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Study Shows Geographical Divide Between Nationals And Orioles Fans

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Orioles and Nationals fanbases (Graphic from The New York Times)

Orioles and Nationals fanbases (Graphic from The New York Times)

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LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — It’s a question that’s been debated since professional baseball returned to the nation’s capital in 2005: Where’s the geographical divide between Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles fans?

We now have the unofficial answer, thanks to a new study of baseball fandom conducted by The New York Times.

According to The Times’ research, which is based on millions of people’s public preferences on Facebook and organized by zip code, the fan line between the Nats and O’s rivalry — dubbed “The Line of Potomac Aggression” — lies unsurprisingly somewhere in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C.

The Orioles have the immediate Baltimore metro area on lockdown and their fan base also stretches as far as the Eastern Shore, western Maryland, and even to southern Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, the Nationals are the fan favorite in the District, the immediate Maryland suburbs, and all of northern Virginia.

The fanbases begin to shift from Orioles to Nationals in southern Montgomery County, and continue through Prince George’s County and down into southern Maryland.

In their respective home cities, the Orioles are more popular than the Nationals: nearly 70 percent of baseball fans in Baltimore root for the O’s, compared to only a little more than 30 percent of fans in D.C. rooting for the Nats.

The Yankees and Red Sox also are popular in and around the nation’s capital, but the AL East counterparts have few fans in Baltimore.

The Times article had this to say about the fan rivalry in the D.C.-Baltimore corridor:

After the departure of the Senators in 1971, Washingtonians spent decades alternately lamenting their plight and treating the Orioles as their home team. That era is over. While the Orioles have held onto many Maryland suburbs, the Nats now dominate Washington and much of the Virginia suburbs. In parts of the Washington region, the Orioles aren’t even the second-favorite team; the Yankees or the Red Sox are.

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