Vice Presidential Debate 2012: Biden vs Ryan and Obama vs. Romney Not Nearly as Intriguing as This Beltway Matchup


The nation is gearing up for the 2012 vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. It will be a 90 minute debate scheduled for 9:00 PM EST, Thursday night, October 11. The debate will be a battle between two heavyweights of beltway politics. The beltway is Interstate 495. It is known as the “capital beltway” because it encircles Washington, D.C. and the surrounding suburbs in Maryland and Virginia. “Inside the beltway” is an idiom used to describe the inner workings of the federal government — the politicians, lobbyists, the contractors and the media.

Biden vs. Ryan is the latest Inside the Beltway main attraction. There has been Reid vs. McConnell, Obama vs. Boehner, Tea Party vs. Moderates and the perennial, liberal vs. conservative.

But possibly the most anticipated Beltway battle will not be Obama vs. Romney. No, it may be the Baltimore Orioles vs Washington Nationals.

The Orioles and the Nationals are the two Major League Baseball teams located in the Beltway region in America.

The Orioles of the American League and are in the playoffs for the first time since 1997. They Finished in second place to the New York Yankees in the A.L. East with a record of 93 wins and 69 losses. The 112 year old franchise began in Milwaukee, and spent 52 years in St Louis as the Browns before arriving in Baltimore in 1954. The perennial losers have been in the playoffs only 12 times in their 112 year history. They have played in baseball’s world championship series, The World Series, six times, winning three and losing three.

The Washington Nationals represent the National League, and this is their first appearance in the playoffs since they relocated from Montreal in 2005. The Nationals finished in first place in the N.L. East with a record of 98 wins with 64 losses. This is the first time the team has had a winning record in their eight years of Beltway ball. The team didn’t fare much better in Montreal. The team played in Montreal from 1969 to 2004 and, in 35 years they made the playoffs once.

The nation’s capital has a long history of supporting baseball, but teams have a tendency to leave the area. The Washington Senators have played and left the capital city at twice, as there were two versions of the franchise. The original Senators were in existence from 1901 to 1960, before they moved and became the Minnesota Twins. The second version played in Washington from 1961 to 1971 until they moved too and became the Texas Rangers.. Neither incarnation of the Senators was very successful in Washington, in their combined 72 year history the Senators went to the playoffs three times which included three World Series championship appearances. They won once. 

That brings us back to the Battle of the Beltway. The World Series is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, October 24. Baltimore will have to win eight playoff games to represent the American League and the Nationals will have to win seven more games to represent the National League.

The World Series is a best four of out of seven format, so a team has to win four games to be declared the champion. If the series goes seven games it will end on November 1.

The presidential debates could be viewed as the playoffs, with the World Series of American politics being played on November 6. Biden vs. Ryan is the latest playoff game, followed by Obama vs. Romney on October 16 and 24. This year, Inside the Beltway, has the potential to have multiple classics. The world awaits the winner of Obama vs. Romney, but there are a lot of beltway fans that would love to see the Baltimore Orioles play the Washington Senators, in a “battle of the beltway” Fall Classic.

Here's a piece of trivia for baseball fans. Davey Johnson is the manager of the Washington Nationals. From 1965 to 1972 he was an All-Star second baseman for the Baltimore Orioles. As a member of the Orioles he went to three World Series (1969, 1970, and 1971) winning two and losing one. In 1969, the Johnson and the Orioles lost in the World Series to the New York Mets. In 1986, as manager of the New York Mets, Johnson won the World Series.

Now if the Baltimore Ravens face the Washington Redskins in this year’s National Football League Super Bowl then hands down it becomes the winner of “The Battle of The Beltway.”