Long answer: The whole thing started when outfielder Gerardo Parra used the song as his walk-up music in June. At the time, the Nationals weren’t great and Parra was in a slump himself. Walk-up songs are good opportunity to show a little personality, and Parra has kids, so he decided to join the ‘Baby Shark’ trend.
For whatever reason, the song stuck. Maybe it was because Parra is a cool guy, or because the Nationals, who started the season 19-31 (poorly) started playing better. By mid-season, it was a whole thing. Nats fans sang along every time Parra came up to bat while an elaborate intro played on the park’s Jumbotron. Other players started adopting the baby shark motions, making big claps after getting on base or, charmingly, tiny little shark motions with their fingers, like a baby shark golf clap.
It was only natural that this baby shark energy, which had sprung out of nothing but serendipity, charisma and some good ol’ baseball boredom, would follow them into the postseason. During the last few National League Championship Series games against the St. Louis Cardinals, a stuffed baby shark appeared on the Nationals’ dugout netting. Parra says someone sent him a few, so it only made sense to do something with them.
When Nationals rookie Victor Robles hit a home run during Game 3 of the series, he gave the shark a little smooch. Very normal baseball behavior.
Every team has their odd little mannerisms and fascinations, their delightful obsessions that keep players and fans fighting through the season. Not every team makes it to the World Series. The Washington Nationals and their baby sharks, however, just keep swimming.