A week ago, Caps fan Katie Ledecky returned to the United States to a hero’s welcome. The legendary swimmer won four gold medals, destroyed her own world record in the 400-meter freestyle, and broke the Olympic record in the 800-meter freestyle at the Rio Olympics.
The Bethesda native returned to the DC area this weekend, spending some time at Children’s National Hospital. A few hours ago, the Nationals announced that Ledecky will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Nats/Orioles game.
This week’s series between the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals is going to stir up some of that old animosity around the DMV region. That’s fine. A little friendly ribbing is proper in sports as long as, deep down, we all know who is truly better.
I am a Baltimore Orioles fan, and this is my manifesto.
Today, the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals completed their battle of the beltway series, with the Nats winning the rubber match 3-2. During the game, the Washington Post’s Scott Allen tweeted a photo of a “Go Caps” sign which I retweeted on the RMNB account. Apparently it was a Caps Fan Club outing today at Camden Yards.
It made me wonder, as a Caps fan which baseball team do you root for? Vote below, let’s test a hypothesis.
Some will say that baseball has divided the region. The Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals, who are in different leagues and don’t even play each other lest they both make the fall classic, seem to be mutually exclusive fandoms.
At least, that’s the premise of NBC 4’s latest promos. These videos, completely bereft of #NatriolesMagictude, depict a DMV split into two factions, each side leery of the other. The schism affects the playground, dog walks, even the TV room.
DMV sports fans are living high on the hog. The Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals have each won their divisions and are now poised for the postseason. The Orioles just finished their best season probably since 1997, and the Nats closed out the regular with a dramatic no-hitter for Jordan Zimmermann. It’s good times on both ball fields.
Yet there are those among us who say you must choose one team and hate the other. The fan police say no true fan can support both Washington and Baltimore at the same time. They say support for one team is betrayal of the other.
Nuts to that. Instead, you and I shall stand shoulder to shoulder, and we’ll don this nifty new RMNB t-shirt, and we shall say, NATRIOLES MAGICTUDE, ‘HON.
Not everyone loves it when Orioles fans cheer “O!” during the National Anthem at Verizon Center. Such as Nats fans and The Washington Post’s Mike Wise (just search for the words “tainted gene pool”). Also sharing that sentiment are these Cubs fans at Wrigley Field, who first were confused, then outraged by the shouting.
“I wanna thank the @tblighting for this pretty sweet honor. Hockey has always been a hidden passion. Now ppl are gonna know my little secret #StayHungry” (from @simplyAJ10’s Instagram)
Up until recently, Baltimore and Washington had shared a sports legacy. Baltimore has always been a Capitals town. After the Colts and before the Ravens, Baltimore rooted for the Red Pandas. After the Senators and before the Nationals, Washington rooted for the Os.
The last fifteen years have shattered the detente, but nothing cuts deeper than this most recent, most foul betrayal by Baltimore’s own Adam Jones.
Down in Florida for spring training, the center fielder for the Baltimore Orioles was a special guest (“Social Captain”) of the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that– for the record, and I just checked this — is not the Washington Capitals.
Photos by Chris Gordon
Caps players seem to love America’s pastime. Some of them prefer a game of catch over the traditional pregame soccer kickaround. Some of them are filthy Blue Jays fans. Brooks Laich is a fan as well, and on Monday he threw out the ceremonial first pitch before game between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. Laich also got an extensive tour of the O’s clubhouse from All Star closer Jim Johnson, a noted New York Rangers fan.
Laich, a righty, managed to throw (sort of) a strike, just like Alex Ovechkin did a year ago. His pitch to outfielder Chris Dickerson was a little outside, but he gunned it in there.
“He said ‘Just don’t bounce it,’ which is what everybody said,” Laich recalled Dickerson as saying. “I said ‘I’m gonna bring it in there’ and he goes ‘YES! Finally somebody’s gonna throw it! Bring the heat!'”
“It was awesome!” added Laich. “A lot of people asked me ‘Are you gonna be nervous?’ You’re used to preforming in front of people — maybe not in this environment but it was more exciting.”
We already knew Jane Laich was totally awesome, but today came another wrinkle. Brooks Laich, her handsome hockey playing son, revealed today that mom and dad named him after Baltimore legend Brooks Robinson. “Special honor for me to meet the man I was named after,” Laich said after taking a picture with The Human Vacuum Cleaner on Wednesday. “Absolute class act.”
Listen: I know the Capitals are a regional team, drawing fans from Maryland and Virginia, in addition to the District. But Piney Orchard and Capital Centre are proof that the team’s roots are deep in the Old Line State. And it’s for fans from the great state of Maryland that we debut this new RMNB shirt.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.