The Ring Is The Thing

phila_rings.jpgToday is the day that the Philadelphia Phillies get their World Series rings. And to every player, broadcaster and front office person, getting a championship ring is the be-all and end-all of working in professional baseball.

I heard an opinion on one of the Philadelphia-area sports talk shows this morning that really turned my stomach… that many people that work for a team don’t deserve a championship ring. I have two words for that- BULL CRAP.

People that work in the front office of pro sports teams work as hard as the players to do their jobs… selling tickets, promotions, PR, etc. They work for the team and are a part of the team. So to everyone in Philadelphia today, enjoy the day.

I had the pleasure (and sometimes aggrevation) of broadcasting over 1,900 games in the Minor Leagues over 13 years, going to towns like Fayetteville, NC to Columbus, GA to Erie, PA to Portland, ME. And when I was on hand to broadcast the final out for the Trenton Thunder’s Eastern League Championship in 2007, I was so relieved that my run in the Minors finally ended with a ring.

Even though I don’t wear it every day, I look at the ringbox every day and think back to that final out at Akron’s Canal Park and the celebration that ensued down in the locker room. 

I thought back to all of the late-night bus trips and meals at Waffle House or some other fast food joint. I thought of a trip to Delmarva in the South Atlantic League where our bus blew its engine just a few feet from the base of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge… in a driving rainstorm. Or the night that one of the concessions stands caught on fire in Fayetteville… during a game. or the two “fog-outs” I have gone throught (one in Augusta, GA, one in Connecticut). These were just some of the many things that came to mind.

Broadcasters are the rare member of a baseball team that cover both ends of the spectrum. You travel with the team and you get to know the players, but you also work with the Front Office. But when that final out was recorded, all I could think of was sharing the fruits of an incredible year with the coaches, players and even our bus driver.

And so for the fans of Philadelphia, watching those 25 grown men become little boys for a few moments. Today is baseball nirvana to a player. It doesn’t come around very often, so drink it in and enjoy.

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