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Washington Nationals’ virtual World Series ring ceremony canceled; Nats opt for ring unveiling tomorrow night instead...

“When team leaders discussed the plan this week with the players, the players collectively decided they would prefer to receive their rings when the team could be physically reunited.” - Nationals’ statement

World Series 2019 Game 7 - Houston Astros at Washington Nationals Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images

There might end up being baseball this summer, but there probably won’t be fans in the stands for a while even if they start playing games. So with that in mind, the 2019 World Series champion Washington Nationals, who had previously stated a desire to share the celebration with fans when they had a championship ring ceremony and banner raising, instead decided on a virtual ring ceremony.

“We don’t know when we’ll all be together again at Nationals Park,” Nationals’ Managing Principal Owner Mark D. Lerner explained when he was asked how they decided on that approach to handing out rings to some players, after the original plans were postponed along with the start of the season by the coronavirus pandemic.

“This virtual ring ceremony allows us to gather together remotely to share a moment of joy in these uncertain times,” Mr. Lerner said. “We’ll be bringing fans up close and personal with the team in a way that wouldn’t be possible in a typical ring ceremony, I’m really excited for our fans to see the rings and be part of this special moment.”

Well, we will all get to see the rings on Sunday night, but according to a statement released by the team this morning, that Nationals will wait until their players can all be back together before distributing the World Series rings.

Here’s the full statement from the team on today’s decision:

“Our World Series rings were originally scheduled to be presented to our players and staff prior to the second home game of the 2020 season. As fans, media, employees, coaches and players continued to ask about when World Series rings would be distributed, the Nationals planned a special, first of its kind virtual ring ceremony. We knew it wouldn’t be ideal, but it would offer the collective opportunity to reconnect with our fans and support important work being done in our community by Capital Area Food Bank and World Central Kitchen who has served 350,000 meals from Nationals Park during this pandemic.

“We talked to a number of our team leaders who liked the idea. We proceeded with plans to create a virtual experience that would bring players and fans together to share in the unveiling of our World Series ring design for the first time. Just like everyone else, our plans were at the mercy of the pandemic. As our fans know, May 24th is a special day in our club’s history and we worked feverishly – navigating plant closures and government shutdowns – to pull together a world-class show.

“When team leaders discussed the plan this week with the players, the players collectively decided they would prefer to receive their rings when the team could be physically reunited. We support that decision.

“Having received such positive community feedback surrounding the announcement, we decided to proceed with the design unveil of the ring as planned, the premiere of our documentary Improbable, as well as the Nats4Good fundraiser as scheduled. In addition, team leaders have been working with our production team to put together a show entitled the “Kolko and Friends Live After Party,” that will be hosted by Dan Kolko and feature Ryan Zimmerman, Howie Kendrick and Max Scherzer sharing their reactions to the World Series ring design, discussion about the team’s philanthropic efforts and fun moments from the Improbable documentary.

“We are excited to unveil our documentary, World Series ring design and to have our players share their excitement with our fans this weekend!

So... instead of a virtual ring ceremony, the Nationals will hold a ring unveiling tomorrow night, after the conclusion of the World Series movie they’ve produced, which premieres tonight at 7:00 PM ET on MASN and Nationals.com.

The schedule is now:

  • Saturday (tonight 5/23) - Improbable premiere - 7:00 PM;
  • Sunday (5/24) - Improbable Pt. 2. - 5:30 PM ET; Ring Unveiling - 7:00 PM ET; Kolko & Friends Live After Party - 8:00 PM ET

Did the Nationals make the right decision in the end? Will you still be watching the unveiling ceremony after Part 2 of the World Series movie tomorrow night?