At home opener, Yanks hold World Series ring ceremony
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The Yankees paid final tribute to the 2009 World Series championship team with Tuesday's ring ceremony before the home opener at Yankee Stadium.
Players received the shiny rings - which feature a Yankees blue stone accented by a diamond clustered NY logo rising from a diamond-lined baseball path - on the field from manager Joe Girardi and Hall of Famers Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford.
The rings, which were made by Balfour, also feature natural-finished white gold and a depiction of Yankee Stadium on the sides, along with the words "Tradition" and "Unity." The Yankee Stadium inaugural season logo is etched on the inside.
And the name of each player is on the side, too.
"I know a lot of guys are talking about they're not going to wear it because they're too cool," Alex Rodriguez said, adding that he strongly disagreed with that attitude. " . . . I'm going to wear it. I'm going to wear it every day. Heck, if they let me wear it to third today, I'd still be trying to do that."
Andy Pettitte was the first player to run out to get his jewelry. That's because he needed to then head out to the bullpen to pitch the game, which he won, 7-5, over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
"This one is special because it was today," said Jeter, who now has five World Series rings. "I don't want to compare it. It's a great feeling. On the one hand, you're being rewarded because of what happened last year. On the other hand, you're happy that this day is over with so now we can focus on 2010."
Jeter, the Yankees' captain, was introduced right before Hideki Matsui, last year's World Series MVP. Matsui, who signed with the Angels as a free agent, jogged out of the third-base dugout wearing the red uniform of the visiting team to the loudest ovation of the day.
The ceremony was emotional because of Matsui at the end and longtime Yankee trainer Gene Monahan near the start. Monahan missed his first spring training in 48 years because of his battle with throat cancer; this was his first appearance with the club since the World Series.
Master of ceremonies John Sterling opened the event by paying tribute to Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, whom he called "the greatest owner in the history of baseball." At that point, Steinbrenner was not seen in either the owner's box or on the centerfield scoreboard.
Steinbrenner was later shown on the scoreboard before the bottom of the third inning from the owner's box as the public address system played Frank Sinatra's "My Way." Steinbrenner received a sustained ovation.
Earlier in the day, Girardi and Jeter had presented Steinbrenner with a ring. Jeter called it "an honor."
The Yankees' 2009 World Series Championship Ring
What's on top
A Yankee blue stone accented by a diamond clustered NY logo rising from a diamond-lined baseball path
In addition to the recipient's name, a rendition of Yankee Stadium along with the words "Tradition" and "Unity"
Yankee Stadium inaugural season logo can be found etched along the inside of each ring
Handcrafted from natural-finished white gold