As the Nationals open their season, they count on Towson University alumni to keep the organization successful.
The Washington Nationals won the World Series in 2019 with timely hitting, “Baby Shark” power and TU alums working behind the scenes.
The Nats will begin their defense of the championship Thursday in D.C. as they host the New York Yankees, one of several teams favored to challenge for baseball's top prize at the end of the season. The 2020 Major League Baseball regular season will be shortened to 60 games as professional sports leagues aim to rebound from delays due to COVID-19.
Recent and older TU alumni have helped shape the Nationals into a championship organization off the field, most notably in the broadcast fan experience and sales departments. One such case is David Lundin, '99 and '03, the Nationals’ vice president of broadcasting and production since 2007.
In the midst of a nasty slump last season, Washington Nationals outfielder Gerardo Parra knew he needed to change something. So he asked that when he came up to bat on June 19, “Baby Shark” be played on the ballpark PA system. Parra and the team's luck turned around that day. The struggling Nats went from 33-38 and 8½ games out of first place in the National League East to their first World Series title.
Lundin and his team kicked into action at the start of that comeback, creating a video featuring an oversize version of Parra’s head chomping to the song. It was a hit with the fans, and soon thousands at home games were singing and mimicking the hand gestures when he came to bat.
"The fans’ reaction is “why I got into the business in the first place,” Lundin says. “You want to keep giving fans those feelings. There’s something special about sports that gives people those memories. I got to be part of that.”
Throughout the organization, there are similar experiences for TU alumni, who reflect on last year's championship run with awe in a new TU Magazine story.
In other MLB news, catcher Brady Policelli, drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2016 after three years with TU, will spend the 2020 season in an alternative training camp in Toledo, Ohio. He was an Minor League All-Star last year, but the minor league season for this year has been canceled.