Nationals left-handed relievers Sammy Solis and Matt Grace headed to Capital One Arena on Thursday night with plans to take part in the Capitals’ watch party.
But with long lines at the entrance, the two pitchers headed to a nearby bar to watch Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on television live from Las Vegas. They found a lot of fans rockin’ the red there as well.
“It was insane. The lines went around the block,” Solis told The Washington Times on Friday.
The two veterans eventually found a seat and stayed for the end of the game as the Capitals beat Las Vegas 4-3 to clinch its Stanley Cup four games to one.
It is the first title for a major sports team in D.C. in 26 years, and another Washington pitcher certainly took notice.
Nationals ace Max Scherzer was a fan of the Detroit Red Wings when he pitched for the Tigers from 2010-14.
He said the Capitals’ win can only be a good thing for the city.
“Wow, it is unbelievable,” Scherzer said before Friday’s game at Nationals Park against the Giants. “Just to see the city and the fans and the team themselves, what they have overcame the past few years. It is amazing to watch them do that; this is a sports town. You see the number of people who are passionate about the Capitals … they are also baseball fans too, they are football fans and they are basketball fans.”
“It is so much fun to be a part of it,” added Scherzer, who attended Game 4 with teammate Ryan Zimmerman. “It is awesome. We want to see them win. I like to party. When you see fans partying, it gets me going.”
Scherzer (10-1, 1.95) leads the National League in wins and strikeouts (133) and is slated to pitch at home Sunday at 4:05 p.m.
Washington manager Dave Martinez watched Game 5 by himself at home Thursday.
“It is great for the city,” he said Friday. “Congratulations to the Capitals. Well done. It was amazing.”
Several members of the Capitals and the actual Stanley Cup are slated to be at Nationals Park on Saturday when the Nationals host San Francisco at 12:05 p.m., according to published reports.
The Capitals’ parade will be Tuesday at 11 a.m. in the District.
The Nationals play Tuesday night in New York against the Yankees, but Martinez said he plans to watch the parade on television.
Martinez and Capitals coach Barry Trotz, who have never met, have exchanged texts throughout the NHL season. Trotz is not under contract for next year.
“He did a great job,” Martinez said. “He has a lot of patience, but he is intense.”
Others Nats players took to social media to congratulate the Caps on winning the Stanley Cup, including Bryce Harper, a Las Vegas native who was rooting for the Golden Knights.
“Congrats not only to the @Capitals and the players, but to the whole City of DC,” Harper tweeted. “What a year, what a series, and so well deserved! The Cup is coming to town! @Holts170 you are an absolute stud! #DMV”
“DC!!! Stanley Cup Champs!” shortstop Trea Turner tweeted. “Fun watching these guys compete. A lot of respect for the guys on the ice! #StanleyCupFinals #ALLCAPS”