Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Beltway Series 2011: Birdland Bias

By Ben

Duke and UNC.  Michigan and Ohio State.  Yankees and Red Sox.  These three match ups have two things in common;  1) they are the most vicious and traditional rivalries in all of sports. 2) they do not hold a candle to the rivalry between the Washington Natinals and the Baltimore Orioles.  This may seem outlandish to people on the outside of this blood thirsty rivalry, but not to the proud patrons of the D.C./Baltimore area.  This series is known as The Battle of the Beltway, The Beltway Series, or The Beltway Battle. The Series consists of two separate three game sets; one at Camden Yards and the other at Nationals Park.  Have these two teams been embarrassingly bad over the past few years? Yes. But does that really make it any less of a rivalry, I say no.  Friction and eventual hatred is inevitable when two passionate fan bases reside so dang close to each other. Fans of other teams probably think we are nuts and do not take this rivalry seriously, but can we blame them? I mean come on, the only thing The Nats and O’s have been competing at is who is going to pick higher in the MLB Draft (Nats have been running away with this one lately).  But our poor records do not diminish the fuel to this rivalry.

For years the O’s were D.C.’s baseball team.  People from Northern Virginia and Montgomery County would go toe-to-toe with evening rush hour gridlock just to go to Camden Yards to watch Cal and Brady lead the Birds to victory.  You can still hear O’s fans during the National Anthem (skip ahead to 1:27) at D.C. sporting events.   This has become a source of bitterness in the rivalry as Nats fans are starting to complain about a tradition that has been in D.C. since Jimmy Carter was cracking peanut shells in the Oval Office. Basically, long before the Natinals joined our cities’ losing tradition.  Peter Angelos, the Owner of the Orioles, a man who is hated by his own fan base at Snyderian levels, attempted to prevent the Natinals from moving to D.C. because he knew this would impact his fan base and ticket sales.  The close proximity of the cities and the unbreakable passion for the two teams are most responsible for the bad blood.  Whether you drive on 495 or 695, this series is important to you. If you’re team loses the season series you are more than likely going to react like this. (WARNING: Absurdly explicit language. Watch the whole thing…trust me.)

A little history on the Series: 




 The 2011 edition of the hottest rivalry in the DMV kicks off Friday Night at Camden Yards and there will be another 3 game set at Nationals Park June 17-19. Since I am the resident Orioles nut job here at the blog, I will now take up a little bit of your time to elaborate why the Birds will kick off this season’s tilt with a couple of wins.

It looks like the pitching match ups for the first tilt in the 2011 Beltway Series will be Jason Marquis (WSH) vs. Jake Arrieta (BAL).  Marquis actually hasn’t been terrible this year sporting a 5-1 record with an ERA of 3.54.  Marquis, however is your basic run of the mill pitcher in the big leagues.  Not to mention he is 9-8 with a 5.93 ERA vs. the American League in his career.  He is 0-1 in 3 games with an ERA of 7.00 vs. the Orioles including a 4 inning, 7 earned run effort vs. the 2008 Orioles (who boasted a 68-93 record).   He will be matched up with Jake Arrieta.  Arrieta is one of the more exciting young pitchers in the league.  He is a power pitcher with an electric arm.  He has pitched really well so far this season boasting a 5-1 record with a 4.03 ERA .  He is still learning how to pitch in the big leagues, and you can see him getting better with every start he makes.  He has a fastball that tops at 96-97 MPH, but sits at 94-95 throughout the game.  He keeps hitters off balance with his hard breaking curveball. He struggles when he falls behind hitters, but when he gets ahead he can dictate the pace of the game. This should be a good pitching match up, but Marquis is fairly ugly so most of the ladies of the DMV and I give the edge to the young buck Arrieta. 

Not Fugly.

Game 2 features John Lannan (WSH) vs. Chris Tillman (BAL).  Lannan is 2-4 and Tillman is 2-3 and they both are ashamed owners of high ERA’s.  Tillman has been frustrating at times because of his inconsistency.  Some nights he can’t make it out of the 3rd inning and other nights he takes no-no’s into the 7th.  He is still only 23 and much like Arrieta, he is still learning how to pitch in the big leagues.  John Lannan on the other hand is just a douchebag.  This previous statement is based on facts and evidence, and I shall present my case to you now and let you be the judge.

