Washington — President Trump hosted theand a crowd of several thousand on Monday afternoon at the White House to celebrate the team's World Series championship, the first ever for the capital-based franchise.
"We love you all," Mr. Trump welcomed the Nationals by saying, "Throughout this season, the Nationals captured the hearts of baseball fans across the region and across the country. America fell in love with the Nats baseball. They just fell in love with Nat baseball. That's all they wanted to talk about — that and impeachment. I like Nats baseball much more."
He praised the team for having executed a "comeback story for the ages," noting that two months into the season, the team had a 19 - 31 record, second-to-last in the National League, but they didn't give up.
The president also referred to the unofficial theme song for the team, "Baby Shark" and explained its provenance, saying, "As you battled for every win, Gerardo Parra changed his walk-up song to 'Baby Shark.' That was a favorite of his 2-year-old daughter, and it became the anthem for the Nats fans everywhere. And I tell you what, that turned out to be a very, very powerful little tune." The walk-up song is the song played for each player who comes up to bat at home games.
Catcher Eric Suzuki donned a MAGA hat, to the president's great delight, and Mr. Trump gave him a big hug.
Most of the championship team was on hand for the ceremony, although some declined to appear. Among those who were not listed among those attending the event were Anthony Rendon, Javy Guerra, Michael Taylor and Sean Doolittle.
Pitcher Sean Doolittle told The Washington Post he would not attend Monday's ceremony, saying he strongly disagreed with Mr. Trump's "divisive rhetoric." Doolittle and his wife have publicly expressed their support for refugees and the LGBTQ community, two groups many feel the current administration has marginalized through its policies and rhetoric.
When Mr. Trump attended Game 5 of the World Series in Washington, he wasand chants of "lock him up."
Corey Rangel contributed to this report.