Meet the Caps, but Beware the Batwing

For the first time in team history, the annual Season Ticketholder “Meet the Caps” event was held at an amusement park: Six Flags America. To say it was a success is an understatement; as one who has attended the past ten years’ events at the Verizon Center ‚Äî and seen those events gradually shift from fun little gatherings to long-lined exercises in boredom as the season ticketholder base has increased ‚Äî moving to a venue with other forms of amusement was indeed a big improvement.
The event started at 6:30 p.m. for fans, though the players got run of the park before the fans. In fact, for those wondering why Sergei Fedorov was a little late for his scheduled autograph session: he lost his cell phone while riding the Batwing roller coaster. Normally a hero’s helper, today Batman’s ride turned villain and snatched Fedorov’s phone mid-flight; apparently, though, his phone was recovered, so Truth and Justice (and good fortune) prevailed.

A mohawked, Weagle-painted fan

The Caps-fan-only event this night was in the park’s Gotham section; rides included the roller coasters Batwing, Superman: Ride of Steel (yes, I know Supes patrolled Metropolis not Gotham, but it’s a cool ride so no complaints), and The Joker’s Jinx. Autograph stations were positioned throughout the area; lines for most players, barring Ovechkin’s of course, were more reasonable than last year’s despite the increase in season ticketholders. That may be partly due to the weeknight Maryland location (it took over an hour for us to get there from downtown DC). But having activities for all ages, instead of exclusively child-focused as in years past, provided more to do than simply waiting in line for an autograph and contributed to reduced lines. Not to worry, parents: the kid-friendly fun of years’ past was still abundant, including SlapShot antics, balloon animals, hockey-themed games, and face painting.
The ride queues were as fast-moving as the coasters themselves ‚Äî at one point my wife and I simply sat on the Superman coaster and rode it again immediately since no one was waiting in our row. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time I was able to ride a roller coaster twice in a row without waiting in line again. Lines were practically non-existent unless you insisted on the first or last car . . . and even then the wait was perhaps two or three trips deep. Just a bit different than the typical 60-minute wait on a sweltering summer Saturday.
After the autograph sessions, the players, all still clad in their Capitals sweaters, spread throughout the park for some more fun before being hustled back to the team buses. For instance, a group of players including Mike Green went by practically at a jog — not to avoid autograph-seeking fans (though there were a few trailing behind), but to ensure they had time for the 200-foot plunge to earth on Superman: Ride of Steel. Others hit the carnival fairway to try their hand at the games, like Karl Alzner and Tom Poti tossing handfuls of rings, the circumference of which looked slightly smaller than that of the targeted bottles; and Nicklas Backstrom, Michael Nylander, and Jose Theodore attempting to win a few stuffed animals (photos below — though none top this brilliant shot provided by the team).
As my wife and I were leaving the park around 9:00 p.m., we heard an announcement over the park-wide speaker system: “Will all Capitals players please proceed to the buses immediately. Thank you.” Hopefully the team (and fans) got their fill of roller coaster thrills and enjoyed the evening ‚Äî we certainly did.
Backstrom looks offside to me...

Backstrom for the Win!

Karl Alzner & Tom Poti at the Ring Toss

Karl Alzner & Tom Poti at the Ring Toss

Theodore for the Win!

Theodore seems to be operating outside the trapezoid

Step Right Up and Win a Stuffed SlapShot!

Step Right Up and Win a Stuffed SlapShot!

Backstrom Poses while Theodore Throws

Backstrom Poses while Theodore Throws

This entry was posted in Alexander Ovechkin, Chris Clark, Jose Theodore, Karl Alzner, Michael Nylander, Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Ted Leonsis, Tom Poti, Washington Capitals. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Meet the Caps, but Beware the Batwing

  1. Some more pics can be found on the Caps Message board, sounds like it was a great event. I’m jealous!

  2. Kevin says:

    Nice Yankees hat, Backstrom. Yeesh.

