For those of us in the Mid-Atlantic region, this Major League postseason brings something sort of unique. For the first time, at least that I can track these things back, we’re going to see all three area teams in the playoffs at the same time. How unique is it? Seeing that big league baseball has been played in all three of the cities starting around 1886, with a few decades missing with a move from Baltimore to Brooklyn here or a move from Washington to Arlington there, it’s pretty remarkable that it took until 2014 under the warm embrace of Bud Selig to achieve Mid-Atlantic baseball supremacy.
I for one have grown tired over the past few years of the obvious West Coast bias in the sports media, particularly all the sabermetricians, who want to claim with fancy stats that the two best baseball players on the planet, Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout, play for a team sort of from an area in or around Los Angeles.1 For the time being, the Mid-Atlantic boasts the reigning NL MVP, two teams that went 96-66, and the growing legend that is Steve Pearce.
Over the years we’ve seen the Pittsburgh Pirates play World Series spoiler to both the Senators and the Orioles, besting Washington in the 1925 Series and beating the O’s in both 1971 and 1979. In 1974 Pittsburgh and Baltimore both lost in their respective Championship Series, but seeing as there wasn’t a team in D.C. from 1972 to 2005, any chance of seeing all three was sort of impossible. Even if you include the Homestead Grays, which you absolutely should, there was never any chance of a three team headline grab (the St. Louis Browns didn’t move to Baltimore until 1954) since the Pirates were ok but nothing amazing in the Grays glory days, and the Senators Series title in 1933 hit between the Grays league titles in 1931 and 1937. If you count the Browns, both St. Louis and the Grays were in world championships in 1944 with the Grays winning theirs and the Browns losing theirs, but why count St. Louis unless you’re desperate and really reaching for technicalities? We can also claim that 1940-42 had both Pittsburgh and Washington equally represented in the Negro World Series since the Grays split the seasons playing in both cities.
If nothing else, the Pirates, Senators, and Orioles gave area sports fans their collective money’s worth in ’33, ’71, and ’79 since each World Series went seven games, the Pirates obviously winning each four games to three.
So, rejoice Mid-Atlantic sports fans. Enjoy the next few days (hopefully longer than Wednesday afternoon) and dream a dream of a World Series with <INSERT TEAM A> vs. the Orioles. We’ll have tales of days long past; war stories of Walter Johnson, Josh Gibson, Roberto Clemente, and Eddie Murray; hunger pains for Ben’s Chili Bowl, Manny’s BBQ, or a crab mac and cheese hot dog; and if Jordan Zimmermann feels up to it, we might just see another no-hitter.
Why not? It’s taken us 128 years just to get to this point so anything’s possible.
- They are the two best players in the game at their respective positions, both will win the MVP, and this is really not open for debate. ↩