The thing about World Series rings is they are cool as hell. The first ones were given in 1922, and it became standard practice for teams to buy them for players starting in 1930. On a World Series broadcast earlier this week, the announcers were talking about how rare it is to get a World Series ring. They did not explain further, so I kind of rolled my eyes at this information. A team wins every year! It’s not impossible to get them! The Giants alone won three of the 10 titles available last decade. Pablo Sandoval just made history by winning his fourth. So at first I was not surprised when I read the New York Times piece yesterday claiming that no one wears their World Series rings. Maybe, I reasoned, all the players are jaded.
There’s some of that. The article concludes with the idea that for some players the real goal is the Hall-of-Fame ring. But mostly, it focuses on the fact that it is pretty uncomfortable to wear these rings because they are too damn big.
“It was a lot bigger than we expected,” said Rick Helling, a pitcher for that team who now works for the players’ association. “It was so big they actually made a smaller one that you could purchase to wear. What happened was, the owner was talking like, ‘Hey, if we win this thing, we’re going to have the best ring ever.’ So a lot of the players, like Josh Beckett and Dontrelle Willis, were like, ‘All right — you said it!’ And give him credit, he actually came through. It’s an amazing ring. When people see it, they’re like, ‘Wow!’”
Helling does not wear that ring, though, nor does he wear the much smaller ring he got for playing with the Marlins’ other title team, in 1997, even though he was traded to the Rangers that summer. It is customary, but not mandatory, to give rings to all players who appeared for a team in a championship season, though it wasn’t always that way.New York Times
I rolled my eyes at this. Drama queens. How sad that your giant beautiful rings are too shiny, or whatever. I’ve seen ring ceremonies. The rings are a little tacky, but they’re still cool, I thought. But then … I looked at some pictures of some rings.
Look at this beast that was given to the Cubs:
Here’s Clayton Kershaw with his Dodgers ring:
Here’s the Red Sox’s most recent ring:
And here are the Houston Astros:
Now, something important to remember is that these are professional baseball players. they are, generally, larger than most people. So when a ring looks big on Clayton Kershaw, it is actually giant. Look, for example, at how much space on the knuckle these rings take up on every single Astro. You can’t bend your hand wearing these! They are too big! This sucks!
In 2009, when A-Rod won the World Series with the Yankees, he bragged about his ring. “I know a lot of guys are talking about how they’re not going to wear it because they’re too cool,” Rodriguez said. “Well, I call BS on that. I’m going to wear it and wear it every day. Heck, if they let me wear it to third (Tuesday), I was trying to do that. But I think it would’ve broken the rules.” He doesn’t do this. I follow his Instagram religiously and he never wears ring!
You might think that the rings are worth so much that no one should complain. The Dodgers’ 2020 rings were priced at $35,000. And that’s for a standard ring. A player’s individual ring would certainly earn more. But that’s nothing compared to what they make in World Series bonuses. The ring, theoretically, is supposed to be something they can wear, something that they can be proud of.
I read this article yesterday and the more I thought about it overnight, the more upset I became. The rings are just like everything else. They are a competition between owners to see who can spend the most. Every ring must be filled with diamonds. It must be worth so much money. It must be gaudy in exactly the same way that everyone else’s ring is gaudy. Instead of using a local jeweler to their city and getting everyone perhaps a nice signet ring with a single gem the color of the team, they must create these monstrosities of wealth that no one can actually wear. The point of them isn’t to identify you as a World Series champion, it’s to compete with other teams.
My idea is simply this: Make the rings normal-sized. Make them the size of university rings. Make them the size of signet rings. Make them rings that people could actually wear in their day-to-day life. Wouldn’t it be nice if, a year from now, Eddie Rosario was on his way to a bowling alley (I don’t really know what baseball players do for fun) and looked down to catch a glimpse of the classy, understated World Series on his right hand? That’s my ring! he might think to himself. I got it for winning the World Series. I still love it. What a nice moment that would be, for Eddie.