Gerardo Parra Baby Shark Song Washington Nationals 2019 World Series
Every time Gerardo Parra heads for home plate at Frontier Field, two things happen.
The kids in the crowd get excited because playing on the stadium speakers is Parra’s song, Baby Shark. And the adults, at least those who were paying attention to the Washington Nationals running to the 2019 World Series title, are like, “Ah, that’s where I heard that silly song.”
Parra joined the Nationals in May 2019 just after being released by the Giants where he was hitting .198. No one knew at the time the unique role he would play in winning the franchise’s first championship.
In mid-June, looking for a way out of his seasonal crisis, he decided to change his walk-up music. “I tried merengue, reggaeton, hip-hop,” Parra told reporters. “Then I said, ‘You know what, I want to put on Baby Shark.’ I’m happy for it. “
This is because her 2 year old daughter, Aaliyah, loved the song. Almost from the time the tune started playing at Nationals Park, the team adopted it as their theme song, and whether it was coincidence or not, the Nationals started to win.
They turned a terrible 19-31 start in the postseason and beat the Brewers in the NL wildcard in one game, the Dodgers in the divisional round, the Cardinals in the NLCS, and then the Astros in the World Series. Parra hit .250 for Washington, but in the playoffs he was a bench player and made just seven plate appearances.
Now Baby Shark has traveled to Rochester because after spending the 2020 season playing in Japan for the Yomiuri Giants, Parra signed a minor league deal to return to the Nationals this year, and he was assigned to the Red Wings where , at 34, he is the senior on the list.
Parra lost on Thursday, a 9-8 Wings victory over the Syracuse Mets, but on Wednesday night his three-point triple resulted in a six-point explosion as the Wings recovered from an early 4-0 deficit to win Syracuse 7-4. Parra leads the team with a 0.387 base percentage as he has 13 hits and 11 goals in 62 appearances at home. His six doubles are tied for third in the Triple-A East.
While no one on the list comes close to the 1,466 major league games Parra has on his baseball card for the Diamondbacks, Brewers, Orioles, Rockies, Giants and Nationals, manager Matt LeCroy pauses before saying his Rochester’s main role is to be a mentor to young players.
“They’re here to try to help our big league team,” LeCroy said of Parra and fellow veteran Yasmany Tomas, 30. “We signed these guys like Parra and he was ready to go down to Triple-A. We don’t ask them to coach, we just ask them to be professionals and come out and be an example just by the way they play and the way they prepare. Obviously people turn to him for advice, but the most important thing for me is to lead by example and these guys have been great.
Parra was signed by the Diamondbacks as an amateur free agent from Venezuela at the age of 17 and five years later he made his debut for Arizona and hit .290 with 60 RBIs and finished eighth in the ballot for the rookie of the year 2009 of the NL.
The outfielder had five solid seasons for the Diamondbacks, but was traded to the Brewers on the 2014 deadline, and so started his hopscotch around the majors. Now, after missing the first part of spring training with a knee injury, he’s trying to get his game back in shape at Rochester in hopes of being able to return to Washington at some point this summer.
LeCroy said the process was not easy and he used himself as an example. After spending six years with the Twins and one with the Nationals, the Twins re-signed LeCroy in 2007 and he was sent to Rochester. He struggled a lot and his career ended after playing eight games for Minnesota in a September recall.
“When I came back to Rochester I was five or six in the big leagues and initially I thought it was going to be okay and then the next thing you know this league kind of tore me apart,” said LeCroy said of the former international. League. “It was a lot harder than I thought and I had to refocus and try to prepare my body to play and to prepare my mind every day to play.”
That’s what Parra is trying to do now. Yes, he’s there for his young teammates, but he’s trying to resurrect his own career.
“He was on the World Series team in 19 and when you play with the big boys for a while you know there is no other place to play,” said LeCroy. “He’s trying to do whatever he can to get back into this environment.”
Wings 9, Mets 8
► Right-hander Sterling Sharp made his Triple-A debut for the Wings in Thursday’s win. He was drafted by the Nationals in 2016 and spent two stints with Auburn in the New York-Penn League, but never passed Double-A Harrisburg. Then he went to the Marlins in the 2019 Rule 5 Draft and made his major league debut in 2020, throwing four games in relief for Miami.
Sharp was nominated for an assignment in late August and returned to the Nationals. After three good starts at Harrisburg where his ERA was 2.45, he was called up to the Wings as part of a series of moves announced Thursday by the Nationals.
It only lasted 3 2/3 innings because of a hardworking third which saw him give up two runs on three hits and two steps, the last one hitting a single RBI by opposing starting pitcher Akeem Bostick who had tied the score at 3-3.
► Bostick, whose brother Brandon Bostick played four seasons in the NFL with the Packers and Jets, made his Mets debut. The Rangers’ second-round pick in 2013, Bostick never made it to the big leagues. He spent time in the Ranger and Astros systems, but since the summer of 2019 he has been competing in unaffiliated independent leagues.
Now, at 26, he has a new life with the Mets. The 6-foot-6, 240-pounder struggled early on as the Wings scored three runs on five hits and two steps, including a two-run single by Adrian Sanchez, but was bailed out by a pair of double games.
Bostick settled in over the next two innings but then collapsed in the fifth as he did not register a takedown and was scored for a brace from Carter Kieboom, a walk from Daniel Palka (the one of the four he drew) and a double RBI by Jake Noll. which tied the score at 4-4. Trey Cobb relieved and relinquished Blake Swihart’s sacrificial fly.
► Noll played three two-hit games in the season opener against Lehigh Valley, but has since calmed down and entered the game with a score of 0.254. But with two strikeouts in the sixth, Noll took Cobb deep for a grand slam on the left to give the Wings a 9-4 lead.
► The Wings made four mistakes that cost them three races. On top of the first, Sanchez airlifted a shortstop to the first pitch on a routine play that would have ended the inning but instead allowed a run to score. With two outs in the fifth, reliever Bryan Bonnell walked Quinn Brody, and he ran home when Palka dropped a ball in the right corner of the field touched by Drew Jackson who was third.
And in the seventh, after fielding a simple short bloop to the right, first baseman Noll threw the ball trying to catch a runner in the second and Jackson came in to score. It was part of a four-point rally for the Mets that took them to 9-8. The Wings have 27 errors in their first 21 games.
► The relief Justin Miller continued his exceptional season by pitching the last two innings, retiring the six men he faced with four strikeouts. He lowered his ERA to 0.84.
Sal Maiorana can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @salmaiorana.