- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 24, 2019

Before a packed house at Minute Maid Park, the Houston Texans’ J.J. Watt — one of the most popular athletes in Texas — donned a Jose Altuve jersey and stoked the home crowd to cheer on the Astros. The team even roped in Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, who did a spectacular backflip before throwing out the first pitch in Game 2.

A tough act to follow, but the biggest names in Washington sports, like their counterparts in Houston, are rallying behind their baseball team as the Fall Classic shifts to the District for Game 3 on Friday night.

The Nationals are being showered with shoutouts and well-wishes from the Redskins, the Wizards and the rest of the franchises in town as the city is two World Series wins away from shaking off for good the idea that Washington teams are cursed — a meme that began falling apart when the Capitals won the Stanley Cup in 2018.

“That kind of city camaraderie, whether it’s the fans supporting or whether it’s other athletes, I think it all means a lot, especially when it gets down toward the end of things,” Capitals defenseman John Carlson said. “You need all the support you can get. I think it’s a special team over there. I know a couple of them. Just thrilled for them. They battled back all year.”

The Capitals won’t be in attendance for any of the home games this weekend as they’re on a road trip in Canada. But that hasn’t stopped them from vocalizing their support.

The NHL team awards a Nationals batting helmet to recognize a standout performer after every game. Star Alex Ovechkin, too, tossed out the first pitch earlier this postseason.

Another Washington champion, WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne, threw out the first pitch in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series earlier this month.

This week, across social media, the Redskins, Capitals and Wizards have all sent supportive messages wishing the Nationals good luck at the start of the World Series. The Redskins even made a video featuring eight different players — including running back Derrius Guice and safety Landon Collins — rooting the Nationals on.

“Shout out to the Nats,” Guice said. “Best baseball team in the country.”
Since taking over as interim coach earlier this month, Bill Callahan has opened two of his press conferences to talk at length about the Nationals. First, he congratulated them on advancing past the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series. He highlighted the coaching job of manager Dave Martinez, adding he loves baseball.

Then when the Nationals swept the St.Louis Cardinals in the NLCS, Callahan again congratulated the team — noting the son of Redskins director of football operations Paul Kelly is a batboy for the Nationals. “it was great to see him on the tube last night celebrating,” Callahan said.

It is unknown how many Redskins plan to attend the games this weekend. They return from Minnesota on Friday, so some players should be available to go.

Redskins cornerback Josh Norman arrived to U.S. Bank Stadium in a customized Nationals’ jersey.

On Twitter, Guice tweeted Thursday “Yessir go @Nationals” when a fan asked him if he’d be at Nationals Park this weekend. He also followed it up by asking, “Where them Astros fans that was talking that smack?”

Hours later, Guice also tweeted: “Who got some Nationals tickets? Asking for a friend.”

If the 22-year-old does intend to buy tickets, good luck. According to StubHub, the average price of tickets sold on the secondary market for Game 3 has been $1,286.

As for the Wizards, they’re on the road. They play in San Antonio on Saturday. But the team’s social media account tweeted after the Nationals won Games 1 and 2, including GIFs of Sean Doolittle and Juan Soto celebrating.

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