague series and iconic moments have fueled the passion of both teams’ fanbases.

Orioles fans embrace their team’s rich tradition and history, while Nationals fans continue to grow in number, fueled by recent successes and their dynamic presence in Washington, D.C.

As the rivalry continues to evolve, it exemplifies the essence of sports competition, bringing together two cities and their fans in spirited matchups.

With each new season, the excitement and intensity of these games promise to endure, further cementing this regional clash in the hearts of baseball enthusiasts.

Photo of author

Kevin Smith

I am a dedicated learner who is constantly pursuing my dreams in many areas of life. I am a Finance major at the University of Maryland, a professional baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays and the owner of my personal brand, Elevate Baseball. I hope to inspire younger learners of all sports and interests to tirelessly pursue their dreams, whatever that may be. LinkedIn