In the summer of 2009 my buddies and I were on the rooftop of Clarendon Ballroom, when we spotted John Lannan and Tyler Clippard hanging out up by the bar.  Allegedly (100% fact) their boy Craig Stammen was in the corner puking up SoCo and Lime shots, but that is neither here not there. So my friend Simple and I decide to go and chat these guys up.  Clippard could not have been cooler; he openly talked to us, and was just a good dude having a good time talking to a couple of baseball fans.  In reality he was probably just stoked to be recognized in public, but that’s not for me to judge.  Lannan on the other hand could not be bothered.  I mean could you blame him? He was the ace of a 40-122 team (those numbers could be wrong, math was never my strong point.). He really did not have time to deal with us normal folk because he was preoccupied with striking out with girls like Adam Laroche at the plate. He eventually took a  break from swinging and whiffing and had a word with us.  This is how our interaction went:

Ben: “Hey man nice outing the other day.  When’s your next start?”

Douche: “Tuesday. I'll be carving up Los Mets.” (as he back-hand taps my stomach.) 

I take a step back and give him one of these…

Douche: “I’m bilingual dude.” (he then winks at me.) 

I shake my head and say “Cool.” And proceed to walk away continuing to shake my head. Or #smh...right twitter people?
 In the series finale two young studs will toe the bump, Jordan Zimmerman (WSH) vs. Zach Britton (BAL).  Zimmerman is still working his way back from Tommy John Surgery so his pitch counts and innings are limited, and he has had trouble at times getting back to form.  Zach Britton on the other hand is just filthy.  He is a lefty with natural movement on the ball, and his best pitch is his sinker.  His sinker goes down faster than a high school girl (18 years old of course) on prom night with a six pack of Mike’s Hard lemonade in her system.  Too far? 

Advantage Mike's .

The Natinals lineup is brutal.  Jayson Werthless is the most expensive .232 hitter since Glenn Davis.  Everyone saw this one coming, expect Mike Rizzo.  Just another shrewd move by the guy who had the moxie to select Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. Do you sense sarcasm there? Good because you should. The Bros here at Battle of the Beltway have an epic tale for you on the Riz, but we you'll have to wait for that one. Adam LaRoche is Mark Reynolds-light, I mean these two clowns strike out more than that kid on yourlittle league team who was so afraid of the ball he never swung the bat.  I could not imagine being an Arizona Diamondbacks fan last season watching these two strike out 400 times combined.  Danny Espinosa is a blossoming young star and Pudge is just killing it even though he’s older than this guy and only plays on Sundays.  The O’s boast a solid lineup that is heating up, well everyone except the black hole known as Mark Reynolds.  Markakis finally appears to be emerging from his slump, and I’ve got a full on hardy-on for J.J. Hardy. As of 5/17/2011 the O's are 9-3 with Hardy in the lineup and 10-18 without him.  I can’t say enough about Vlad, this guy is 35 and has the legs of a 55 year old man. Yet he continues to bang balls off the wall; when he’s not hitting them over the wall of course.  B-Rob is off to a slow start, but he has been one of the steadiest leadoff men in all of baseball over the past decade, and will turn it around. The young bucks Adam Jones and Matt Wieters are hitting real well right now with Jones hitting .283 with 5 HR's and 23 RBI's and Wieters hitting .264 with 4 HR's and 23 RBI's.  Those numbers are solid but do not jump out at you, but maybe these will: Wieters is hitting .538 with 21 RBI's with runners in scoring position this season.  His clutch hitting has led to his nickname of "Matty Ice". No one has that nickname right? Crap
Anywho…Advantage O’s.

Buck Showalter vs. Jim Riggleman.  Is that even serious? Of course the O’s have the advantage here.  Buck is a no nonsense manager who demands that his guys play hard, but he also looks out for his guys at every opportunity.   He has changed the culture in Baltimore and he has the Birds playing Buckball, which is based solely on winning every inning.  Buck is charismatic and quotable, have you seen his MASN commercials?  I haven’t found any of them online to show you all, so you’ll just have to turn on MASN because they are shown 476 times per game.  Jim Riggleman is about as fun and exciting as riding the Metro in July when the A.C. on your train has broken for the 845th time.  Riggleman’s career record is 644-808 and Buck’s is 935-877.

If you come to Camden Yards, you're gonna get Bucked!

Again advantage O’s.

So there you have it. We have better pitching matchups, our hitters are better, and we’ve got Buck.  The O’s will win game 1, Lannan's douchebaggery will lead to a Natinals' loss in game 2, and Britton will get it done in game 3.  Any questions? You can ask this guy:
As always follow us on twitter @Beltway_Battle

And keep your eye on the Blog tomorrow for the Natstown Rebuttal.

1 comment:

  1. Due to last night's rain out in Boston the weekend's starting pitchers for the Birds will be
    Game 1: Brad Bergesen
    Game 2: Jake The Snake
    Game 3: Chris Tillman