USA Today's Jamie Mottram talks Orioles-Nationals
May 29, 2013
The Nationals and Orioles are splitting their four-game series between D.C. and Baltimore, which is both strange and appropriate. The (don't-call-it-a) rivalry involves split loyalties for DMV-area fans who grew up on the O's, split broadcast booths (Thanks, MASN!), and, fittingly, a split of the first two games at Nationals Park.
Who better to discuss the series than Jamie Mottram (@jamiemottram)? He's currently the direct of content development at USA Today Sports Media Group (Check out For the Win) after serving as the director of blogs, social and SEO at Yahoo! You may recognize him from his time hosting the "Blog Show" on Washington Post Live, or perhaps like me you first discovered his work with his brother Chris on the D.C. sports blog Mr. Irrelevant, which includes O's content and, for college basketball fans, Maryland Terps coverage.
I sent Jamie some questions to find out what life is like on the Nationals-Orioles fault zone (although these days he actually lives near the beach in Wilmington, N.C. ... Anyone else want his life?)
-You're one of those fans with a foot in both camps when it comes to the O's and Nats. So what happens when they go head-to-head like this? Who do you cheer for?
Nats-O's series are my least favorite series. I basically root for a) no sweeps and b) no injuries, which are really lame things to root for. Other than that, I just root for who kinda needs it more at that particular time. Right now I'd go Nats, I think, though they could both use a series or two.
-What's your favorite Orioles memory?
2131. That or the '93 All-Star HR Derby. I know it's not really an Orioles memory, but it was at Camden and I was 15 years old and at the height of my baseball fandom. Griffey Jr. hit the Warehouse, Juan Gonzalez reached the third deck and Cecil Fielder knocked it out of the ballpark (if memory serves). Tom Selleck even went deep in the celeb derby. Michael Jordan barely got it out of the infield.
-The Nationals have been around for a while now and have a good team. Why not just drop the Orioles and blame it on Angelos?
My Dad actually ditched the O's. I would say he ditched them for the Nats, but I think he just ditched them outright because he just couldn't stand Angelos. I'm not sure how he did it, to be honest with you. Maybe it's because he grew up with the Senators, not the O's, whereas I grew up with the O's straight up. Then when the Nats came, and I was living in and blogging about D.C., I just had to root for them too. So here we are.
-Both teams were lumped together last season when they shared the cover of SI. Good thing/bad thing?
That was kind of a weird cover. I get the Washington-Baltimore sports capital thing, I guess, but SI went with three relatively known O's outfielders doing the flying hip-bump thing, relegating Bryce Harper and RGIII to the sidelines. Probably didn't help at the newsstand.
-If you could engineer a trade between between these two teams that helps each one address an important need, which players are involved in the deal?
Drew Storen for Jim Johnson, because changes of scenery are good.
-What does Bryce Harper need to do to earn RGIII-level popularity among D.C.-area fans?
Bryce Harper will never be as popular in D.C. as RGIII, though he could probably get up to like an Alfred Morris level with an MVP-type season.
-Speaking of Bryce Harper, everyone's making comparisons these days to determine who the best young player is. Give me the final word. Who would you rather build a team around, Harper or Ryan Flaherty?
Harper and Flaherty are fine players, but give me Machado. I think he'll have a better career than Harper. He's so damn solid, and pretty spectacular too. Bryce is brilliant and so much fun to watch, but I don't trust him, not over the long haul.
-I've gotta admit, the whole story behind "Take on Me" and its evolution into a seventh-inning stretch song is pretty cool. What's the best Nationals tradition?
-Who wins the most games this week? And which team will be playing longer this year?
I say they split this week, and they both make the playoffs, but the Nats have a better shot at going deeper. Their starting pitching, man.