City Desk

Cheap Seats Daily: Are the Caps Bringing About a Baltimore/DC Detente?

mr_six_old_guy_lg1During a recent conference call with theme-park-fetishist bloggers, Six Flags CEO and Dan Snyder protege Mark Shapiro talked up the glories of buying a 2010 season pass, called a Play Pass. The best deal came from the chain's Kentucky Kingdom Park for just $29.95.

Forget that his company's in bankruptcy, Shapiro said, tell all your roller coaster freak friends that this is the best buy of all time.

Yesterday, Snyder's chain announced it had closed Kentucky Kingdom for good. Nicely done!

***

The Caps win. Streak's at 12.

Just a week ago, I was sure Washington Capitals fever had taken over not just the city, but the whole world. Now, I'm equally sure it hasn't.

Last Friday I went to meet a friend in Baltimore around happy hour. While waiting in the basement bar at the fabulous Matthew's Pizza on Eastern Avenue for a table, a guy came in and asked the bartender to put the Caps/Florida pregame on the house TV.

Without complaint, the bartender made the switch. That alone shocked the crap outta me: Baltimore has always been a place where everything about D.C. is despised, and only saying nice things about Bob Irsay was more certain to bring derision and probably a beating to a visitor than talking up any of our town's sports teams.

But things really got amazing after the Caps broadcast came on.

(AFTER THE JUMP: There are Caps fans in Baltimore? What about the Clippers? Who knew the Baltimore Blast were still alive? Remember Dwight Anderson? Tom Brookshier, RIP?)

The people in the bar began trading caps tidbits. "Is the winning streak at 8 games?" "I think so. Yeah." "What's the club record?" "They're close." "Did you see that guy get hit in the face by Ovechkins shot?" "That was brutal." "They got a good shot of winning it all this year." "A real good shot."

What the hell?

Matthews isn't some chain restaurant in the Inner Harbor, where D.C.'ers on safari would likely congregate. It's in the Highlandtown neighborhood, in the heart of Baltimore near Patterson Park. And everybody in the place is more up on the Caps than I am! Even the bartenders were chiming in? And nobody even mentioned the Clippers?

What the hell? I was in shock, and thinking Ted Leonsis is sitting pretty good if he's captured the Baltimore market.

But fast forward to last night, and I'm sitting in Lindy's Red Lion in Foggy Bottom around 8 p.m. All the TVs in the mall bar were turned to the Indiana/Purdue game from Bloomington.

I asked the bartender to put the Caps/Rangers game from New York, which was well underway, and he nicely made the switch on one TV. But nobody else in the bar was paying attention to the hockey.

I'm sure most of the Lindy's crowd came from GWU across the street, but, still.

At the least: Leonsis hasn't captured the city's college kids!

***

One clear indication of the disconnect between D.C. and Baltimore sports: I recently went to a show at the old Baltimore Civic Center, the building where Abe Pollin and his Baltimore Bullets first played, which is now called 1st Mariner Arena.

There were all sorts of banners for the Baltimore Blast hanging on the walls in the arena.

How many bartenders in D.C. could tell you how long the Blast's winning streak is? Or have an opinion on the Blast's chances for a title this season? Hell, who among us even knew that the Baltimore Blast were still in existence?

***

The Dayton Daily News recently ran a don't-miss story on ex-Can't Miss Kid Dwight Anderson's mostly sad existence since the Washington Bullets took him in the second round of the 1984 NBA draft. Turns out Anderson missed.

It's a sad, sad story. But, far as I can tell, the only moral of Anderson's tale is: Don't get taken by the Washington Bullets in the second round of 1984 NBA draft.

***

A week ago, Tom Brookshier died. CBS Sports will broadcast Sunday's Super Bowl from Miami.

Brookshier was half of the greatest broadcasting team CBS sports ever had. He and Pat Summerall, who worked the network's NFL games throughout the 1970s, were also the first sports broadcasters that made me and my buddies cared about growing up. Brookshier and Summerall came off as as genuinely tough guys, and only talked or got excited when necessary.

My buddy Louie did an amazing Summerall impression, all in monotone: "Riggins into the line...Nothing doing."

Damn, that killed me back in the day. Louie did his Summerall for us all  a couple weeks ago when some of the old gang watched the Vikings/Cowboys playoff game together. It killed me all over again.

RIP, Tom.

***

Story tips? Wanna Play the Feud? Tube amps for sale? Send to: cheapseats@washingtoncitypaper.com

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  • Elissa

    Hold on--you were allowed into the basement bar at Matthew's? I thought you had to be a cop to do that.

  • Dave McKenna

    E! they opened it up to overflow from upstairs and any riff raff a while ago. when i'm updating you about highlandtown, you've forgotten your roots. they re-did the meatball sub, too; it is now a huge loaf of bread oozing everything. when we going?

  • Pingback: Mark Shapiro (Washington City Paper) | Anderson, Indiana LocalSpur - News, Yellow Page Listings, Events and Local Tweets for Anderson, IN.

  • Nitin

    i'm a transplanted Baltimoron living in Gaithersburg these days...will always be an O's and Ravens fan (and Nats/Skins hater), but very proud to also be a Caps fan, and I've also been pleased to see how much folks in my hometown are supporting the Caps...but, i think this comment is a little unfair:

    How many bartenders in D.C. could tell you how long the Blast's winning streak is? Or have an opinion on the Blast's chances for a title this season? Hell, who among us even knew that the Baltimore Blast were still in existence?

    You can't really compare MISL to NHL; despite its recent troubles, NHL is still one of the "major" pro sports leagues. even MLS can't compare to NHL in terms of popularity, etc. for what it's worth, i don't even know anyone in baltimore itself who could tell you anything about the Blast. a more appropriate comparison would have been the O's, before the Nats came to town.

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