Bad – Shouting “O’s” during the national anthem
When the Caps first started playing in 1974, their arena was the Old Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. As a result, many Caps fans happened to be Oriole fans. But now, the team has moved to DC and there is a baseball team in town called the Nationals. This is Washington, not Baltimore, and you are at a CAPS game, so you can stop saying “O’s!” during the National anthem. (Note: If you are indeed an Orioles fan, congrats, you can still say “O’s!”, but consider saying “Red!” instead.)
Good – Shouting “Red!” during the national anthem
Ever since the Caps have returned to the Red, White, and Blue, “Rock the Red!” has been a mantra for Caps fans. Naturally, emphasizing the word “Red” while the National Anthem plays has become part of Caps culture. So strong, in fact, I doubt they will ever change colors again.
Bad – The Capstronaut
This costumed fan showed up during the frenzied, record-breaking 2009-2010 season. After that season, he showed up sparingly. Caps fever ebbed and too much information had come out as to the Capstronaut’s identity. This is partially because the outfit was related to the bar he owned, “Rocket Bar,” in downtown DC. Because he was often in the lower section and spent time in suite boxes, the Capstronaut has come to symbolize, to some, the entitled, bandwagon nature of some Caps fans. While you shouldn’t doubt his personal enthusiasm for the Caps, many see this outfit as a gimmick.
Good – Goat and the Horn Guy
It’s dead silent in the Verizon Center as the Caps are losing. Then, a lone voice shouts…”LET’S GO CAPS!” In response, a horn replies in the same cadence and brings the crowd with him. The arena picks up in noise and the Caps’ spirits liven. That lone voice and horn are the Goat and The Horn Guy. These two have been there for over a decade, coming to more games than not. While Goat received a marketing upgrade and cut that old Rapunzel hair, he still shouts as loud as he did during the Jagr Administration. Follow these guys on Twitter: (@LoudGoat & @TheHornGuy.)
Bad – The Blue, Black, and Bronze uniforms
In the 1990’s the entire design world loved diagonal lines, non-traditional colors, and a necessity to have black in everything. The Caps fell victim to this. In a marketing move to shift product, the geniuses who managed the Caps and Wizards changed their logos and color schemes. One cannot help but think this was mostly for the benefit of the Wiz. I mean…the hockey team is named the CAPITALS and plays in a city that is the CAPITAL of a Republic whose flag is RED, WHITE, and BLUE. (Note: I do love the logos of the Eagle and the Capitol.
Good – The Return to RED, White, and Blue
When the changed happened and I saw the new uniforms, I could think only one thing, “This is the way it should be.” The whole unveiling process followed this premise, a return to these colors and some tradition. That’s all that I need to say.
WORST – Being treated like a black sheep, step-child
Former ownership did not give the Capitals, nor their fans the respect they deserved. In the beginning the owner did have some favorites on the team. But, we have to keep in mind that bringing a hockey team to town does mean that the arena will have less empty dates. By the end, the prior owner only came to one game I can remember, a playoff game with the Ottawa Senators; and that was because the President of the United States, Bill Clinton, was there with the Prime Minister of Canada.
Besides a logo and color change that seemed unnatural for the Capitals, but great for the Bullets/Wiz, there was one more insult.
The honor of opening the MCI to sporting events was given to the newly named Wizards instead of the Caps. Why? Because the arena was built for the Bullets turned into Wizards. It all fit together for the Basketball team, a new logo and color scheme, a move to a place more basketball friendly, and a new identity, the Washington Wizards…even has a nice alliteration. The Caps were an afterthought. Ironically, the Wiz missed the playoffs that year, and the Caps, went to the Stanley Cup Finals.
BEST – Being treated like an equal
This all has changed since Ted Leonsis has taken over. The Caps were his first team, but now that he owns the Wizards, he still supports the Caps with the same vigor. He has changed the colors back and has even followed suit with the Wizards. As a Caps fan, I feel honored.
By Lincoln Cajulis