BALTIMORE -- Seeing an Orioles No. 8 jersey at Camden Yards is hardly a new experience. Seeing one with a name other than "Ripken" on the back, on the other hand, is a rather odd sight, though Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin has proven to be a "great eight" in his professional world.
Ovechkin was in Baltimore Friday to throw out the first pitch before the Baltimore Orioles hosted the Los Angeles Angels. The Capitals first preseason game this year will be the Baltimore Hockey Classic on Tuesday, Sept. 20 vs. Nashville at 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore.
A right-handed shot on the ice, the Russian star took a couple of swings from that side in the batting cage with the Orioles, getting a couple of balls to the outfield. He threw left-handed during a pregame toss in front of the Orioles dugout.
As for the first pitch ritual, one that has befuddled other athletes, Ovechkin is an old hand.
"It was probably like five years ago [in Washington]," Ovechkin said, not appearing nervous about his upcoming throw. "Right now it's different."
The two-time NHL MVP met Cal Ripken Jr. earlier this year at a charity event and clearly understands the legend surrounding the other number 8.
"I don't want to take his number in baseball," Ovechkin said. "He's a Hall of Famer. He was the best. I'm lucky to meet him."