The Washington Capitals are just a game away from clinching their first Stanley Cup win in franchise history. Currently, the Capitals are ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 in the 2018 edition of the Stanley Cup Finals. In recent weeks, both of Baltimore’s major professional sports franchises have come out in support of the Capitals.
On Monday night, M&T Bank Stadium was lit up in honor of the Capitals.
“We turned M&T Bank Stadium red as Baltimore cheers you on,” the Ravens official Twitter account stated on June 4.
The Orioles also showed their loyalty to the Capitals, with manager Buck Showalter wearing a customized Washington 2018 Stadium Series jersey before the beginning of the Stanley Cup Finals.
In addition to Showalter’s support of the Capitals, left fielder Trey Mancini and first baseman Chris Davis wore customized jerseys in video addressed to Washington.
Baltimore doesn’t have an NBA or NHL team. Due to that, it quite common for some fans of the Ravens and Orioles to show their support for the Washington Wizards and Capitals. With Washington sitting just 40 minutes south of Baltimore, it is an easy fit for some fans. In this case, the Capitals have generated the most support in the past few weeks.
Some fans have been outspoken about others jumping on the bandwagon.
“If you’re not a hockey fan at all and then all of a sudden, the local team is in the Stanley Cup Final, you can’t claim you’re a DC fan,” John Dewitt said, who splits his fandom between both Baltimore (Ravens and Orioles) and Washington (Capitals and Wizards). “With baseball and football, it’s more of a competition with who’s team is better. It’s different with football and baseball because both regions have a team and with hockey Baltimore fans just choose the local team.”
The Baltimore market had professional hockey teams in the past. Those teams were the Orioles (1932-1942, Tri State Hockey), Clippers (1962-1976, EHL, Northeastern Hockey League, Southern Hockey League), Blades (1975, Eastern Hockey League and World Hockey Association), Skipjacks (1982-1993, Atlantic Coast Hockey League, American Hockey League) and the Bandits (1995-1997, American Hockey League). Each team was either a minor league hockey team affiliated with an NHL club or an independent league one.
In 2011, the then-1st Mariner Arena held the first Baltimore Hockey Classic game. The goal was to have the Capitals play in Baltimore in the preseason, an area where a good chunk of their fans reside. Baltimore Capitals fans would watch their favorite team play in Baltimore Arena for two seasons in 2011 and 2013. However, the arena’s ice would often melt and puddles would form on the surface of the ice.
Though Baltimore hasn’t seen a professional hockey team play in the now-Royal Farms Arena in five years, fans in Baltimore have showed steadfast support of the game.
“Personally I think it’s cool,” stated Ravens fan Josh Smith. “I have friends from Baltimore, PG County, DC, and Virginia and we usually cheer for different teams. However the Caps kind of unite the three DMV regions as something we can all have in common. From Baltimore to DC, to places like Virginia Beach, we can all root for the Caps. It’s the one team that seems to unite the two metropolitan areas and that is special to me.”
Following Game 4 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals, NBC Sports PR tweeted that Baltimore generated the third-highest television rating (12.39). The only two cities’ television markets that Baltimore trailed during that game were Las Vegas (20.48) and Washington D.C. (22.90), which are the homes of both Stanley Cup Finals teams.
Following are the Top 10 markets for last night's Stanley Cup Final Game 4 on NBC:— NBC Sports PR (@NBCSportsPR) June 5, 2018
1 Washington, D.C. 22.90
2 Las Vegas 20.48
3 Baltimore 12.39
4 Richmond 10.54
5 Buffalo 8.88
6 Pittsburgh 6.92
7 Minneapolis 6.53
8 Denver 5.13
9 St Louis 4.60
10 Nashville 4.50
“Baltimore has been the third-highest market in ratings for the finals,” said Jen Babish, who is also fan of both the Ravens and Capitals. “People criticize us for liking the Caps, but that is our hockey team. It’s very cool to see the Baltimore sports teams supporting the Caps.”
With the Ravens finishing 5-11, 8-8 and 9-7 in the past three seasons and also missing the playoffs during that span, this has been a rough patch for the organization and fans alike. In addition, the Orioles finished 75-87 in 2017 and are currently 19-41 this season.
“Living in between both I’ve always identified with both cities — if only we could get our baseball teams to work together,” Babish stated.
The Capitals will face off against the Golden Knights in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Thursday, June 7 at 8:00 p.m. EST. One thing is for certain — Baltimore Capitals fans will be well represented in local bars, restaurants and other locations to watch the game.