Remember the good old days when baseball players were rewarded with perhaps a few words of praise or a beer from the boss? Those days are long gone. Today's players want the bucks and the bling. Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez won the 2009 National League batting title and his reward from Marlins team owner Jeffrey Loria was a diamond-studded necklace.
Ramirez had a .342 batting average last year and so Loria had the necklace inscribed in diamonds with ".342" using a teal diamond to market the decimal point. The entire design uses 394 diamonds proclaiming "Hanley Ramirez 2009 N.L. Batting Champion." On the reverse it is inscribed "Congratulations--Jeffrey Loria". The Palm Beach Post reports that Loria joked with Ramirez that if he hits .394 this season they will do something else. The pair have an interesting rapport. The Palm Beach Post article says that Ramirez had approached Loria wondering if he would be doing anything to celebrate the record. In reply Loria asked Ramirez for his shirt size. Later he put the necklace in a shirt box as a surprise.
Ramirez can't wear his new jewelry on the field, there is a team policy banning long hair and jewelry. He has said that he will keep it in his safe and wear it once in a while. On April 9, opening night, the first 5,000 fans will get a replica necklace with cubic zirconia.