Formal presentation before April 11 game

Updated: February 24, 2005, 11:08 AM ET
Associated Press

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Boston Red Sox will get their World Series rings at their home opener April 11 before a full house of 35,000 fans -- and the New York Yankees.

Kevin Millar
I do ... take that Red Sox World Series ring.

The jewelry symbolizing the team's first championship in 86 years will be handed out in a pregame ceremony at Fenway Park.

"I'm sure I'm not going to help them hand them out," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said to laughter at New York's camp in Tampa. "But they deserve it. I'm sure they've been looking forward to this for a long time. So let them do it."

Boston became the first major league team to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a postseason series, doing it against their biggest rival in the AL Championship Series last October. The Red Sox then swept St. Louis in the World Series.

"This is the kind of quality problem I hope we're going to be able to have with some frequency," Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said, "sit around at spring training and decide just when, oh when, do we give out the World Series championship rings."

Exes Not Forgotten
Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino told the New York Daily News that players no longer with the team, including Pedro Martinez and Doug Mientkiewicz, will get their rings in a "meaningful way."

"It might not be possible to distribute them in person to all the people who played for us last year and aren't here this year," Lucchino told the Daily News. "We're going to make an effort to provide for some kind of personal distribution to them, maybe when their teams come in, maybe when we're traveling."

Mientkiewicz told the paper his agent had been contacted for the first baseman's ring size.

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner had no complaints about the ceremony being held while New York is at Fenway Park.

"The Red Sox won their rings. They earned them," he said in a statement. "They have the right to pick the date at which they present them, and it's not a personal affront to our players."

To accommodate fans who didn't get tickets to Opening Day, the rings will be displayed at a welcome-home dinner attended by players that same night and at a display on the Fenway Park field along with the World Series trophy and the ball Doug Mientkiewicz caught for the last out of the Series.

Admission, perhaps $5, will be charged for the display, which probably will be held on April 12, an off day. Proceeds will go to the Red Sox Foundation.

"Even though the fans are not getting it, they have to feel like they're receiving one because they all deserve it," David Ortiz said. "They supported us a lot through the years."

Lucchino expects the final ring design to be revealed this week. Players began getting their fingers measured Tuesday.

Center fielder Johnny Damon already has a new ring. He was married late last year and made his wedding band flashier so it wouldn't get lost in the glare of the championship ring.

"The only reason why I put some bling on my wedding ring was because I knew I was going to have that nice ring," Damon said. "I was just going to go with a tattoo or even just a little band."

Every player who played for the Red Sox last year will get a ring. Lucchino estimated that several hundred would be awarded to managers, coaches, scouts and other employees.

"They won," Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina said. "They can do whatever they want. Hand out 5,000 rings if they want to."

Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, Nomar Garciaparra and other players who left the team after playing for Boston in 2004 also will get rings. Lucchino would like them to receive it directly from a member of the organization rather than have it sent to them.

New York manager Joe Torre won't be bothered if he watches the ceremony.

"If we're normally in the dugout at the time they plan to do this, we're not going to not be in the dugout," he said. "We're not going to arrange, or rearrange, our routine to either be there or not be there."

Ortiz said the Yankees, winners of 26 championships, might even enjoy the ceremony.

"They know how the feeling is," he said.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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