The Washington Nationals' song is "Baby Shark," but they should be singing "You Gotta Have Heart."
The anthem sung by the Washington Senators in the play/movie "Damn Yankees" is appropriate for the Nationals' resurrection after a 19-35 start.
Unlike in "Damn Yankees," a deal with the devil presumably wasn't involved in the slugging of Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto and Ryan Zimmerman, the bullpen's revival and the starting pitching of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez.
With the Nationals holding a 2-0 lead over the Houston Astros, the World Series returns to the nation's capital Friday night for the first time since 1933. The American League Senators of Joe Cronin, Goose Goslin, Heninie Manush and Showboat Fisher lost to the National League New York Giants of Bill Terry, Mel Ott and Carl Hubbell in five games.
Another Washington team, the Homestead Grays, won the final Negro Leagues World Series in 1949, beating the Birmingham Black Barons.
The Nats' first appearance in the World Series brought a wave of nostalgia for the old Senators. The New York Times has run more photos of Walter Johnson, the Senators' Big Train, than Scherzer or Strasburg.
After winning the World Series in 1924 and the American League pennant in 1925 and 1933, the Senators fell into years of losing seasons. The team moved to Minnesota in 1960, finding success as the Twins. The few stars of the old Senators, like Roy Sievers, stood out because they played for such bad ballclubs.
I'd always thought that longtime Washington Post sports columnist Shirley Povich had coined the old jibe about the Senators, "First in War, First in Peace and Last in the American League." But the wayback machine revealed it was coined by pioneering baseball writer Charles Dryden in 1906, playing off "Light Horse" Harry Lee's salute in his eulogy for George Washington, "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."
Another Senators franchise played in Washington in the 1960s. The team was forgettable, except for fearsome 6-7 slugger Frank Howard and manager Ted Williams, who led the team to its only winning season in 1969. Washington also lost that team, which moved to Arlington, Texas, and changed to the Texas Rangers, once owned by George W. Bush.
After losing two franchises, Washington benefited from another city's sorrow when the Montreal Expos turned into the Nats. After some rocky early years, the Nats turned into one of baseball's best franchises. Perennially sportswriters' darlings to win the World Series, the Nats disappointed their fans with a string of postseason collapses
Now, the Nationals are two victories away from the World Championship. The spirit of Joe Hardy lives anew.