- - Saturday, June 9, 2018

Capitals captain and Stanley Cup Playoffs MVP Alex Ovechkin emerged out of Washington Nationals first-base dugout a few minutes before noon Saturday, but he wasn’t carrying a baseball glove belonging to Max Scherzer or even one of Bryce Harper’s bats.

It was something much more important to D.C. sports fans — the 34.5 pound, 35.25-inch tall Stanley Cup, which was secured Thursday night in Las Vegas as the Capitals won 4-3 to secure their Stanley Cup championship with a four-games-to-one series domination.

“I never thought I would see it in my lifetime, after so many years of quick exits,” said Bill Adams, 68, of Arlington, wearing an Ovechkin T-shirt as he watched the ceremony behind section 312 at Nationals Park.

“That was awesome,” said Jeanette Milos of Fairfax Station, Virginia, who has been going to Capitals game for 30 years.

She and her daughter, Nicole, 36, of D.C., bought tickets to the Nationals game on Saturday after they learned the Capitals would be honored at Nationals Park.

Nicole Milos made the trek to the Chinatown neighborhood with her cousin and friends on Thursday night as the Capitals played in Las Vegas.

Adams is a Nationals partial season-ticket holder and also a fan of the Capitals. The one Capitals game he saw in person this season at Capital One Arena was against Las Vegas. “They lost,” Adams said of the Capitals.

All of those losses were forgotten Saturday, as Ovechkin, his teammates and coach Barry Trotz were recognized before the Nationals beat the San Francisco Giants, 7-5. A tribute was played on the scoreboard in right field and fans began to holler “Let’s Go Caps.”

It was Girls Scout Day at the park and some of them were able to shake hands with the Capitals as they came onto the field from an opening down the right-field line.

Ovechkin, a lefty thrower, tossed the first pitch well over the head of Scherzer, the catcher for the ceremony. Not to be undone, Ovechkin called for a baseball and threw another first pitch to Scherzer — this one over the plate and a little high but at least catchable.

Ovechkin and Scherzer, a pair of likely Hall of Famers, then hugged in front of the pitcher’s mound where Scherzer is slated to perform his craft Sunday at 4:05 p.m. against the Giants. Scherzer and teammate Ryan Zimmerman have been two of the biggest supporters of the Capitals during their playoff run.

Members of the Nationals and Capitals then stood on the infield for the national anthem, which was performed admirably by Tiara Wooden, a Girl Scout ambassador and Gold Award Girl Scout.

Also wearing an Ovechkin T-shirt at the Nationals game was Rees Llewellyn, 73, of Fairfax. He was sitting in his normal seat in row D of section 312 back of home plate.

What does the Capitals title mean?

“It means everything in the world,” said Llewellyn, who has lived in the area for 37 years.

He grew up in sports-crazy Berwick, Pennsylvania, and was able to watch sports via a New York cable station.

Llewellyn compares the Capitals title to the 1969 World Series win by the New York Mets.

“They were awful” he said of the expansion Mets team with a record of 40-120 in 1962. The same could be said of the Capitals, who won just eight games in their first season in 1974-75.

While Ovechkin wears No. 8, Nationals outfielder Brian Goodwin has the same number. Goodwin was not in the starting lineup Saturday, but his fellow No. 8 certainly brought the crowd to its feet — even if his pitches were a little bit off the mark.


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