SportsWilliam J. Ford

Thousands Converge on D.C. for Nats’ Title Parade

Derrick and Treshawn Brown donned red jackets as they smiled, cheered and took photos at the corner of Third Street and Constitution Avenue in downtown D.C., near the end of the Washington Nationals’ championship parade route.

The Browns, who reside in Oxon Hill, Maryland, joined thousands of other red-clad fans who also captured the historic moment Saturday along Constitution Avenue between Third and 15th streets in Northwest.

Some climbed trees, some sat on the steps of the Canadian Embassy and others perched along a wall in front of the U.S. Department of Labor building to get a glimpse of the players as they strolled by on a double-decker bus.

“This is a great thing. Everybody coming out to celebrate Washington, D.C.,” said Brown, who sported a red Nationals jacket.

He added, “The eye should be on Southeast right now.”

That’s because Nationals Parks resides in that section of the city. Exactly 20 days before the Nationals won Game 7 in Houston, the Washington Mystics captured its first-ever WNBA title Oct. 10 at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Southeast, where it held its own celebratory rally the next day.

Washington Nationals center fielder Michael A. Taylor waves a flag during a Nov. 2 celebratory parade in northwest D.C. for the team's World Series win. (Ja’Mon Jackson/The Washington Informer)
Washington Nationals center fielder Michael A. Taylor waves a flag during a Nov. 2 celebratory parade in northwest D.C. for the team’s World Series win. (Ja’Mon Jackson/The Washington Informer)

Because several of the Mystics players also play professionally overseas, a parade for the team will be scheduled in the spring.

The two teams’ triumphs follow the Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup championship in 2018.

Christopher Brown, 42, of Northeast, works as an attorney and said his firm allowed staff time off to watch the Capitals parade last year. He brought his 7-year-old daughter, Naomi, to the Nationals parade Saturday.

“We’re becoming a title town, but I don’t know if it’s going to spread to any other sports,” said Brown of Northeast. “Hopefully the Caps will take it this year and the Nats next year.”

Dino Wright of Bowie, Maryland, attracted several people as he sported a red Nationals baseball cap and a Homestead Grays jacket. The team won the Negro League title in 1942 and played at the former Griffith Stadium in Northwest.

“They were the last team to win a baseball championship in D.C.,” he said. “We all know the Negro League ballplayers were equal, or superior, to their Major League counterparts. I’m paying homage to the Homestead Grays.”

Fans cheered and chanted in unison to celebrate a rare occasion where everyone spoke in one voice and proclaimed the city with several monikers: “Title Town,” “District of Clutch” and “#DistrictOfChampions.”

It allowed the city to claim three championships by its major professional sports teams in the past 17 months.

“It is true, we are the District of champions,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser during the rally.

The rally presented emotional speeches from players such as Ryan Zimmerman, who the Nationals drafted at age 20 from the University of Virginia in 2005. That same year, the team played its first home game at RFK Stadium.

“We’re 2019 World Series champs and nobody can ever take this away from us,” said Zimmerman, now 35.

Nationals infielder Howie Kendrick, MVP of the National League Championship Series, said he fought through injuries after former manager Dusty Baker signed him to the team two years ago.

“This group of guys taught me to love the game again. This city taught me to love baseball again,” Kendrick said. “Bumpy roads do lead to beautiful places and this [World Series] trophy is proof of that. This is for you, D.C.”

Before the Nationals settle down into their offseason in the winter, the team sported white Washington Capitals sweaters and brought the World Series trophy to Capital One Arena in Northwest on Sunday, Nov. 3 when the Capitals hosted the Calgary Flames.

On Monday, Nationals owner Mark Lerner, general manager Mike Rizzo and several Nationals players and coaches visited the White House.

The White House posted the ceremony live on social media as President Donald Trump greeted manager Dave Martinez and complimented the hair of second baseman Asdrúbal Cabrera.

Nationals relief pitcher Sean Doolittle publicly declined the invitation, telling The Washington Post that he and his wife have done work with refugees from countries Trump has criticized. He also cited Trump’s mockery of a disabled reporter, saying he has a brother-in-law who has autism.

Doolittle said he received plenty of criticism when he turned his Twitter account back on after the World Series.

“At the end of the day, as much as I wanted to be there with my teammates and share that experience with my teammates, I can’t do it,” he said. “I just can’t do it.”

Thousands of Nationals fans didn’t think about politics during the team’s World Series run.

Destination D.C., which promotes events and markets activities for members of the organization, estimated the city generated more than $8 billion for World Series Games 3, 4, and 5 at Nationals Park.

The organization also estimated last year’s Stanley Cup Final helped bring in $4.4 million per home game.

No estimates were able to be produced from the Mystics’ WNBA Finals, Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination D.C., said in an email Monday.

“We can say, there was certainly an impact and it created a buzz across the city, best demonstrated from Mystics gear selling out at both Capital One Arena and the Entertainment Sports Arena after the win,” he said. “Without a doubt D.C. is ‘Title Town,’ or as we like to say, the #SportsCapital.”

Thousands of fans at the Nationals parade high-fived, hugged each other and even shared a few beverages.

Christine Rose of Northeast said that although she’s more of a football fan, the Nationals brought joy to the city.

“People are happy. There’s no stronger force than love,” she said. “Even it is just for today, it’s great to see.”

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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