WASHINGTON — Before the Washington Nationals could forge their own narrative in Game 5, they turned to one of the most storied and treasured athletes in D.C. sports history–John Riggins–for inspiration.
Prior to Thursday night’s game, the Twitter account for 106.7 The Fan put out the following tweet:
But deep in the bowels of the stadium, a Nationals’ No. 44 was making the long walk out to the playing field, with a capacity crowd looking on:
He was instructed to say something to the effect of “Let’s play ball,” but ever the ad-libber, he had his own spin on the Nats in Game 5. Here’s footage of the moment, via Carol Maloney of NBC-4:
This was all the crowd needed to get whipped into a frenzy that lasted long past first pitch.
As USA TODAY’s Gabe Lacques pointed out, Riggins knows a thing or two about clutch performances against Los Angeles in the playoffs:
If the Nationals win tonight, they would advance to the NLCS for the first time in team history, and the franchise’s first since 1981. They would also become the first D.C. sports team (MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA) to advance to the championship round of the playoffs since 1998.
The Nats would also become the first D.C. sports team (MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA) to advance to the conference championship of finals round of the playoffs since 1998 (Capitals).
There’s a lot riding on this game for D.C. sports fans and alums of all stripes.