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Nationals parade through DC to celebrate title

@JamalCollier
November 2, 2019

WASHINGTON -- A sea of red lined Constitution Avenue on Saturday morning, as fans gathered hours before the start of the parade to celebrate the Nationals’ first World Series championship. They stretched along the parade route from the beginning, near the African American History Museum in the shadow of the

WASHINGTON -- A sea of red lined Constitution Avenue on Saturday morning, as fans gathered hours before the start of the parade to celebrate the Nationals’ first World Series championship.

They stretched along the parade route from the beginning, near the African American History Museum in the shadow of the Washington Monument, all the way to 3rd St. NW and Pennsylvania Avenue, where a makeshift stage was set up for the rally, with the U.S. Capitol building in the background.

Along the way they came out decked in red to cheer and chant. They packed the steps of the National Archives Building. Some climbed in trees. Others stood on the top of the Newseum. And a few even sat on top of a row of portable toilets, denting and caving in the roofs of those units, all to get a better glimpse of the double-decker buses carrying the team that brought a World Series trophy to D.C.

“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had in professional sports,” general manager Mike Rizzo said. “It’s just amazing. We talk about a lot of things, chemistry and performance, but that player group in there is as good [a group] of people as it gets and the D.C. people should be proud that that’s their team.”

As Max Scherzer and Aníbal Sánchez stood at the front of the bus to greet the fans, chants of “M-V-P, M-V-P” followed Stephen Strasburg wherever he went. Manager Dave Martinez left his bus to acknowledge the crowd and fans serenaded him with chants of “Davey! Davey!” Rizzo walked around with a victory cigar and the National League championship trophy. Trea Turner wore a championship belt. Brian Dozier lost his shirt several times. Ryan Zimmerman, now 35, nearly teared up on stage while thinking about how he grew up with the fans who welcomed him to D.C. at the age of 20.

“We’re 2019 World Series champs,” Zimmerman said during the rally. “And nobody can ever take this away from us.”

The celebration was a joyous affair, sometimes emotional, other times filled with laughter.

Adam Eaton grabbed the mic for an impromptu session he called “The Hotline,” inviting players to come up to the mic and share moments with the fans. First up was Anthony Rendon, who is set to test free agency, as fans chanted “Sign Rendon!” Then there was postseason hero Howie Kendrick, who thanked the city for helping him out of a rough spot and teaching him to love baseball again. Eaton and hitting coach Kevin Long shared a moment on the stage when they joked about each other’s height. Sean Doolittle reminded everyone of that time they brought camels to Spring Training.

Gerardo Parra jumped around on the stage as the crowd clapped their hands to “Baby Shark” one more time. There was one last group hug from Parra and Sánchez to Strasburg. And Dozier ended the rally shirtless and singing along to Pedro Capó’s “Calma.”

It was a celebration of all the things that made this Nationals team so special to fans and made the ride to winning the World Series so thrilling.

“We got here because of the group of guys that we had in that clubhouse all year long,” Martinez said as he welcomed the team to surround him at the podium. “The resilience, the relentlessness, the team that never gave up and fought.”

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.