The Washington Nationals will finally get their jewelry.
Nearly two months after Washington was originally scheduled to celebrate the franchise’s first-ever World Series championship with a ring ceremony at Nationals Park, the team will now hold a virtual ring ceremony on Sunday, May 24.
The ceremony will be broadcast live on MLB Network and locally on MASN beginning at 7 p.m. ET. Fans can also watch a live stream on nationals.com.
According to The Athletic’s Britanny Ghiroli, the championship rings have already been mailed out to members of the 2019 team. They will be opened and unveiled to the world during Sunday's ceremony.
The news was well received by manager Dave Martinez and franchise stalwart Ryan Zimmerman.
"For me, it’s going to be a very epic, very emotional moment." - Dave Martinez on #Nationals virtual ring ceremony— Jessica Camerato (@JessicaCamerato) May 19, 2020
Ryan Zimmerman is looking forward to seeing the #Nationals rings: "I think it’s what you play for. Individual accomplishments are great. Statistics are awesome. But at the end of the day, anyone will tell you that they’d trade all that to win a World Series."— Jessica Camerato (@JessicaCamerato) May 19, 2020
Why May 24 is the perfect date
As keen baseball observers will point out, May 24 has special meaning to the 2019 Nationals. It will mark the one-year anniversary of the beginning of their remarkable turnaround.
Entering that date, the Nationals were 19-31 and seemingly out of contention. The biggest question at that point was whether Martinez would last the entire season as manager.
After rallying from a four-run deficit to defeat the Miami Marlins 12-10, the Nationals went on to win nine of their next 11 games. Over their final 112 games, they posted a league-best 74-28 record to finish 93-69 and win the top NL wild card.
The Nationals’ determination carried over into October, where they won five elimination games. That included Games 6 and 7 of the World Series in Houston.
If that comeback on May 24 doesn’t happen, who knows which direction the Nationals season would have gone or how differently baseball history would have been written.
Championship banner plans unchanged
While the Nationals have decided to hold their championship ring ceremony before returning to the field, the raising of the championship banner is a different story.
General manager Mike Rizzo revealed in April that the team will not raise the championship banner at Nationals Park until fans are back in the stands. Rizzo said the team would wait as long as it takes to make sure the fans were part of that moment. Those plans have not changed.
Unfortunately, the possibility exists that fans will not be allowed into the ballpark even if the 2020 season is played. That Nationals celebration could be on hold until opening day 2021.
Nationals fans will probably agree that would be better late than never. And even though they won’t be there to share in the excitement in person, the virtual ring ceremony will allow them to experience something far more intimate than a traditional sports ring ceremony.
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