Jose Iglesias became an instant fan favorite — especially among those Cincinnati Reds fans who are learning to walk or just starting preschool — by walking to the plate Thursday on Opening Day to the tune of “Baby Shark.”
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For those fans who don’t have young kids or who have somehow managed to avoid the ubiquitous children’s song, here’s how it starts:
“Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo.”
That’s how the song continues, too, until Mommy Shark, Daddy Shark, Grandpa Shark and Grandma Shark show up for the hunting trip. It’s a song the new Reds shortstop knows well.
“My older son, Jose Jr., he’s 8 years old,” Iglesias said Saturday. “That’s literally his favorite song. He plays it all the time. He starts screaming every time he calls me on Facetime, singing it to me. I did it for him.”
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Another new Red, right fielder Yasiel Puig, walked by Iglesias in the clubhouse as he explained why he picked the song.
“That song was playing, and he got two doubles,” Puig said.
Indeed, Iglesias went 2-for-3 and drove in the first run of the season in the second inning in a 5-3 victory against the Pirates.
However that’s not why he plans to stick with “Baby Shark.” He will keep the song because it reminds him of his family. He shared a photo on Twitter of Jose Jr. to explain why he picked a song about a family of hungry sharks. His oldest son is a player now himself, though he plays soccer as well as baseball.
“I really love for him that age to play every sport he wants to,” Iglesias said. “He’s not forced to do anything. Just to be outdoors and do outdoor activities is very healthy for him.”
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Iglesias and his wife Arlene also have a son named Alvaro, who will turn 2 in September, and are expecting a daughter this summer.
“I’m very proud to be a father,” Iglesias said. “I love my kids. I love my family. I bring that with me all the time.”
While his unique song choice may have endeared him to fans in the first game, it was the sight of Iglesias racing into second and exploding with excitement in the second inning after his RBI double that may stick with fans longer. It was a big moment for him and the Reds, who were shut out on Opening Day a year earlier, losing 2-0 to the Washington Nationals.
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“The energy was really cool,” Iglesias said. “The stadium got me going. I was very happy to get that run in.”
Iglesias was the second batter in the four-run seventh inning. Jose Peraza led off the inning with a game-tying home run. Tucker Barnhart followed with a walk, and then Iglesias doubled. The next batter, Derek Dietrich, hit a tie-breaking three-run home run.
“It was a great game all around,” Iglesias said. “(Luis) Castillo did an amazing job for us (on the mound). The whole team stuck together. Dietrich came through off the bench and had that huge at-bat, and I was able to put a good swing on it before that and set the table. It was a great overall game, and that’s what you’re going to see from us: high energy, quality at-bats and quality team work.”
Pirates at Reds, 1:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410