Every time the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles meet on the field in interleague play, it's billed as the "Battle of the Beltways," marketing the rivalry between the two cities.
However, the real "Battle of the Beltways" may be taking place behind the scenes -- with baseball's All-Star Game as the prize.
Kansas City will host this year's All-Star Game on Tuesday night, a reward for the improvements made to Kauffman Stadium. Next year the New York Mets' new ballpark, Citi Field, will host the midsummer classic.
Baseball alternates between American and National League cities, so the 2014 game is slated for an American League team. Reports are that Target Field, the new Minnesota Twins ballpark, will be the site.
So that leaves 2015 open for a National League team, and the Nationals have requested to host that game -- seven seasons after the opening of Nationals Park.
As it stands now, competition to host the 2015 game includes the Marlins, who just opened their new Miami ballpark, and Cincinnati, where the Great American Ballpark opened in 2003.
But the Orioles also have to be considered competition for the Nationals because they are bidding to host the 2016 All-Star Game, It's extremely doubtful baseball would have the All-Star Game take place in two cities so close to each other in consecutive seasons.
New ballparks and ballpark renovations are taken into consideration in the selection process, as well as how long it has been since the game has been awarded to a particular city/franchise.
New York gets the game next year just five seasons removed from when the game was played in the final season of old Yankee Stadium in 2008. But the final season at Yankee Stadium was a special circumstance, and with two new ballparks in New York of all places, the city wasn't going to have to wait that long to host two All-Star Games.
Baltimore hosted the All-Star Game in 1993, but team officials believe that with improvements they've made to Camden Yards recently, the ballpark is in line to host the game again.
Of course, as long as Bud Selig is commissioner, Camden Yards may never host another All-Star Game. He thinks the fallout from 1993, when Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina warmed up and American League manager Cito Gaston failed to put him into a 9-3 win, led to managers feeling they had to use all of their players. That directly resulted in the 2002 debacle in which both teams ran out of pitchers in an 11-inning game that ended in a 7-7 tie.
Washington hosted an All-Star Game at RFK Stadium in 1969 during baseball's 100th anniversary and one of the two All-Star Games in 1962. Nationals Park might not get its first until there is something around the ballpark besides empty lots.