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From the horse’s mouth: Did you say the duality of franchise history?

Let us never forget the corniness of the Washington Nationals

Detroit Tigers v Houston Astros, Washington Nationals
Can’t be defending champs if there’s no season

You probably don’t remember all that much about the Phillies’ championship rings from the 2008 season. They weren’t overly flashy, but certainly got the point across:

In honor of winning the 2019 (and last ever?) World Series, the Washington Nationals will also be giving out celebratory rings to members of the team. Each ring will have 108 diamonds on it, and you might be wondering how they came up with that particular number. Fortunately, there’s a readily available explanation:

That’s right - they added two extra diamonds as a nod to the duality of the franchise’s history.

I assume its a reference to the fact that Washington stole the Expos from Montreal the Nationals used to be the Montreal Expos, but really? A nod to the duality of franchise history? The Nats have always been a bit corny, but it’s hard for me to believe that they allowed that phrase to make it past a brainstorming session. My guess is that somebody slipped it in near the end of a Zoom meeting when everyone had already basically tuned out or gotten distracted by their dog or something.

Oh, but that’s not all the creative math the Nationals used when designing this baby. Here’s the official release tweet about it:

30 rubies in honor of 30 runs scored in the World Series? Sure, whatever. But 32 sapphires to celebrate 7 walk off wins + 13 shutout wins + 8 game winning streak + 4 postseason rounds won? Guys, it’s okay to just say: This is how many jewels it took to make this thing. You don’t have to go out of your way to ascribe meaning to every number.

They also included a MMVI to represent that the Lerner family bought the team in 2006. Seems kind of self-indulgent on the owner’s part, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t it have meant more to celebrate the year prior when the team was stolen from Montreal first moved to the city? Doesn’t that year mean a little more to people than the year the team was purchased?

And to top it off, they put a picture of Baby Shark on the ring. Remember the good old days when renaming the stadium “Natitude Park” was the lamest thing that franchise ever did?

Random Phillies thing I found on YouTube

After the MLB players’ strike of 1994-1995 ended, there was an effort to get back in the good graces of disgruntled fans. ESPN tried to lure viewers to its Opening Day broadcast using an unconventional approach:

I wonder how many takes were required for Kruk to appear the appropriate level of “seductive?”

I also wonder if they’ll do something similar in 2021 if the players and owners can’t come to an agreement on how much everyone’s going to get paid in 2020.

Phormer Phillie file: Buster Adams

The Phillies’ history also features a bit of “duality” in that the franchise once had a different name. Actually, the franchise has had 2.5 names: They began existence as the Quakers, changed to the Phillies, and then for a couple seasons in the 1940’s, unofficially began using the name Blue Jays. Maybe the next time the Phillies win a World Series, they can put 2.5 diamonds on the rings?

The 1944 season was the first played under the Blue Jays moniker, and the best player on the roster that year was centerfielder Buster Adams. Adams career got off to a delayed start due to a stomach illness, and was 28 years old by the time he joined the Phillies in 1943. He turned in a solid season for the Phils in 1944, hitting 17 home runs to go along with a .370 on-base percentage.

Adams would go on to have an even better year in 1945, finishing in the top 20 in National League MVP voting. However, the Phillies didn’t get to enjoy much of that production because they inexplicably traded him to the Cardinals in the middle of the season.

Featured baseball card

Here’s John Kruk’s card from the 1990 Donruss set:

I like the faux signature design Donruss went with, but I’m not crazy about the speckling effect used on the sides. I also think its interesting how non-prominent the team name is. Most card sets of this era would heavily feature the team name, but it seems to almost be an afterthought on Donruss’ design.

Parting thought

Based on this ring announcement, its clear that the Nationals were planning to spend the 2020 season being as obnoxious as possible, reminding us at every turn that they are the defending champions. If there’s one silver lining to the dark cloud looming over the hopes of a season, its that if the 2020 is canceled, the Nats will not get this opportunity.