Washington ‘Nationals’ Cathedral? How the church goes ‘all in’ to support the Nats at World Series

Hearing the song “Baby Shark” emanate from the great organ of Washington National Cathedral leaves no doubt the church is “all in” supporting the Nationals’ World Series run.

“This is who we are, this is our home team and we are rooting with the best of them,” Cathedral Spokesman Kevin Eckstrom said.

The hopelessly addictive tune “Baby Shark” and its connection to the Nats began with player Gerardo Parra, who made it his walk-up song in June as the team started their remarkable winning streak.

A lighthearted video, created by the cathedral, of their organists goofing around with the song represents the real excitement, happiness, joy and unity people are experiencing by rallying around the team.

“We are going to change our name to the Washington Nationals Cathedral, officially, once they win,” Eckstrom said with an expression so serious that WTOP felt the need to clarify he was joking.

“It’s all in good fun. And our Dean likes to say that a faith without joy is not a faith worth having,” Eckstrom said.

Everyone seems to be getting in on the fun.

“Before there was Baby Shark, we did ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ up on the Carillon with the bells. And, then we had the Choristers singing ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game.’ Everybody is in on this from top to bottom here at the Cathedral,” Eckstrom said.

National Cathedral has a friendly wager with Christ’s Church Cathedral in Houston. Each church is sending the other a jersey or a hat, and the losing city has to wear the other team’s colors in the pulpit on a Sunday morning.

“From our perspective, red is a completely appropriate liturgical color and blue and orange are not. We have no intention of bringing blue and orange into this sacred space, so the Nats are going to have to win,” Eckstrom declared.

Liturgically, this is how the church rocks the red, according to Eckstrom:

  • It’s worn by bishops frequently;
  • Red is also worn by Catholic cardinals;
  • It represents the Holy Spirit;
  • And also represents the season of Pentecost.

“Pentecost is the birthday of the Church and it’s also the descent of the Holy Spirit, and if you’re watching the Nats this season, they’ve had a lot of help from the Holy Spirit,” Eckstrom said, adding that it’s clear God and the Holy Spirit have favorites in the World Series.

Eckstrom also noted that Jonah getting swallowed by the whale is similar to how the baby shark has taken over the team. At a midseason low, the Nationals win/loss record was 19-31.

“This is all foreordained; God has already laid all this out; it’s just a matter of time; we’ve just got to wait for it,” Eckstrom said.

In the best of four-out-of-seven series, the Washington Nationals’ first home game against the Astros is Friday.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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