Super Bowl commercial capped Barrett’s emotional comeback

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Aaron Barrett was working out in his hometown in Mississippi three weeks ago when he got a text message from a friend with an odd question included: “Have you seen the Budweiser commercial?”

Barrett, completely confused, replied that he hadn’t and then asked why.

“You’re in it,” the friend responded.

Thus did the Nationals reliever, learn he was part of Budweiser’s annual Super Bowl commercial. The 60-second ad, titled “Typical Americans,” including clips of various men and women performing inspiring acts of kindness and bravery, and towards the end it also included two quick clips of the Nationals’ clubhouse celebration after winning Game 7 of the World Series.

One of the clips showed Anthony Rendon hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy as teammates sprayed him with champagne and beer (Budweiser, of course). The other showed Barrett and Nats third base coach Bobby Henley pouring beer (Budweiser, of course) on each other, something that became a tradition between the two after every clinching victory in October.

Barrett immediately watched the video on his phone, then texted his wife to let her know.

Barrett-Pitch-White-sidebar.jpg“And then the next thing you know, my agency is talking to Budweiser, and they reached out to me on social media and said they wanted to sponsor my Super Bowl party,” the reliever said. “Are you kidding me? This is awesome! So they sent me, literally, like 250 beers. Obviously, I’m not going to drink all of it. So I gave a lot of it to my friends and guys I work out with.”

As much as the Barretts would’ve liked to host a Super Bowl party, they knew they had to leave for Florida before that, to get settled in before the start of spring training. But they did watch the game here in West Palm Beach, and they did drink a few of the Budweisers they were given.

The company had told Barrett the commercial would air during the fourth quarter, so when it came on he was ready for it. He still was struck by the emotions he felt as he watched it, realizing 100 million others were watching it at the same time.

“It’s one of those things where you never think you’re going to be in a Super Bowl commercial, let alone Budweiser,” he said. “And it was a great commercial. They told me through social media they were huge fans of my story, so maybe that’s why they chose to put me in it. I have no idea. It’s cool. How many people are able to say they were in a Super Bowl commercial?”

Barrett isn’t the Nationals’ biggest star nor their most recognizable player, not by a longshot. He wasn’t even on the postseason roster. But he gained notoriety last fall when he made it back to the big leagues three years after he broke his arm while throwing a pitch in a simulated game during the final stages of recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Between his return to the mound, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before the wild card game, watching his teammates win the World Series, being part of a celebratory parade and a White House visit, then be part of a Super Bowl commercial, Barrett had a wild ride in 2019. At some point, after the hullabaloo died down, he was able to sit back and process everything that happened.

“What a ride,” he said. “The things I’ve gone through. I’ve questioned a lot of things. I questioned if I’d ever make it back. Obviously the process I went through, you question a lot of things. And then to be able to come full circle and be rewarded, in a way, it’s just surreal. It’s storybook, honestly. It makes you just really appreciate everything.”

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