MLB

MLB: How the Washington Nationals Got in on the Baby Shark Craze

Gerardo Parra #88 of the Washington Nationals celebrates

The “Baby Shark” song is a worldwide phenomenon. Since the “Baby Shark Dance” was uploaded to YouTube on June 17, 2016, the children’s song has become one of the top ten most viewed videos on YouTube with over three billion views to date. Parents around the world have had to listen to this catchy song hundreds (or thousands) of times as children love to play it on repeat over and over again.

One of those parents is Washington Nationals utility man Gerardo Parra. Every batter in the major leagues gets to choose the song that plays when they walk up to the batter’s box. Many choose popular hip hop or rock-and-roll songs. Gerardo Parra chose “Baby Shark”.

Parra decided to try something new to break out of his batting slump

Gerardo Parra entered Washington’s June 19 game against the Philadelphia Phillies without a hit in his last 23 at bats. Desperate to change his luck, Parra decided to try out a new entrance song. As the father of a two-year-old daughter, “Baby Shark” must have been pretty fresh on his mind.

Baseball players tend to be a superstitious bunch. So when Parra broke out of his 11-game hitting slump with a double and a home run in his first game with “Baby Shark” as his entrance song, there was no turning back. He spoke to reporters about his song selection after the game:

“I wanted to put on something different. My [two-year-old daughter Aaliyah Victoria] loves that song. Before the game, I tried merengue, reggaeton, hip-hop, then I said, ‘You know what, I want to put in Baby Shark.’ I’m happy for that.”

As Parra continues to walk up to the batters box with “Baby Shark” blaring through the speakers at Nationals Park, he keeps on hitting. The 32-year-old has raised his batting average from .209 to .244 since making the switch, batting .357 in July and .375 through the team’s first four games in August.

The Nationals have been riding the wave, too

Fans of all ages are performing the Baby Shark dance at Nationals Park
Fans of all ages are performing the Baby Shark dance at Nationals Park | Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Nationals fans love it. Whenever Gerardo Parra comes to the plate, just about everyone in attendance stands up to do the “Baby Shark” dance, opening and closing their arms together to mimic a shark’s bite. Teammates join in on the fun as well from the dugout and bullpen. Opposing teams often look bewildered.

While Washington was starting to string some wins together before June 19, the team’s season was still looking like a lost cause. At just 33-38, the Nationals were still well behind the leaders for an NL wild card spot. They were 5-5 in their previous five games before “Baby Shark” made its big-league debut.

Washington’s 6-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 19 sparked a 16-4 run over the team’s next 20 games. While they’ve cooled off a bit since then, the Nationals are still 26-15 since Parra switched to “Baby Shark”, and they are currently holding an NL wild card spot with 50 games remaining in the regular season.

Will Baby Shark make a postseason appearance in 2019?

The Washington Nationals made some moves at the MLB trade deadline to bolster their bullpen, adding Daniel Hudson, Hunter Strickland, and Roenis Elias for a potential playoff push. With a starting pitching staff led by Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin, the Nationals could be a dangerous wild card team if they do eventually secure a playoff spot.

Dangerous like a shark. A “Baby Shark”. Doo-Doo-Doo-Doo-Doo-Doo…