It sounded like a good idea at first. But now the Washington Nationals have had second thoughts about their virtual World Series ring ceremony.
On Saturday, the team announced it has canceled the first-of-its-kind ceremony after the players collectively expressed their preference to wait until the team could be reunited.
The Nationals were originally scheduled to receive their World Series rings before their second home game of the season. That, along with everything else regarding the 2020 season, changed when the coronavirus pandemic forced Major League Baseball to suspend the season. The virtual ceremony was scheduled to take place on May 24.
Here is the club's official statement.
A statement from the Washington Nationals. pic.twitter.com/XVfWB2Ufob
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 23, 2020
Why the players were not consulted before the announcement was made is anybody’s guess. But here we are.
As noted in the statement, the team selected May 24 due to its special meaning to the 2019 Nationals team. It marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of their remarkable turnaround.
Entering that date, the Nationals were 19-31 and seemingly out of contention. They 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 spot.
The rest was history.
The Nationals will still unveil the World Series ring design Sunday night. The club will also hold the Nats4Good fundraiser as scheduled. So fans still have something to look forward to.
Nothing has changed regarding the Nationals championship banner ceremony. 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.
The question now is when will that be possible. Even if an 82-game regular season is played, the possibility exists that fans will not be allowed into the ballpark at any point during the 2020 season. The banner-raising ceremony might have to wait until opening day 2021. The ring ceremony could happen the first week of July, but that will be contingent on MLB and the MLBPA reaching an agreement.
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