SI cover: It's on for Beltway stars Adam Jones and Alex Ovechkin
While the Baltimore Ravens have won two Super Bowl titles this century, the fans of the Beltway are waiting for the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Capitals to hoist trophies in their respective sports.
Led by high-powered offenses, both Washington and Baltimore hope early playoff exits aren't in their future. Still searching for its first Stanley Cup, the Capitals conference finals drought reaches back to 1998. They failed to qualify for the playoffs last season.
The Orioles' last World Series title was in 1983, with just four playoff appearances in the past 30 years. Winning championships in both sports is a task in itself: No city has won MLB and NHL titles in the same year since Detroit pulled off the feat with the Tigers and the Red Wings in 1935.
Powered by slugging All-Star outfielder Adam Jones and designated hitter Nelson Cruz, title hopes are high for Baltimore, which was the only MLB team to hit more than 200 home runs this season. The Orioles begin the American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday.
Washington hopes to get rid of demons of playoff failures in the past. They have their fourth coach in the last four seasons, Barry Trotz, who hopes to infuse some defensive tenacity and get some blue line help for Ovechkin, who scored an NHL-leading 51 goals in 2013-14 but was an atrocious -35, third worst in the league.
For more on the upcoming NHL season and MLB playoffs, check out this week's Sports Illustrated (subscribe here). Also featured in this issue, Tim Layden profiles Chicago Bears all-purpose back Matt Forte, and Lee Jenkins writes about Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.