It seems that local sports fans are losing one of their favorite stars. Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle has released a message of gratitude to the Washington community that appears to signal his departure.
The left-handed reliever is set to become an unrestricted free agent, and while his plans for next season aren’t finalized, the message strongly suggests he won’t be returning to Washington.
“I don’t know where this game will take us next,” Doolittle wrote in a note posted to Twitter (via Russian Machine Never Breaks), “but I’m so grateful for the time I had with the Nationals organization and the fans here in Washington. It was a privilege to wear the curly W and play for you at Nats Park. Baseball is a small world, so I look forward to our paths crossing again soon. Thank you for everything.”
In his note, Doolittle expressed appreciation for the region and its residents. “I’m well aware that I’m weird, a bit of an acquired taste – not for everyone,” he wrote. “But you immediately welcomed my wife and me into your community. You made us feel very much at home here in the DC-Metro area.”
Doolittle’s wife, Eireann Dolan—also a popular local figure—followed with a thank you note of her own. “We love you, DC,” she wrote on Twitter (via Russian Machine Never Breaks). “We love your free museums, your Ben’s Chili Bowls, your indie bookstores, your weird traffic circles, your energy at Nationals Park, and your kindness as you welcomed us and made us feel right at home.”
Though he performed poorly and got injured during the covid-shortened 2020 season, Doolittle was a key part of the Nationals 2019 World Series championship team. He was also well known as a Star Wars fanatic, and he played his college ball locally, at the University of Virginia.
Doolittle and Dolan are also, as the the Washington Post put it, perhaps Major League Baseball’s most woke couple. They have been active in issues including LGBTQ rights, improved health care for veterans, and Syrian refugees.
After the 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville triggered widespread violence and one death, Doolittle took to Twitter: “This kind of hatred was never gone, but now it’s been normalized. They didn’t even wear hoods. It’s on us to condemn it and drive it out.”