The only thing missing was David Ross actually dancing to the mound before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of all ceremonial first pitches Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
“I thought about doing a little kick ball change on the way out there,” said Ross, the former backup catcher who has done anything but retire since “retiring” after last fall’s World Series.
As the current big shot from Dancing with the Stars talked during Wednesday’s 2-0 loss to the Dodgers, his enormous World Series ring sparkled from his right hand, 108 diamonds strong – and much bigger than the 2013 ring he won with the Red Sox.
Like Monday’s walk-off victory over the Dodgers, this game served as the compulsory event that followed a ceremony that upstaged any game the Cubs could play in April.
“It’s unbelievable. It exceeded expectations,” leadoff hitter Kyle Schwarber said of the ring.
Manager Joe Maddon called the design – which features a goat image on the inside of the band – “tasty.”
“In spite of being grande, very tasty,” he said.
GalleryTwenty fans serving as ring bearers for the players, with the baseball commissioner watching from near the on-field ceremony, made history in staging the first championship ring ceremony in Cubs history – the Cubs’ last championship in 1908 far predating the tradition of rings.
“Additionally, it’s the most anticipated championship ring in the history of American sports,” said Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper, the emcee for the event – which, in a fitting move, included rings presented to Cubs Hall of Famers Fergie Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg and Billy Williams.
“It’s heavy, man,” said Wednesday’s starter John Lackey, who won rings with the Angels in 2002 and the Red Sox in 2013. “I’ve been fortunate to have a couple more, but this is the next level for sure.
“I think the whole team like we want to say thanks to the Ricketts family,” said Lackey, who gave up a homer to Andrew Toles leading off the game but pitched around enough traffic early to survive six innings allowing only the one run.
“It’s pretty sick,” he said of the ring.
Since their dramatic Game 7 victory in the World Series, the Cubs have partied, made the late-night talk circuit, twerked on Saturday Night Live, been subjects of books and documentaries, in one case gone backstage at the Grammys (Anthony Rizzo), in another, had a street named after him in Chicago (Javy Baez) and now, twice, held championship pregame ceremonies before their first two home games of the season.
“You should take the time to celebrate achievement,” manager Joe Maddon said. “You should not worry about what other people are thinking if it doesn’t work out well. And our guys do not do that. I like our approach.”
The Cubs won five of their first seven games before Wednesday’s loss.
“The celebration’s over,” Lackey said. “Now it’s time to start working on another one.”
The Dodgers added an unearned run in the ninth when catcher Willson Contreras picked up a dropped third strike and threw it past first base for a two-out error.
Reliever Hector Rondon banged his left knee covering the plate on the play and left the game. He is to be evaluated again Thursday morning, possibly getting an MRI at that point. He said he heard a “pop” when he turned toward the sliding runner but said it felt much better after the game and seemed optimistic about Thursday.
He said he thought having his new ring would make it feel even better.
“Kudos to the people, who came up with the design,” said Schwarber, who laughed when asked about the goat image. “I guess the curse is gone now, so it’s just a good little complement to the ring.”
No matter what anybody else says, Miguel Montero plans to wears his.
Otherwise, he said, “It’s like buying a Ferrari and putting it in the garage. You want to drive it. You want to show it off.”
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