Our region is fortunate to have three Major League Baseball teams playing within a driving distance of about two hours. To top it off, all three of the teams — the Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals — are right in the thick of the pennant race.
The season is now half over and of the three teams, it is Pittsburgh that is most surprising. No one gave the Pirates much of a chance when the team left spring training and returned to the Steel City. But the Buccos are at the top of the National League Central Division with an impressive 51-30 record and a two-game lead over perennial powerhouse St. Louis Cardinals. On Sunday, the Pirates really showed their mettle, coming away with their ninth win in a row with a 2-1 win at home over the Milwaukee Brewers. The game lasted for 14 innings and included a rain delay of nearly two-and-a-half hours.
Meanwhile, the Orioles were playing in a nationally-televised Sunday night game on ESPN and downed the Yankees, 4-2. The win completed a three-game sweep over the New Yorkers and solidified Baltimore’s second-place standing in the American League East. The Orioles are now 46-36 and remain three games behind the Boston Red Sox.
Washington, one of the pre-season favorites in the National League, has a winning record of 41-40 and is in second place, six-and-a-half games behind the National League East Division leader Atlanta Braves. The Nats have plenty of pitching and power and should remain in contention throughout the second half.
Despite the hoopla of other sports, baseball remains the nation’s pastime. And with so many troubling issues and challenges in today’s world, it is the pause that refreshes many of us throughout the summer months.
It’ll be fun watching how our “home” teams perform over the second part of the season.