When the Washington Nationals hit the diamond Friday night against the Houston Astros, it will be the first World Series game hosted in the District since 1933. And among those eager fans excited to break that almost 90-year drought is Fox News’ Bret Baier.
The evening anchor spoke with Heard on the Hill about his baseball fandom and what the team has meant to him and the city.
While Washington has a large homegrown population, many of the district’s residents come from somewhere else, which means plenty of fans had other team loyalties before switching allegiances to the Nats.
That’s certainly the case for Baier.
“I grew up in Atlanta and then when I moved to Washington I just fell in love with the Nats because it was the home team,” he says. “I think back to all those years I went to playoff games and World Series and so I remember the Braves fondly but I’m a firm Nationals fan now and have 100 percent converted.”
The Nats hold a two-games-to-none lead over the Astros and are guaranteed to host at least two games in Washington.
The anchorman attributes his conversion to several people in his life, including his late friend, conservative commentator and “diehard” Nationals fan Charles Krauthammer. Baier describes him as a “Doctorate of Nationals Baseball” who “had every number, every data point of every hitter, of every player.”
Krauthammer, who was a frequent guest on “Special Report,” would bring Baier with him to the ballpark as soon as they finished shooting. And the two would talk baseball for hours with other friends, including columnist George Will.
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) June 21, 2018
But even more than friendship, attending games and rooting for the Nats gave Baier a way to bond with his two children, now ages 12 and 9.
“I had kids and I thought the kids have to have a home team,” he said.
Though he’s currently on the road promoting his new book, “Three Days at the Brink: FDR’s Daring Gamble to Win World War II,” Baier said he looks forward to taking his children to their first World Series game to witness history Saturday night.
Success is good at creating a fanbase but what really bonds a city is heartbreak (as a Braves, Falcons and Georgia Bulldogs fan, this HOH author would know). Despite being less than 20 years old as a Washington franchise the Nationals know their fair share of grief.
Fans have started year after year with high expectations for talented rosters only to witness postseason collapse, including a devastating ninth-inning meltdown in Game 5 of the 2012 divisional series.
But this year’s team, which started 19-31, entered the playoffs essentially playing with house money. And what does Baier attribute to this year’s magical October run? Is it “Baby Shark”?
“I think these guys are just gritty,” says Baier. “They’re the team that could be down late and you can’t count them out. And you know, everybody loves a comeback kid. And that’s what they are. They have a great story this season and it’ll be a fairy tale, amazing story if two games come to pass.”