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Leonsis look-alike greets the fans

"Ted's lost some weight," Annie LeBeau observed Thursday evening, as her friend shrieked and began snapping photos at the goateed man in the blazer and red sweater. "He's lost a lot of weight."

See, when you see a man who looks an awful lot like Ted Leonsis, standing by a Verizon Center entrance and smilingly shaking hands with everyone who walks past, you just assume that man is the owner of the Capitals. Sure, maybe you think he's a bit slimmer than he used to be, but you still whisper to your friends, extend your hand, pose for a photo, and then shout out some words of praise.

"Good luck, Ted!" one man yelled.

"Let's get it done!" shouted another.

"This is awesome," said a third, as he posed for a photo.

Marty Siegel, of course, is not technically Ted Leonsis, but he's got more than enough hockey cred. He's an original Caps season ticket holder, and has stories of sneaking his son into the Cap Centre on his shoulders. He still skates, running an old-timers team in Ashburn. His sons play hockey, too. At 64, he's 11 years older than Leonsis, but his sons are always telling him how much he looks like the owner.

So he promised them that for this playoff run, he'd grow out the goatee, put on some red, and make a real go of it, calling himself Fred Leonsis if anyone asked. The night started at a local watering hole, where fans were all over him, thanking him for delivering a rare bit of sporting excellence to our win-starved little hamlet. And it continued inside the arena, where he eventually stopped walking and just stood in front of an entrance, soaking in the adulation.

"They have no idea," Evan shouted into his cellphone a few feet from his dad. "They think it's him. I'm not exaggerating."

And trust me, he wasn't. Even when I was standing right there, interviewing him about the goof, fans were interrupting to ask for a photo and pay their respects. This was much different than that other look-alike from last year.

"Thank you, sir," one said.

"You're doing a great, job, sir, great job, sir," said another.

"Huge fan, huge fan," said yet another.

"Good luck, we're gonna do it!" someone shouted out.

"Congratulations on everything," said an older man.

There was a constant hum around us, people saying "It's Ted!" or "That's Leonsis!" Fathers sent their children over to say hi. Twenty-somethings nervously tried to fire up their cameras.

Someone came up wearing a Leonsis jersey, explaining how the store employee had accidentally printed it as "Leonis" before making the fix. Siegel told fans to Rock the Red, and he told them to keep the faith.

"It's pretty good, isn't it?" he told me during a break. "I've got to say, I haven't had so much fun in about 10 years."

And in case there was any question, yes, they're Leonsis fans themselves.

"Of course," Evan said. "He's the man. The best owner in sports, period."

UPDATE: Ted responds.

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 15, 2010; 8:31 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Next: Canadiens on stopping Ovechkin


that's my pops in that picture...the similarity is uncanny. too bad the Caps didn't win. We'll get em in game 2

Posted by: kennybanya | April 15, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Dan, you should do a piece on the suffering that the "standing room only" folks suffered throughout that game AND overtime. There's probably some amusing material to be mined there.

Posted by: MarylanDChris | April 15, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

that is hilarious.

Posted by: beaupre33 | April 16, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Ted chimes in from his blog. :)
"Not sure how I am supposed to react so I won’t other than to say, please email him after the loss last night. He was responsible for this rebuild and for the poor playoff performance and he deserves all of the angst and rage. Thank you."

Posted by: blackjack65 | April 16, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it be hysterical if this guy acted beligerent towards fans? Like "I own this place, get away from me -- you people just keeping buying tickets -- who cares if we win"? You know like if he did a Foster Brooks act or something -- walked around with a martini glass...can you see the headlines "Caps owner alienates loyal fans..." LOL!

Posted by: dbunkr | April 16, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

My wife and I sat two rows from this guy last night and can fully attest to the fact the vast majority of morons around us TOTALLY believed that this man was Ted. It was incredibly amusing until people started to reach across aisles and stand for long periods of time DURING GAME ACTION to get his picture. That resulted in some near-fights and wasn't nearly as cool. Still, a great joke.

Posted by: MarylanDChris | April 16, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Some people rock the red, this guy rocks the Ted. It's awesome. Next we'll have Joe B and Locker impersonators. Go Caps!

Posted by: robrooks | April 16, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

What would happen to a Snyder impersonator at Shred Ex Field? Probably get the crap kicked out of him.

Posted by: cjzimm | April 16, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Hahahaha that's me holding the beer with the Langway jersey on! He sure had me fooled for about 20 seconds...

Posted by: geester1 | April 16, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Ted's response is a perfect example of why he's the best owner in the entire region, if not the country. Pitch-perfect funny, and not at all insecure. I can't imagine that a Stan Snyder or Zeke Angelos would go over too well.

* J could be standing next to a Lerner and not know it. Have they ever been spotted in the wild?

Posted by: telecomic | April 19, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

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