By Sports editor Brian Hoffman

Brian Hoffman

How would you like to win a ring with 170 diamonds and 87 other gems, including sapphires and rubies? Well, you have a shot and it will only cost you $25 for the chance.

The Washington Nationals are conducting a “World Series Ring Sweepstakes,” as advertised during Nationals games on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network(MASN). The network is available to most cable and satellite TV subscribers in the Roanoke Valley and they run commercials for the contest on the broadcasts by their “homer” play-by-play and color commentators.

Maybe if you’re a Nationals fan you enjoy Bob Carpenter’s home run call of “SEE YOU LATER!!!” but I find it particularly annoying in addition to it not making any sense. And color man F.P. Santangelo is one of the biggest homers I’ve ever listened to.

I remember in the early days of the Nationals, after they moved from Montreal, former Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Rob Dibble was the color man. He always had an “edge” as a big league pitcher and he brought that to the broadcast booth as well. Dibble wasn’t afraid to criticize the home team if he felt the need, and his insight was. . .well, “insightful,” and fun to listen to. You could still root for the Nationals and enjoy the game without listening to Santangelo’s root, root, rooting for the home team, but apparently “calling it like he saw it” got Dibble fired.

The commercial for the ring caught my attention, because I’ve always enjoyed looking at championship rings. One of my favorite exhibits during my visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio was the collection of Super Bowl championship rings. It was interesting to see how much larger, and gaudier, the rings become since the ring given to the initial Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers in 1966.

I was the official scorer for the Salem Buccaneers when they won the Carolina League playoffs in 1987 and the front office presented me with a championship ring. I treasured it, but I didn’t wear it very often since it was big and heavy on my finger and I type a lot. I only wore it on special occasions, so I ended up loaning the ring to our local Salem-Roanoke Baseball Hall of Fame, where it’s now on display for the general public and local baseball fans to see when they visit the Hall of Fame behind Salem Memorial Ballpark.

Last Christmas my youngest step-son surprised me with a facsimile of the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles championship ring. He found it at a big flea market and obviously it doesn’t have all the real diamonds and emeralds like the one the players received, but it’s still pretty cool and one of my favorite souvenirs from their championship season.

Which brings us to the ring from the Nationals’ 2019 World Series championship. You can enter the contest to win the real thing at the website, or watch the Nationals on MASN for details. You have to be 18 to win and the contest ends on October 3, so you still have lots of time to enter. The money raised goes to Nationals Philanthropies.

I found a description of the ring on the internet, and it’s valued at around $15,000.  It’s made by Jostens, the leading provider of custom, hand- crafted fine jewelry for professional sports teams. I know the company well, as we had a vacant lot in my hometown where we used to play neighborhood football and baseball as kids. Jostens built a factory on that lot and we had to find another place to play, but I’ve forgiven them for that long ago.

The following is a description of the Nationals ring from a Jostens press release.

The Nationals championship ring is an impressive piece of jewelry, to say the least. In total, the 2019 Washington Nationals World Series Championship Ring features an average of 170 total diamonds, 32 custom-cut sapphires, 31 custom-cut rubies, and 24 princess-cut rubies for an impressive precious total stone carat weight of 23.2 carats.

“The journey the Nationals took to become World Series Champions for the first time was incredible,” said Chris Poitras VP and COO of Jostens Professional Sports Division. “We had the absolute honor to partner with them to create a ring that celebrated not only this historic moment for the franchise, but also paid tribute to the nation’s capital and the city the Nationals call home. This ring brings together years of tradition with cutting edge technology, the Nationals ring is truly a piece fit for World Champions.”

Crafted in 14-karat white and yellow gold, the Washington Nationals 2019 World Series Championship Ring celebrates the incredible accomplishment in a fitting tribute to the franchise, their fans, and Washington, DC. The top of the ring features the team’s iconic “W” logo, made from 30 custom-cut genuine rubies, representing the 30 runs the team scored in the four World Series games in which they were victorious. Surrounding the logo are 58 pavé-set diamonds.

Above and below the logo are the words WORLD CHAMPIONS set over the ring of 32 custom-cut genuine sapphires. This number represents the sum total of the team’s 2019 walk-off wins (7), shutout wins (13), longest winning streak (8 games), and playoff rounds won (4). An additional 108 diamonds are featured along the ring top, representing the number of regular season and Postseason wins (105), plus one diamond for the World Series Championship, and an additional two diamonds as a nod to the duality of franchise history as the Montréal Expos and the Washington Nationals. The top and bottom edges of the ring top each feature 12 princess-cut rubies, representing the total number of Postseason wins.

On the left side of the ring in yellow gold is the player’s name in a bold, distinctive font. Beneath the player name, also in yellow gold, is the nation’s majestically-waving flag, along with the 2019 championship year date. In the foreground, in beautifully contrasting white gold, are some of Washington, DC’s most iconic buildings and monuments. Included in this stunning, intricate detail, housed within the Capitol Building, are the Roman numerals MMVI, representing 2006 – the year in which the Lerner family purchased the franchise. The bottom of the ring’s left side serves to display the player’s number, set in diamonds.

An evolution of the Nationals Postseason motto of, STAY IN THE FIGHT, the right side of the ring features the motto modified as, FIGHT FINISHED. Below, the stripes of the American flag fill the sky above Nationals Park behind the coveted Commissioner’s Trophy, complete with the Nationals wordmark logo. Also appearing on the right side are four diamonds set upon a star base, as well as a custom-cut, star-shaped ruby. The five stars represent the incredible five elimination games won by the Nationals in the Postseason on their journey to become champions. The four diamonds on the stars represent the four previous National League East titles earned by the Nationals, while the red star signifies their World Series Championship.

The interior arbor is engraved with a unique shark symbol holding a yellow gold trophy, in honor of outfielder Gerardo Parra’s walk-up song, “Baby Shark,” which took over Nationals Park every time Parra stepped to the plate. Also featured here are the team logos of each of the opponents the Nationals defeated during their Postseason journey, along with each series score. Rounding off the arbor engraving is the championship year date of 10.30.19 – the date the Nationals immortalized themselves as world champions. The team’s mantra of GO 1-0 EVERY DAY, appears along the ring palm.

Jostens also partnered with the Washington Nationals in producing a World Championship jewelry collection allowing the entire fan community to commemorate the 2019 World Series victory. Nationals fans can capture their piece of the World Series Championship and commemorate this exciting time in franchise history through a custom selection of personalized fine jewelry and championship collectables. All pieces in this collection are inspired by the team’s Championship Ring and are available now for a limited time by ordering online at

As a part of the exciting World Series celebration, the Washington Nationals have created a unique opportunity that extends the championship to the fan community. As a part of their program, a Limited Edition Ring is being made available and is designed to be as close to the ring awarded to the team that is made available for purchase to the public. The Limited Edition Ring is available online at

Now don’t tell me you wouldn’t love to have one of these, whether you’re a Nationals fan or not. Remember, the contest runs through October 3rd.



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