When the Washington Nationals began their season on a chilly, 56 degree Thursday afternoon at the tail end of March, no one could have predicted how the season would end: on a stage in front of the Capitol building dancing to Baby Shark celebrating with a slightly damaged World Series trophy.
A season that saw comeback win after comeback that included a ‘Stay in the Fight’ mentality, dugout dances, Brian Dozier twerking in the clubhouse to a reggae song that many Americans likely had never heard of before the season, grown men showing up to baseball games in shark costumes to get in on the baby shark experience and an attempt to out-party the 2018 Capitals by drinking from the World Series trophy.
The Nationals were able to make baseball fun once again in Washington and brought a trophy home to a city that hadn’t seen a World Series since 1933. D.C. is now once again a baseball town and it couldn’t be any sweeter.
How were they able to make baseball fun again? By using a tool to build a team that no analytic can measure: team chemistry.
Gerardo Parra’s walk up to Baby Shark, –a song that’s been played one too many times– Parra and Anibal Sanchez sitting side by side in the dugout during Sanchez’s off-days with a matching pink and yellow pair of sunglasses, forcing Stephen Strasburg to break out of his comfort zone by giving him long hugs in the dugout and by attempting to drink alcohol from a World Series trophy that’s nearly impossible to drink from.
The Nationals were able to show off the party-type vibe they’ve had since Parra signed with Washington in early May once more on a stage, this time on a national stage, in front of a million ‘Calma’ and ‘Baby Shark’ enthusiasts that showed up for the Nats’ World Series victory parade that shutdown the streets of southern D.C.
The streets of Washington were at the center of the baseball world as close to a million or so Nationals fans filled the D.C. streets with a sea of red, white and blue. Fans were able to see and cheer on the Nationals as they made their way down Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenue before being dropped off at the stage on 3rd Street in front of the backdrop of the Capitol building.
The party continued along the entirety of the parade route. Players chugged beers that fans threw to them, Sean Doolittle rode the bullpen cart and Max Scherzer rode on top of a bus holding a WWE belt. MASN’s Dan Kolko asked how Dozier was feeling at the parade on a scale of one to a million, Dozier, with a not-so-sober response, told Kolko that he was feeling “one million and one!” then proceeded to hug a surprised Kolko. Dozier’s quick interview basically summed up how Nats fans had been feeling since Wednesday night after Washington had won the World Series.
The party was then taken to the stage where players obviously snuck beer, liquor and whatever alcohol they could find to keep their excitement level up. After a slew of speakers that included the Lerner family, the Nationals radio and television broadcast team and a few of the players by the likes of Mr. National Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Eaton, Anthony Rendon and World Series home run hero Howie Kendrick spoke, the team was able to dance one last time.
Calma was played through the speakers one final time for the 2019 Nationals and to say the least, Brian Dozier was lit. Dozier was able to manage to rip off his shirt, pick up Anibal Sanchez by the legs, jump on batting practice pitcher Ali Modami’s back for a piggyback ride and yell “my wife is going to kill me,” into the microphone.
The Nationals ended the celebration with their biggest team chemistry builder by playing Baby Shark one final time.
Baseball united an often divided city in 2019 by capturing a World Series trophy and threw the biggest party D.C. has seen since June 2018 when the Capitals threw a party that the city had waited for since the team’s inception 1974.
The Nationals party? Well, that was 95 years in the making and they sure as hell didn’t disappoint.