How 'Baby Shark' became the Nationals' theme song in their World Series run

Outfielder Gerardo Parra used the viral toddler hit as his walk-up music to break a slump, and now it's become an anthem for the team's playoff run.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Scott Stump

Washington Nationals outfielder Gerardo Parra was just looking for a spark to end an 0-for-23 slump in June when he decided to choose the viral toddler tune "Baby Shark" to be his walk-up music to the plate.

Four months later, the song has Nats fans standing and clapping along and Washington players doing the "Baby Shark" on the basepaths as it has become the anthem to the greatest playoff run in team history.

The Nationals are now two wins away from adding their own line to the song: "World Series champs, doo doo doo doo doo doo!"

Parra, a 32-year-old outfielder from Venezuela, first used the song in a sparsely-attended home game on June 19, according to The Washington Post. He did it in honor of his daughter, Aaliyah, 2, but it soon became adopted by the whole team.

“I wanted to put on something different,” Parra told reporters after the game. “My daughter loves that song. Before the game, I tried merengue, reggaeton, hip-hop. Then I said, you know what, I want to put in 'Baby Shark.' I'm happy for that.”

The viral song from Pinkfong, a South Korean children's edutainment company, powered Parra as he hit a double and a home run that day.

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It also kick-started a run in which the Nationals roared from five games under .500 at the time to reach the playoffs as a National League wild-card team. The team is now two victories away from its first World Series title after taking a 2-0 lead on the Houston Astros Wednesday night in the best-of-seven series.

Every time Parra has come to bat at home games, the fans have been on their feet dancing and singing along, and even the organist at the team's home stadium did a rendition.

"The 'Baby Shark,' it's unbelievable,'' Parra told MLB Network. "The fans bring it here, toys, everything. All the kids bring a lot of energy. Seeing all the kids happy, it's amazing."

Parra has had fun with his new shtick, including giving out baby shark toys at local children's hospitals and performing the "Baby Shark" dance for team employees.

The Nationals staff cut an animated video of him dancing with an enlarged version of his head that plays on the scoreboard when he comes to the plate.

Nationals fans have even dressed themselves, their children and their pets up in "Baby Shark" outfits.

The Nationals players also use "Baby Shark" gestures when they get a base hit. A single merits the finger pinch of the Baby Shark, a double gets the hand-clapping of a Mommy Shark, and a triple means a two-armed chomp gesture for Daddy Shark.

Howie Kendrick demonstrates a Mommy Shark celebration after ripping a double against the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series. Patrick Smith / Getty Images

And a home run? That means a full-on dance party in the dugout.

"We all thought it was just going to be a game or two or a week, but it turned into something cool,” second baseman Brian Dozier told The Washington Post. “Anything to get the fans involved."

Parra isn't the first baseball player to claim "Baby Shark" as his walk-up music. Fellow Venezuelan Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers used the song right from opening day this season in honor of his 1-year-old son.

The Nationals return home for Game 3 of the World Series on Friday night, when Parra will surely get the place jumping if he comes to the plate.

If the Nationals win the World Series, "Baby Shark" may become permanently connected to Parra along with the lucky red glasses he has worn in the dugout during the Nationals' playoff run.

"I want to do a tattoo with the Baby Shark, my sunglasses and the (World Series) trophy,'' he told MLB Network. "I'll never forget that."