The Nationals won their first world championship Wednesday night, coming back from an early deficit to stun the Astros and their fans in a 6-2 victory in Game 7 of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Some 1,413 miles away in rainy Nationals Park, an a crowd estimated at more than 30,000 watched the game on the big screen and cheered for their team so everyone in the state of Texas could hear. The rain intensified as the night wore on, but so did the noise when Anthony Rendon hit a solo shot and Howie Kendrick followed with a two-run homer in the game-changing seventh inning. The Nats had erased a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead.
The crowd at Nats Park cheered from the first pitch to the last out. The Nationals played the walk-up song for each Nats batter and the two-strike music for Max Scherzer to excite the crowd. Following the Nats’ first rally, the rain relented, and the celebration started to gain momentum.
The Nats scored three more runs to extend the lead. With the ninth inning looming, the game presentation crew played “Baby Shark” one last time with Gerardo Parra on the big board, and the crowd shark-clapped along. Then Daniel Hudson struck out Michael Brantley to finish off the Astros and the party was on.
“It feels awesome,” said Nationals fan Rico James of Bowie, Md. “It’s funny because I’m getting text messages from people because I said on local television that, yeah, we’re going to win. I said it’s going to be 6-2 and I said we’re going to start beating them in the seventh or eighth inning. Everybody was texting me, ‘You should’ve bet!’
“I’m having an awesome time with what little voice I have left. I went to their very first game at RFK Stadium. Then I went to the very first game here. I’ve gone to games every year. This was a great team. They deserved this win. Our city deserves this win.”
The postgame trophy presentation and introduction of the MVP award played on the big screen as the crowd at Nats Park continued to rejoice in the title. Manager Davey Martinez, general manager Mike Rizzo and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman talked about the win and how great the Nats fans were to the team. That got the crowd at Nats Park to go crazy. It was like Zimmerman and the crew were there with them, speaking directly to them on their home field.
“We’ve been through a lot these years,” said Coby Dotson from West Virginia. “There was ups and downs. We didn’t know. Even this game, we had ups and downs. You still kind of believed. You get to that sixth, seventh inning, nothing was going our way, but you always thought that one good swing is going to bring it home. That’s all it took. Got us to 2-1, another man, another good swing, 3-2, and that’s all she wrote.
“They’ve been down all year. Backs to the wall - that’s where you’re most comfortable. So you never felt like they were out of it. All you need is that one good swing. Back in it.”
And for the first time since 1924, D.C. has a Major League Baseball champion. For the first time since the Nats arrived from Montreal, they own the title as best in the big leagues. Dotson said fans at Nats Park last night appreciated the moment of finally getting that a long-awaited championship back to D.C.
“Everyone is coming into it new,” Dotson said. “But everyone feels how long it’s been. So you can hear it right now, the emotion going through the stadium. You feel how long people have waited. It’s indescribable. Listen to it.”