“Baby Shark” blared from the speakers at the Tokyo Dome when Gerardo Parra stepped to the plate in the second inning Friday as Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league opened its shortened 2020 season.

The scoreboard displayed an animation of the former Washington Nationals outfielder clapping along to the children’s song he uses as his walk-up music, but with fans prohibited from attending games due to the novel coronavirus pandemic at least until July, the scene was a far cry from the ones at Nationals Park last season. Parra’s at-bats in Washington, which often came in a pinch-hitting role, were preceded by as many as 40,000 people standing and chomping in unison, and opposing players sometimes wondering what the heck was happening.

Coincidentally, it was exactly one year ago Friday that a slumping Parra, looking for a spark, changed his walk-up music to “Baby Shark” as a nod to his 2-year-old daughter, Aaliyah, who loved the tune.

“I think God send to me,” Parra, who doubled and homered that day to snap an 0-for-22 skid, would say during the Nationals’ run to the World Series.

Parra’s Nationals teammates embraced his goofy walk-up song as much as the fans, and they started giving “Baby Shark” hand signals to the dugout after hits.

“We all thought it was just going to be a game or two or a week, but it turned into something cool,” second baseman Brian Dozier said. “Anything to get the fans involved.”

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A post shared by Gerardo Parra (@elyologp8) on

During the National League Championship Series, Parra started hanging a stuffed shark from the railing of the Nationals’ dugout. It’s now part of the Nationals’ World Series championship exhibit at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and a Baby Shark image adorns the inside of the team’s World Series rings.

“I’m completely overwhelmed about the honor the Washington Nationals organization gave me in our World Champions ring we earned last season,” Parra wrote on Instagram. “I cannot say thanks enough to the organization and, of course, our fans, because you were the ones that made the Baby Shark song our anthem.”

Parra signed with the Yomiuri Giants in November and took his Baby Shark act overseas. The team is selling shark gloves and finger puppets in his honor. Parra went 1 for 3 with a walk Friday as the Giants defeated the Hanshin Tigers, 3-2, for their 6,000th win in franchise history dating back to 1934.

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🦈🙏the first of many🇯🇵🦈

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