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.
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.
“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.
Wearing a red Nationals’ #32 Tom Gorzelanny jersey (perhaps in honor of Dale Hunter?), Jason Chimera, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Sunday’s Orioles/Nats game. Chimmer, who got a loud ovation when he took the field, threw high and hard — we’re going to call it a ball — to Gorzelanny, a pitcher who played catcher for the moment. And yeah, Chimera brought along his son Cale.
While Thursday was opening day for the Nationals, the real show starts today– as the O’s host the Minnesota Twins at Camden Yards. Ian and I (and Kyle from SHOE) are O’s fans, and so are lots of other Caps fans. There’s nothing weird about that. The old Caps Centre was in Landover, the old practice barn was in Odenton, and Maryland-native Francis Scott Key put that “O” in the Star-Spangled Banner just so Caps fans would shout it before games.
On the eve of his 26th birthday (send us your birthday cards!), Alex Ovechkin — adorned with *gasp* Cal Ripken’s retired #8 Orioles jersey — traveled up I-95 Friday to take batting practice and throw out the ceremonial first pitch ahead of Baltimore’s match-up against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The Great Hockey Eight, making his first ever appearance at Camden Yards, had only one goal: not to embarrass himself in front of a few thousand Charm-Citiers.
“I’m kinda excited,” Ovechkin told CSN’s Chris Miller before the first pitch. “I saw on YouTube John Wall’s [first pitch] a couple of minutes ago, and I hope it’s not gonna happen with me. I practice a little bit so it’s good. I feel comfortable.”