WASHINGTON — May 23 marks the one-year anniversary of one of the greatest comeback stories in baseball history.
It was on that May afternoon that the Washington Nationals lost 6-4 to the New York Mets at Citi Field in New York, officially dropping their record to 19-31.
It was the second-worst record in the National League at the time.
The last team to start a season this bad and go on to win the World Series was the Boston “Miracle” Braves in 1914. But the Nationals turned their season around becoming the first team in Major League Baseball history to win a World Series after a 19-31 start to a season.
"I’m surprised we don’t see more 19-31 tattoos” said Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton. On May 23, the Nationals had only a 3.4 percent chance at winning the World Series, according to MLB stats. That 19-31 record was plastered everywhere on signs during their postseason run, which Eaton said was a true comeback.
"To turn it around and make the Wild Card, win the Wild Card, then make a push and win the World Series, that 19-31 was infamous for a very long time," he went on.
When the Nationals dropped to 19-31, many also questioned the leadership of Manager David Martinez.
It was on May 23 when a reporter asked Martinez about their chances of making the playoffs. Martinez responded with confidence: "We will turn this around." Martinez believes in his team and the team believed in their manager. And turn around they did.
Eaton says he couldn't pinpoint a specific moment when he realized that upward switch was happening, saying that it was a continual everyday effort from teammates and strong leadership.
"I really don’t remember the actual date we turned it around," Eaton said. "I remember our leadership. I guess that’s a credit to our leadership and making May 23 such a blur that I don’t remember.”
Bumpy roads lead to beautiful places. Well, May 23 2019 was one heck of a bumpy road that leads to one heck of a beautiful place we like to call being World Series Champs.
RELIVE THE MAGIC: Here's the best moments from the Nats victory parade
Here's that locker room celebration of when the Nats won it all: