Sean Doolittle was just like all of us on Friday.
The World Series-winning reliever saw the NHL’s first day of free agency unfold and noticed that his friend Braden Holtby, the Capitals’ best goaltender in franchise history, signed a free-agent contract with the Vancouver Canucks. Doolittle took to Twitter to say goodbye and thank Holtby for his work in DC.
“Yoooo shout out to the legend @Holts170!” Doolittle wrote. “For everything you did for DC – both on and off the ice – it was awesome to watch you work and share the District with you for a few years. Congrats on a great run with the Caps and good luck with the Canucks!”
The 34-year-old Doolittle also recently authored a goodbye note of his own after four seasons in the district. Doolittle is an unrestricted free agent this winter and unlikely to return to the Nationals.
“I had no idea what to expect when I got traded to the Nats in July 2017,” Doolittle wrote of his trade from the Oakland Athletics. “I was so nervous. I’d been to DC a few times but my nerd ass never made it past the free museums. Little did I know that a little over 2 years later I’d ride by them on top of a double decker bus in a World Series parade.”
He added, “I’m well aware that I’m weird, a bit of an acquired taste – not for everyone. 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. DC will always hold a special place in our hearts.”
The Doolittles and Holtbys became fast friends after both of their teams became world champions in their respective sports, one year apart. The Capitals celebrated the Stanley Cup during a Nationals game while the Nats returned the favor with the Commissioner’s Trophy in November 2019. Both teams celebrated hard.
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During the MLB and NHL shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Doolittles and Holtbys had even more synergy, publicly sharing their book lists to help fans pass the time during quarantine and donating tens of thousands of meals to DC charities. Doolittle even asked if Holtby could help him get ready for the new season.
Hey @bbholtby please tell Braden that if he wants to put the pads on, I can throw baseballs at him. That way we both get some practice. 🤷🏼♂️⚾️🥅
— Obi-Sean Kenobi Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) March 19, 2020
Brandi Holtby thought Braden would be open to the idea because he was running out puzzles to complete.
Not a bad idea… he’s two puzzles down and we only have one more in the house 🧩🙈
— Brandi Holtby (@bbholtby) March 19, 2020
Brandi and Eireann Dolan, Doolittle’s wife, also teased a potential pet meetup between their pets. The Holtbys have two tortoises.
It’s my birthday on Tuesday. Maybe I should celebrate the same with our tortoises. 🎈🐢🐢
— Brandi Holtby (@bbholtby) March 16, 2020
With both players leaving, many DC Sports fans see this as an end of an era. Holtby and Doolittle were both activists who believed in equality and tried to help the most vulnerable in the area. Both players skipped their respective championship celebrations at the White House and both generously donated their time, resources, and voice to try and help others.
Sean and Braden, you will both be missed.
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