The Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals have begun their seventh inter-league series. Both teams have winning records for the first time with the Orioles leading their division and the Nationals just a half game behind the Braves in theirs.
For people who grew up Orioles but now live in Washington and root for the Nats it's a bit of a challenge. In years past the "Battle" never mattered much as the stakes were low. This year, however, both teams have excellent pitching staffs and the Orioles are scoring as well. This weekend's games matter.
I grew up a die-hard O's fan, but have been dissatisfied with the team since 1997 when Davey Johnson left the team after a spat with their owner Peter Angelos. "Orioles Magic" has been dead and buried for years and there have been no compelling reasons to follow Baltimore. But with knocking out Boston late last season and starting this season strongly, the Orioles are regaining respect and their solid fan base could energize quickly behind them.
Another "Why Not" season reminiscent of 1989 could be in the making, but with baseball you never really know until you know. The same Davey Johnson is now managing the Nats and they have some of the game's brightest stars in Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.
The team is probably another year away from serious contention, but most of the pieces are in place for a solid run of winning seasons and deep post-season runs.
Overcoming a vicious string of recent injuries is the first order of business. I've heard that sacrificing chickens is one possibility.