Baseball History in Washington — I-95 World Series Possible

I-95 World Series Possible! — The Baltimore Orioles play the New York Yankees today (Friday) at 5 p.m. in the Bronx. And the Washington Nationals play the St. Louis Cardinals tonight, starting at 8:37 p.m. at the new Nationals Park in Southeast Washington. Both contests are the fifth and deciding games in their playoff series.

If both the Orioles and Nationals win, it would set the stage for a possible first-ever World Series between the neighboring cities of Baltimore and Washington.

That’s still a big “IF” because both the Orioles and Nationals would need to advance through more playoff games to reach the World Series.

The Nats have the home field advantage, and the additional advantage of starting their ace, 21-game winner Gio Gonzalez. The Yanks have the home field advantage in the Bronx and have won the American League pennant, and the World Series, more times than any other team.

The Big Apple has hosted several “Subway Series” between the American League N.Y. Yankees and rival National League teams, the former Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Mets.

But in the long history of baseball in Baltimore and Washington, there’s never been a year that both cities made it to the World Series. It would be a monumental first!

What would we call it?  The “Beltway Series” or the “I-95 Series?”

If the Yankees and Cardinals both win tonight, that would create the possibility for a classic regional World Series between the East Coast Yankees in the American League and the Midwest Cardinals in the National League. The Yanks and the Cards are both legacy teams with long histories, including World Series play.

The Orioles-Nationals I-95 Series would be a historic event for the two Mid-Atlantic cities, but New York vs. St. Louis would be better for Major League Baseball and create greater nationwide interest. Of course there are other baseball  teams still in contention for a shot at the American League and National League pennants, so whatever happens tonight, it ain’t over yet.

For the full sense of the historic nature of the Washington Nationals’ debut in postseason baseball, I recommend sportswriter Thomas Boswell’s report,  “The Playoffs Arrive in Ernest, And It Was Worth The Wait.” It’s in the Oct. 12, 2012 Washington Post.

— John Hayden

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