Matsui, Yankees receive title ringsHideki Matsui opened the dark brown box with his shiny World Series ring, examined the treasure and glowed as the fans at Yankee Stadium and his former teammates surrounded him with love. Leave it to Derek Jeter to provide his own special touch.
NEW YORK (AP) — Hideki Matsui opened the dark brown box with his shiny World Series ring, examined the treasure and glowed as the fans at Yankee Stadium and his former teammates surrounded him with love.
Leave it to Derek Jeter to provide his own special touch.
Instead of the white gold original with 119 diamonds totaling 3.55 carats, the box contained a replica from an April 3 spring training promotion — something hardly more valuable than a Cracker Jack prize, courtesy of a Jeter prank.
“The first time that I realized that it was fake was when Joe Girardi brought the real ring to me,” Matsui said. “Actually, I just found out right now that Jeter was behind all of this.”
Back in the Bronx for the first time as an ex-Yankee, Matsui was the center of attention as New York celebrated its 27th World Series title before Tuesday’s 7-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
When Matsui last played here, he drove in six runs in Game 6 to finish the Phillies and was voted World Series MVP. He left the Yankees to sign with the Angels, who happened to be the opponent for New York’s home opener.
He received his ring last, feeling emotional as he emerged from the third base dugout. The Yankees who had been lined up in their proud pinstripes from first to second, stretching over a bit toward third, came in and surrounded a returning friend, not a foe. The sellout crowd of 49,293 responded with a standing ovation.
“He deserves it,” Jeter said. “He played here for seven years. He played hard. He came to work every day. He’s a favorite amongst the players.”
When Matsui batted for the first time on an 0-for-5 day, the applause was loud and lingered, causing him to step out of the batter’s box and wave his strange red helmet twice.
“I was very deeply moved,” Matsui said through a translator, even though Jeter pronounced the Japanese star’s English quite good. “It’s something I will remember forever, that moment.”
As much as Matsui was reserved, Alex Rodriguez was the most animated. He couldn’t wait to kiss his new ring, so he puckered his lips and smacked them against the wooden box before raising his prize for all to see.
“To be really honest, I was more nervous going out to receive my ring from Joe than I was all of last year during the postseason run,” he said.
Most Yankees talked about how the gaudy jewels are either for safekeeping, display or gifts to parents. No such bravado from A-Rod.
“A lot of guys are talking about they’re not going to wear it — they’re too cool,” Rodriguez said. “I’m going to wear it, and wear it every day. Heck, if they let me wear it to third, I was trying to do that.”