SAN FRANCISCO -- For a franchise that hadn't won a World Series since 1954, the Giants handled Saturday night's World Series ring ceremony with grace and class.And though that stretch encompassed the team's entire 53-season San Francisco history, the rings themselves appeared more than worth the wait. Though players had longed for this day for months, many of them still seemed overwhelmed when it arrived.
"I really couldn't believe it," said right-hander Sergio Romo, who was among the giddy Giants.Designed and produced by Tiffany & Co., the rings consist primarily of white gold, as well as 77 diamonds weighing slightly less than one carat. The top of each ring shows the familiar interlocking "SF" logo -- "set with round diamonds encircled by a bezel of yellow gold, flanked by two round diamonds," as described by a club news release. One side of the ring displays a yellow gold tower of the Golden Gate Bridge, symbolizing the city of San Francisco. The other side bears the recipient's name in a ribbon over a likeness of the World Series trophy. Embedded in the top of the trophy is a mandarin orange spessarite representing San Francisco's championship; five diamonds at the trophy's base reflect the titles the franchise won in New York. The ceremony was as star-studded (diamond-studded?) as it was emotional, and may have been more ornate than the rings. A succession of nine police officers on motorcycles and four mounted officers led three vintage automobiles, in which rode tuxedoed ring bearers, along the warning track from the left-field corner to behind home plate. The bearers carried the rings, encased in black boxes, on silver platters to a table on the third-base line. Each box bore the Giants' world championship logo and "November 1, 2010" -- the date of the Game 5 World Series clincher at Texas -- in gold lettering. Managing general partner Bill Neukom and president Larry Baer, also decked in tuxedoes, distributed the rings while standing near the home-plate circle. The first member of the Giants to receive his ring was clubhouse manager Mike Murphy, who has worked for the organization since its inaugural 1958 season in San Francisco. He was followed by general manager Brian Sabean and Bochy, who congratulated each player along with Neukom and Baer. Players, who had eagerly awaited this day since the moment Brian Wilson fanned Nelson Cruz for the final out of the Series, then took their turns in numerical jersey order. Those jerseys bore gold lettering, as did the Giants' caps, for this special evening. Fans chanted Cody Ross' first name when the Most Valuable Player of the National League Championship Series emerged from the dugout. Buster Posey was greeted by thunderous cheers. So was Tim Lincecum, who laughed at himself as he briefly stumbled on the orange-colored plastic pathway that led players to Neukom, Baer, Sabean and Bochy. The Giants' joy was evident.
"Once you get called out, you definitely get the emotions going," right-hander Matt Cain said. "There had to be a couple of tears that got to the edge of the eyelid and pushed back."For months, players had mentioned that the World Series triumph wasn't fully entrenched in their psyches. As the ceremony elapsed, the victory became more real. "I think it finally settled in to go out there, receive the rings and hug Neukom, Sabean, Larry Baer, Boch and those guys," Cain said. "It was pretty awesome to be able to do that." First baseman Travis Ishikawa, who cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Fresno, was present, having been granted permission not to report to the Minors until after the ceremony. "Obviously, I had it pictured in my head a lot differently a week ago. But it's still an honor to be here," said Ishikawa, who spent the entire 2009-10 seasons with San Francisco before being among the final players cut. "I really appreciate them trying to push me back a few days so I could be here tonight." Though the current Giants were the featured recipients, four of the team's six living Hall of Famers -- Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda and Gaylord Perry -- also were given rings. As co-master of ceremonies Duane Kuiper said, they "serve as shining examples of what it means to be a Giant." Fellow Hall of Famers Juan Marichal and Monte Irvin could not be present but will receive rings at a later date. Giants players then brandished their rings as they posed for a group photo in the area of the third-base coaches' box. Just when further pomp and circumstance didn't seem possible, four men representing each Bay Area professional team that had won a title suddenly appeared to throw ceremonial first pitches: Al Attles for the Golden State Warriors, Jim Otto for the Oakland Raiders, Steve Young for the San Francisco 49ers and Reggie Jackson for the Oakland A's. They were joined by Lincecum, voted Most Valuable Player of the 2010 postseason by the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.