  3. Flipper says:

    sorry, but holding it on a weekday at rush hour at a place that is difficult to get to via public transportation was a bad idea. I’m sure they day was fun for those who could attend, but some of us don’t get off work until 5:30. I hope they do something during the year at Verizon Center so more folks can actually make it.

  4. @ Flipper, I didn’t get out of work until 6:00 p.m., and it took me over an hour to get to Six Flags. It was still worth it. The problem with weekends is that most amusement parks still operate their normal schedules through early November, whereas a weeknight event meant the park was available. And frankly there are so many season ticketholders now that hosting at the Phone Booth would be more difficult than in the past.
    I agree that weekends would be easier for fans, of course; but the Meet the Caps events have usually been on a weeknight anyway, just downtown instead of 16 miles east of downtown.
    No doubt that the lack of easy public transportation to Six Flags is unfortunate (though buses run from the Largo metro station to the park). I drove to work on Thursday specifically so we could attend the event, so yeah it was a pain and I had to pay for gas instead of just riding metro, but again, it was worth the effort IMO.

  5. zelda says:

    It can be tough to get to the Phone Booth, too, so it probably doesn’t matter where they have it. A few years ago I had to try to leave work early, pick up my kid and get to the Verizon Center. By the time we got there, most of the players had stopped signing, and my kid was bereft that she couldn’t get Olie to sign her jersey. Up walks Ted, and my daughter explained her plight as only an 11 year old could. Out from Ted’s pocket came an Olie rookie card, which made her day (and her frazzled mother’s, too.) Ted also signed her jersey, so it was all worthwhile to my daughter. Sorry we missed this event – it would be fun to see the players enjoying the event as much as the fans.

  6. pepper says:

    Nice write up and photos, OC, I was hoping someone would cover the event from a guest’s point of view. Makes me wish I were still living in DC.
    I loved the video on the official site where Ovechkin refuses to sign the Wings jersey. Good stuff.
    And I second the reaction to Nicky wearing the Yankees’ cap. Brutal. Especially since El Capitan is a Red Sawx fan.

  7. Cathy W says:

    I don’t quite buy the Verizon Center is too small theory. Do they now really have more full STH than before the lock-out? Yeah, the format that they used last year might not work, but the players used to be at tables that were spread out all over VC – the press box, in Ted’s suite, the locker room, around the concourses, and on the floor of the arena. Is it that VC is really too small (not all STH attend this event) or is the problem the number of people waiting in line on 7th Street to get in for OV’s autograph and they were blocking the entrances to businesses? I know that the Caps don’t have to accommodate me and I am happy for those who went and had a good time. I also give the Caps credit for being creative, but Six Flags only appeals to a certain demographics. This is an event that I looked forward to each year. While I am not an amusement park fan, I considered going, but I didn’t go because I take Metro and the bus service back to the Metro was once an hour (I looked it up when I thought about going), not all that Metro accessible. (I did give my voucher to someone I work with who lives near Six Flags,secretly hoping to get her and her boyfriend interested in the Caps; the Caps fan that I work with did not want to go as their child had school on Friday.) If the Caps don’t hold it at VC next year, then a more Metro accessible location would be greatly appreciated.

  8. odessa steps magazin says:

    The Caps are in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation.
    Hold it in the burbs and city people complain.
    Hold it in the city and suburban people complain.
    I give them credit for not doing the same old same old.
    I missed the Bears’ event due to work again. ironically, there’s is at Giant Center, despite being right next door to Hersheypark. :>

  9. katzistan says:

    Yeah, it was ok, and this was my first so nothing to compare it to, but it wasn´t so much a ´party´ as it was an autograph event. There was no central event, like a rally introducing the players or anything. Just a bunch of autograph stations. I met Fedorov, which is cool. But I thought it could have been more creative.

  10. hockeypunk says:

    Yea, wtf Backstrom? Yankees??? booooo

  11. Pingback: On Frozen Blog › Caps Party: More Fans, More Flags, More Fun

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