In the courts, things have been contentious for some times, with both sides still arguing about TV rights fees from MASN, their shared television home.
On the field there have been moments, like when Jonathan Papelbon threw at Manny Machado’s head, and the two fan bases have been antagonistic towards one another at times... not really, though...
But things just got real-ish... and it’s all over the planned series finale of their four-game home-and-home series last month, which was postponed due to the threat of rain and finally played last night in the nation’s capital, with the Nationals prevailing, 6-1, and earning a split of the four-game Battle of the Beltways.
Before last night’s game, Orioles’ skipper Buck Showalter expressed his frustration with having to play the game on what was supposed to be an off-day for both teams.
[ed. note - “All of the following comes from Washington Post columnist Barry Svrluga, so go there if you want to read the whole thing as opposed to the excerpts that follow.”]
Showalter voiced his displeasure with the fact that it didn’t rain the night the game was originally supposed to be played, and the fact that last night two of his regulars [outfielder Adam Jones and Machado] were unavailable.
“Lot of byproducts of the cancellation,” Showalter said, noting that Jones (general soreness) and Machado (wrist injury) weren’t in the lineup. Then he craned his neck and looked from under the dugout roof at the bright blue sky, commenting on the weather. “I think it’s marginally better tonight.”
Svrluga noted that the Orioles, “though they wouldn’t say it publicly – clearly believed the Nationals were trying to tinker with the matchup,” which was supposed to feature A.J. Cole on the mound for the Nationals against the O’s Dylan Bundy, since home teams have control of whether a game gets delayed, played, or even postponed until it starts, but then it’s in the umpire’s hands, so if the Nationals didn’t like the matchup, why not postpone it and play another day?
Well, apparently Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo got wind of Showalter’s comments and he called Svrluga to share his thoughts on the conspiracy theories. And Rizzo, he’s gots opinions, starting with the reality of the weather on the day of the postponement... and the fact that they could have played the next day... but instead ended up playing a day after the Nationals wrapped up a West Coast swing with a loss in LA and flew home to D.C., arriving at 2:00 AM... but back to the originally scheduled date:
“It rained all day that day, and the forecast said it would rain until 9:30 or 10,” Rizzo said. “I sat in Buck’s office at 6:30, and we talked about it for 20 minutes. He was 100-percent on-board. He didn’t say anything about not canceling the game.
“Their GM [Dan Duquette] was nowhere to be found for three, four hours.
We wanted to play the next day. They refused to play then, so the next [open] day was [Thursday]. They drove 32 miles to get there. We flew 3,000 [expletive] miles, and we beat their [behinds]. So quit your whining. Quit whining.”
Oh, it’s been broughten. Will we have to wait for next season for this regional rivalry to continue? Will the Orioles respond to the response?