“A week later, they were like, ‘All right, how ‘bout 'Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!’?” Doolittle explained while appearing as a guest on an episode of his favorite radio game show, which aired Saturday on NPR.
Before participating in the “Not My Job” quiz portion of the show, Doolittle reflected on the Nationals’ improbable October ride, which might not have happened if not for a lucky bounce in the win that started it all.
“It’s so important that you take the momentum that you have and you’re able to capitalize on it and make the most of it,” Doolittle said. “We caught a huge break in the wild-card game where a ball took a really funny hop against Milwaukee in the eighth inning and three runs scored for us. We took the lead, and from then on, it kind of felt like the baseball gods, they finally might have our back.”
Doolittle also discussed the special bond that helped keep the team together after a dreadful start to the season that left the Nationals 12 games under .500 on May 24.
“Every once in a while in baseball you get a group of guys that comes together and you just click,” he said. “Team chemistry is one of the last things in baseball that we have yet to quantify. We keep track of everything. We just connected. It took a little while to figure things out in the beginning part of the season. We had the second-worst record in the National League at the end of May. I think it was because we genuinely liked each other that we didn’t rip each other’s heads off in June or July, and we were able to right the ship and stay together and go all the way.”
Doolittle led the audience in a brief rendition of “Baby Shark” for the benefit of co-host Paula Poundstone, who was unfamiliar with the song that became the anthem of the Nationals’ season after Gerardo Parra, who was in the midst of a slump, made it his walk-up music in June.
Asked whether he was superstitious, Doolittle said he has tried to become less so over the course of his career, but he made an exception with the Nationals facing elimination after losing Games 3, 4 and 5 of the World Series at home. Washington had won the first two games of the series in Houston.
“When we came back to Houston for Games 6 and 7, a lot of us went back and tried to remember, or in some of our cases looked on social media, to see what clothes we wore to the ballpark [for Games 1 and 2]. … We all went back to make sure we wore the same stuff to the stadium to bring ourselves luck. At that point, you really don’t want to leave anything to chance. You gotta pull out all the stops, just in case.”
Listen to Doolittle’s entire guest segment here.
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We’ve never seen Peter so excited to meet a fellow belly itcher! ⚾️🤰🏻 • We’re so excited for you to hear this episode with World Series champ Sean Doolittle, Paula Poundstone, Peter Grosz, and Faith Salie. It’s an absolute home run! We know, we know...we’re ALSO counting down the hours until Saturday.
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