ATLANTA — Joc Pederson’s famous pearls reappeared here Monday night for the first time this season.
In fact, it was the first time Pederson had donned the pearl necklace that became synonymous with his contributions on the Braves’ World Series run last season since leaving in free agency and signing with his hometown team. Back here for the first time since that World Series title, Pederson received a hero’s welcome while receiving a championship ring that he helped design.
“It just felt right to wear them,” Pederson said. “The whole story of why I started to wear them is because it just kind of felt right, and the Braves took it to another level, so I didn’t want to wear them until I was here.”
To a degree even more than his impactful introduction with the Giants, the team he grew up rooting for, Pederson over his two months in Atlanta endeared himself to the fan base with his exuberant, eccentric personality — no better exemplified than the jewels dangling from his neck — but more than anything, the clutch contributions for which he’s become known.
For proof, look no further than the finger bling he was presented during a pregame ceremony.
On one side of the World Series ring — which, by the way, is gargantuan compared to the Giants’ three rings from 2010, 2012 and 2014 — was an encrusted pearl, a clear nod to Pederson, whose most memorable moment likely came in the form of a walk-off home run against then-Dodger Max Scherzer in Game 2 of the NLCS. As he rounded third base, those peals hung even closer to the ground as he bent down to low-five third base coach Ron Washington.
“Joc, the style of player he is, his personality, is exactly what baseball needs,” said Giants manager Gabe Kapler, who watched the ceremony and the reception from the fans from the visitor’s dugout. “He’s a pretty engaging dude and a very, very entertaining player. It’s just not surprising at all.”
After the title, Pederson reached out to Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopolous about the design of the ring — an odd move for a player, but only fitting for someone with the swagger of Pederson — yet he promised the pearl came as a surprise.
“You see all these rings online, the NBA teams, and how creative and really cool they are,” Pederson said .”I mean, we’re in Atlanta. I just felt it needed to be something super flashy and cool. … It’s not like I had that much input – they say that – but we were in a lockout, so I told them, hey don’t mess it up, really. … I think they crushed it.”
The Braves offered to ship the ring to him, but Pederson requested the in-person ceremony instead because, he said, “it brings back more emotions.”
When he was traded here from the Cubs at midseason, he received a standing ovation in his first at-bat. A couple ushers summoned him over as he was taking fly balls for the first time, just to welcome him to Atlanta.
As he entered the ballpark Monday, Pederson was reminded again of the kinship he developed with the fans here in such a short amount of time. He was greeted so enthusiastically by security guards and stadium workers that it prompted jokes from current teammates Jake McGee and Anthony DeSclafani.
“They were like, you were here for two months, what’s the deal?” Pederson said. “I was like, I don’t know. It’s just a special spot. They were welcoming from day one, which just shows how awesome the whole experience really was.”
Although the pearl necklace Pederson wore for the World Series now rests in Cooperstown, he was rocking an identical piece from the same jeweler on Monday. He wasn’t in the starting lineup against Braves’ left-hander Max Fried, but he said he intends to wear the pearls for the rest of the four-game series.
Source: Paradise Post