Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Gaudin, Ramirez get World Series rings
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Before the New York Yankees could fully begin their on-field pregame routine Tuesday night, manager Joe Girardi had some important business to handle.
He called over Oakland Athletics pitchers Chad Gaudin and Edwar Ramirez, both of whom sported pinstripes last season, for a makeshift ring ceremony in the middle of New York's stretch session just outside the dugout.
They each slipped on their World Series champion hardware -- white gold encrusted with 119 diamonds totaling 3.55 carats -- for everybody else to see. Ramirez kissed his ring.
Gaudin couldn't stop looking at the sparkler on his right ring finger, and his hand was visibly shaking as he discussed the ring's meaning.
"It's unbelievable, it really is," Gaudin said. "It definitely is shiny. It's hard to take your eyes off it. It's gorgeous. Through all the trials and tribulations, you look at this and know all the hard work pays off."
Ramirez, the only major leaguer from his tiny hometown of El Cercado in the Dominican Republic, beamed as his former teammates patted him on the head and yelled "Atta boy!"
"Hey, we gotta stretch!" Yankees pitcher Chan Ho Park yelled repeatedly, laughing all the while.
Girardi asked A's manager Bob Geren for permission to bring the two pitchers over for the impromptu presentation. Each joined the Oakland organization late in spring training, Gaudin for a second stint with the club.
For a few minutes, though, they were Yankees again -- goofing around with their old teammates. There were hugs and handshakes coming from every which way for these two.
"It couldn't have been any better," Gaudin said of the moment. "From the time I stepped on board with those guys until the time I left, it was first class."
Ramirez spent the 2007-09 seasons in the Bronx, pitching in 20 games last season after contributing 63 strikeouts in 55 1/3 innings of relief the year before.
"It's important for me, my family and my country, but it's most important for my hometown where I was born," he said.
Former Yankee Hideki Matsui, now with the Los Angeles Angels, received his ring during a ceremony last week at Yankee Stadium.
But the slugger was initially given a replica version from a spring training promotion thanks to a joke pulled by Derek Jeter. Matsui opened the dark brown box with his ring, checked it out and was thrilled -- not knowing the difference.
"He got a fake one," Gaudin said, examining his and knowing it was the real deal. "I was a little nervous. Any time you put this on your finger, you shake. I'm not sure I'm going to wear it."