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Gerardo Parra 'overwhelmed' by 'Baby Shark' tribute on Nationals World Series ring

Gerardo Parra 'overwhelmed' by 'Baby Shark' tribute on Nationals World Series ring

The Nationals' 2019 World Series rings managed to capture just about every aspect of the team's unforgettable run to their first-ever championship. 

Included on the inside of the ring was a special tribute to "Baby Shark," which of course was Gerardo Parra's walkup song and eventually became the anthem for Washington's postseason run. Parra saw the design and posted a heartfelt message on Instagram thanking the organization for honoring him. 

"I’m completely overwhelmed about the honor the Washington Nationals organization gave me in our World Champions ring we earned last season," Parra wrote. "I can not say thanks enough to the organization and, of course, our fans, because you were the ones that made the Baby Shark song our anthem. I just feel really blessed and I want to say that I will be forever grateful for being a part of the Washington Nationals history!"

Now Parra's World Series ring matches his "Baby Shark" tattoo he got shortly after the Nats won the title. He may have only been in Washington for a year, but he left an everlasting mark on the franchise and its fans 

Parra unfortunately won't play in the majors in 2020 after signing a one-year, $2.5 million contract with a $3 million vesting option for 2021. 

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Juan Soto is back in Nationals lineup

Juan Soto is back in Nationals lineup

Juan Soto will be hitting cleanup and playing left field Wednesday night against the New York Mets. It's a simple, yet long time coming, phrase.

His season debut comes nine games and almost two weeks into the 2020 season. Soto has twice been quarantined under coronavirus protocols -- once for contact tracing reasons and once because of a positive test he thinks was a false positive -- stalling his entrance to a game that mattered.

Tuesday, Soto danced on top of the dugout following Howie Kendrick’s home run because he was watching the game from a few rows back in the stands.

Wednesday, he will face Mets right-hander Rick Porcello.

The Nationals were missing one of the league’s best offensive players after Soto’s positive test result was revealed July 23, hours before the season opener. He came out of quarantine 10 days later, rejoining the team Aug. 1 for weekend workouts. The first priority was to get him at-bats. He did that Saturday. Sunday, he spent six simulated innings in left field. Monday he swung more, Tuesday he worked on everything before watching the game, then Wednesday he was back.

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Soto told Davey Martinez on Monday that he was not yet ready to play Tuesday because his body was sore and legs were heavy. That was in line with Soto’s initial projection for his return anyway. He said he was targeting Wednesday, and here he is.

Max Scherzer will pitch against the Mets. The Nationals are 4-4 after winning three consecutive games.

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As Juan Soto returns, baseball is reminded of just how much it missed him

As Juan Soto returns, baseball is reminded of just how much it missed him

Juan Soto wasn’t in the Nationals’ lineup on Tuesday, but he still found a way to get both his teammates and fans pumped up from the top of the dugout.

No, really. The top of the dugout. Activated from the injured list 12 days after testing positive for the coronavirus, Soto was allowed to return to the team but wasn’t ready to start just yet. He spent the first half of the game sitting in the stands but couldn’t help himself from jumping on top of the dugout when new teammate Josh Harrison launched his first home run in a Nationals uniform.

It was a reminder of what Soto will bring with him once he finally does slot into his normal spot in the heart of the Nationals’ lineup. Of course, he’s brings an elite combination of power and plate discipline that’s matched by few across the sport—never mind among players 21 or younger. The thing is, Soto also has an exuberant attitude that’s contagious in the dugout and a model for how MLB can cater to young fans.

For every historic achievement—youngest player with three home runs in a World Series, MLB record for most walks before turning 21, owner of perhaps greatest teenage season of all time—there’s just as many moments that show his personality bursting out of him—copying Alex Bregman by carrying his bat down to first base in the World Series, drawing the ire of Miles Mikolas for an elongated Soto Shuffle, joking about just wanting to make the team in spring training.

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The baseball community has taken notice, too. Former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz called him a 20-year-old who plays the game with the maturity of a 30-year-old. Fellow young phenom Ronald Acuña Jr. admitted that he thinks Soto is a more exciting player than him. Soto’s agent Scott Boras considers him to already be one of the faces of baseball and he’s not alone in that thinking.

The Nationals have plenty of outgoing personalities. Eric Thames, Starlin Castro and Emilio Bonifacio all signed free-agent deals last offseason to join a clubhouse that already had Soto, Victor Robles and Aníbal Sánchez. So far this season, they’ve showed they still know how to have fun with trumpet celebrations on the basepaths and socially distant dance parties in the dugout.

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But Soto’s status as a star heightens the amount of attention directed at him, something that can only benefit both the Nationals and baseball as a whole given how well he’s handled it since reaching the majors in 2018.

Not only does he give the Nationals MVP-caliber production, but he knows how to pump up his teammates while does it. MLB may be in the midst of navigating a season during a pandemic (and struggling to prevent outbreaks from happening), yet Soto’s return should be a boost for MLB as it competes with NBA and NHL restarts for the attention of sports fans.

Baseball is in a weird state right now. The season is shorter, stadiums are empty and everything from spitting to high fives has been banned. Yet if there’s anyone well-suited to make the best out of it, it’s Soto. And soon, he’ll be able to jump down from the top of the dugout and finally step back into the batter’s box to make his presence known once again.

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