April 10, 2020

What We Learned About Nats Pitcher Sean Doolittle

By Victoria Chamberlin

In an attempt to ease the pain of missing opening day at Nats Park post their championship win, Nats pitcher Sean Doolittle joined the show to answer the burning questions of his youngest fans—kids in the Washington region.

For the first ever Kojo for Kids segment, questioning was led almost entirely by the children who called into the show, only lightly guided by our host, Kojo Nnamdi (someone has to keep us to time!). Here are three things we learned about this hometown hero from the skilled interviewing of young fans.

Sean Doolittle Hasn’t Read Harry Potter—But He’s a Weasley

Natalie and Genevieve Martin called in from Northwest Washington seeking very specific information, but first asked if Doolittle is a Harry Potter Fan.

“You know what? I have never seen any of the movies or read any of the books. But my wife got me the book set for Christmas this year, and I accidentally forgot to pack it when we went down to spring training. So, I haven’t started it yet. Do you like it? Do you think I should start reading it?”

The girls replied with an enthusiastic “YES,” and then inquired as to which member of the Weasley Family he would choose, since Doolittle also shares the family’s “flaming red hair” as described in the book.

The Martin sisters described each Weasley in great detail, and Doolittle made his pick. “The one who works with dragons sounds pretty cool.”

Nats pitcher Sean Doolittle at the World Series victory parade in Washington, D.C. Victoria Chamberlin / Flickr

Family Is Really Important To Him

Nick in Silver Spring, MD asked why Doolittle chose his jersey number. His number was originally 62, and he changed it to 63 to honor his grandparents who were married for 63 years.

“My grandmother, unfortunately, passed away during spring training. And it was a way for me to honor them and all of the support that they had given me throughout my baseball career. They watched me grow up playing baseball, and they were always so supportive. It was a way for me to honor them, to say thank you, and to keep them with me while I was on the field.”

Courtesy of The Washington Nationals

Doolittle’s Dad Tried But Failed To Make Him An Orioles Fan

Seven-year-old John Robert from Washington, D.C. asked who Doolittle’s favorite baseball players were growing up. Being the son of a Marylander, he said it was a tie between Cal Ripken, Jr. and Ken Griffey, Jr.

“My dad grew up — he was from the Annapolis area in Maryland, so he tried to make us Orioles fans. And even though that didn’t stick, Cal Ripken was definitely one of our favorite players.”

Doolittle even wore a number 8 on his jersey in Little League as a shortstop in honor of Griffey, “Just because of how cool he was,” he said. Doolittle and his brother would pretend to be their favorite players while they hit wiffle balls in the backyard.

You can listen to the full interview here. Believe us, it’s worth it.