The Nationals Hit Home Runs on the Field and on Twitter

The Nationals Hit Home Runs on the Field and on Twitter

If you didn’t already know, Scraawl is based in the DC metropolitan area which means a lot of things for us. Sometimes police barricades will escort dignitaries on our highways, really slowing down traffic during our morning commutes. Sometimes we get questions like, is DC like the Netflix show House of Cards? The answer: yes and no, but we really can’t say reveal our sources. And lastly, being in this area means getting the pick of DC sports teams.

Regardless of who you root for in baseball, you have to admit, no matter how begrudgingly, that four home runs in a row is a phenomenal streak. And that’s exactly what the Nationals did last week in a match against the Brewers.

We checked in on Twitter to see how fans and foes reacted to the legendary game.

Searching for the hits

Because the Nationals are a popular franchise, running a generic search on the term “Nationals” in the past thirty-days produced over 500,000 tweets. We then narrowed our query using a combination of keywords, emojis, and geo-coordinates.

Running a Premium Search with the search terms (Nats OR Nationals home run OR Home Run OR ⚾), we then zeroed in on the 25 mile radius surrounding D.C.

Geo Fence DC
Geo-fencing the DC area. (Source: Scraawl)

We also set the dates to July 27th to the 28th because we wanted to see the reactions from fans as it happened. Here were the results for Basic Statistics with 214 posts collected:


The top words surprisingly did not include the terms “home” or “run.” Though the @Nationals were, of course, a top mention in the tweets. But we were surprised when we went to parse through the data set to find a couple of tweets talking about a… pigeon?

Luck be a pigeon tonight?

Investigating further, we ran another search, this time taking away the geo-fence around DC, but still including the same time frame and search query. The only addition we had was the term “pigeon.”

What we found made us chuckle.

As it would turn out many fans considered the record-breaking home runs to be the result of a pigeon resting near home plate. Our search query brought in 220 posts about the phenomenon. Top mentions included accounts like @barstoolsports, @csnhayes, and @clintonyates.

With our interest piqued, we went to Raw Data. There we saw golden tweets like this one from the second top mentioned account:

And this whole thread from the third top mentioned account:

Or this one, with the perfect reaction gif:

Sports lore and social media

Baseball is a notoriously superstitious sport, e.g. the Chicago Cub’s billy goat curse and the Red Sox’s Curse of the Bambino. In a sport filed with myths and legends, a magical pigeon does not seem that far away from a cursed goat.

We shot a question to the man who stirred the pot and gave us that aforementioned thread, Clinton Yates. Turns out, he doesn’t actually think that highly of sports mythology.

It seems like the Nationals have run with it any way. They even put Rufus as their Twitter account’s cover photo. 

As the Nationals are a newer team they lack the same storied history, full of curses and myths, that older franchises possess. But now with the help of Rally Rufus and the power of social media, the Nationals may finally have their own bit of sports lore. Whether or not it actually affects their chances of getting to the World Series is another question.

Never change, DC.


Check out our most recent blog: Do Social Media Sweepstakes Really Work?


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