Every time the Orioles and Nationals face off for a series, there’s the inevitable debate as to whether there really is a rivalry between the clubs.
My take has always been that the two teams look at it as any other series, but the fans view it as a little more. You can tell by the way attendance surges in both places.
Mark Zuckerman agrees. But he believes the fan rivalry is steadily rising because a new generation is now growing up with the Nationals. And, in say 15 or 20 years, the moms and dads who take their sons and daughters to games will have been lifelong Nationals fans.
It makes plenty of sense. And that’s Zuckerman, the highly logical Washington Nationals beat reporter for MASNsports.com.
I’ve known Zuckerman, my guest today on “Around The Beat,” for 15 years, back when we both covered the Orioles during some really lean years at Camden Yards.
To start the podcast, we chat for a few minutes about the first night game we covered together at the Yards – neither one of us will forget it. I’m sure you’ll get a chuckle out of what happened and how we reacted.
But we also talk about this upcoming home-and-home series, which starts at Camden Yards on Monday and Tuesday and then moves to Nationals Park on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Nats look like they’ll be cruising to the National League East title, but they aren’t getting there the way we might have expected. They aren’t riding Bryce Harper to the division crown. If a Nationals hitter wins the MVP this year, it will be Daniel Murphy or Wilson Ramos.
And as good as Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg are, it’s been unheralded Tanner Roark who has been consistently the club’s best starter.
Zuckerman discusses that, the Jonathan Papelbon disaster and what holes the Nationals have, if any, that the Orioles may be able to expose this week.
This podcast is so good that Zuckerman even talks about how he founded Facebook. OK, not really, but it’s worth checking out anyway.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB