People lined the streets to cheer and blow air horns while players drove by in double-decker buses. Students who attended the parade said that while they are not primarily loyal to the Nationals, they enthusiastically joined D.C. residents in the celebration anyway because of the team’s historic win.
The Nationals defeated the Houston Astros in game seven of the 115th World Series Wednesday, marking the first championship for a D.C. baseball team since the Washington Senators won in 1924.
Freshmen Emma Johnson, Sydney Graves and Vivian Martin said they struggled to find a hole in the crowd so they could have a better view of the parade. Graves said she was hoping to catch a glimpse of Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer drive by.
“I think he’s really cute,” she said. “He’s the only one I really know.”
Sophomores Adam Darwich, Sophie Van Gilder, Katie Kunkel and Liam Kapples said they are not true Nationals fans, but they wanted to come to the parade to have a good time.
“I watched most of the games, and we all watched the last game together,” Darwich said. “It was crazy. After the game, we all ran to the White House.”
Most in the group said they were attending the parade for the first time, but Kapples said he has been to about six in Boston to celebrate the Red Sox’s previous championships. Kapples said the Boston parades are “a little more rowdy” than Saturday’s celebration was, but the Nationals’ parade was “cute.”
Freshman Justin Myali said he is a true Nationals fan and was excited for the team to finally bring home a championship, especially for one of his favorite players, first baseman Ryan Zimmerman.
“I’ve been a Nats fan since they moved here in 2005,” he said. “I’m from the DMV, and so it’s been a long time waiting.”
Fans laughed and took photos as giant foam caricatures of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt rode bikes in circles along the parade route. They were trailed by the Geico Gecko on a Lyft scooter.
Another crowd favorite was Jeff Adams, the now-famous Nationals fan who was hit by a home run ball in game five while holding a Bud Light in each hand.
While the actual parade began at 2 p.m., people gathered at about 4 p.m. for a rally on the National Mall, where jumbotrons along Pennsylvania and Constitution avenues displayed the festivities to fans who couldn’t get close enough to the stage.
Players got emotional as they gave heartfelt speeches to the densely packed crowd.
Junior Josie Teat called herself “a total bandwagon fan” but noted the “unified” atmosphere of the parade. In a city known for its divisions, the World Series was a moment of unity as original Nationals fans and D.C. transplants alike rallied around the team.
“It’s not often that the team of the city you’re in wins the World Series,” Teat said. “We’re only at GW for four years, and I’d love to stay in D.C. after that, but I don’t know where life is going to take me. So it’s just that once in a lifetime opportunity that you can’t really miss out on.”
Yankun Zhao contributed reporting.