Capital Pitch

September 15, 2011 | Chad Lamasa

Alex Ovechkin is throwing out the first pitch at tomorrow night’s Orioles game. What does it say about me for having a modicum of interest in going to a  game for the first time all season? More importantly what does it say about the state of the Orioles franchise?

For those that don’t know, the Washington Capitals will be playing the Nashville Predators, in what is being called the Baltimore Classic, next Tuesday at the First Mariner Arena.

Ovechkin is by far the most popular player on the Caps so, it makes sense to use him to promote that game. Those of you that have read my blogs know I’m a season ticket holder for the Caps. You probably also know my distaste for what the Orioles have become.

To get me to have any interest in wanting to go to a game, they had to bring in a player from another sport, in  another city. Honestly, any of the Caps would have sparked my interest. Does this make me a bad fan? Maybe it does.

I’m sure some people will say it does. Unfortunately, I just found out about his appearance early this morning and I already have plans for tomorrow night.

If I did go, I would definitely wear something emblazoned with a Capitals logo on it. I would be going just to see the Great 8 throw the ceremonial pitch and I couldn’t guarantee that I would stay beyond the 3rd inning.

Caps owner, Ted Leonsis, has said that he modeled the way he runs the team by how the Orioles were run in the 70’s and 80’s —  With a great farm system that uses the same terminology and does things the same way from the Caps down to their lowest minor league affiliate. That way, it’s a smoother transition from one level to the next. They promote coaches from within the organization,  have great scouting, and are willing to spend money to bring in a piece where necessary in addition to using the draft to get better.

He also realizes that the fans are what he owes his success too. Fans are treated extremely well by the Capitals. Among other things,  there is no extra charge for purchasing day of game tickets; nor, are they forced to pay for a TV channel they don’t want.

Leonsis understands the importance of social media. He’s on Facebook and has reached the max number of “friends”.  He writes a great blog. He also takes into account any suggestion(s) that fans make saying, if one person is thinking something and takes the time to write him about it,  there are probably many others thinking the same thing but not voicing it.

For example, there are now shelves over the urinals in the mens’ rooms of the Verizon Center for people to put their drinks on because people suggested that.  I know that he takes the time to answer emails from personal experience.

How ironic is it that the Orioles are having someone from an organization that’s modeled on their former greatness to throw out the opening pitch and they are now the laughing stock of the league, if not all of baseball.