2018 World Series

Red Sox's flashy 2018 World Series rings do not disappoint

Red Sox's flashy 2018 World Series rings do not disappoint

The Red Sox kicked off their 2019 home opener with a ring ceremony celebrating the team's 2018 World Series win.

But these are just any rings. These are some serious hardware:

According to a news release by Josten's, the manufacturer of jewelry and memorabilia behind the rings, the Sox ring is "crafted in 14-karat white gold...with the Boston B logo [made from] 21 custom-cut genuine rubies, which represent the 4 [recent] World Series titles won by the Red Sox. The logo is surrounded by 22 intricately set custom-cut blue sapphires, which are emblematic of the Red Sox’s 14 postseason games played and the incredible 8 home runs hit during the World Series alone."

Further, Josten's says that the rings contain "185 stones which represent the 162 regular season games plus 14 postseason games plus the 9 World Series titles now held by the Red Sox. The ring features 4.5 carats of diamonds, 6.5 carats of blue sapphires and 4.0 carats of rubies for a total gem weight of 15 carats."

While perhaps not quite as tongue-in-cheek as the Patriots' decision two years ago to use Super Bowl rings containing 283 diamonds, after the 28-3 deficit the Patriots overcame against the Atlanta Falcons, these rings are nonetheless quite a marvel to behold.

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Now that he 'holds all the cards,' what will motivate Red Sox ace David Price in 2019?

Now that he 'holds all the cards,' what will motivate Red Sox ace David Price in 2019?

FORT MYERS, Fla. — No one played with a chip on their shoulder in 2018 more than David Price.

It was a rocky couple of years to start off the left-hander’s Red Sox career. From his confrontation with Dennis Eckersley, to his woes against the Yankees and well-documented struggles in the postseason, Price wasn’t exactly an overwhelming fan favorite in Boston.

That remained the case for much of the '18 campaign. Even in a dominant seven-start stretch from May to June, fans were hesitant to forgive. That’s when I asked what it would take for Price to earn that forgiveness, Most of the responses were “when he beats the Yankees” or “when he shows up in the postseason.”

Well, Price accomplished both. He was an integral part of the team’s postseason run, and one could make an argument that he deserved World Series MVP honors.

He finally held all the cards, and he made sure we all realized it.

Still, three months after earning a ring, Price has to find a new source of motivation. The doubters are few and far between, and for the doubters who are still out there, it’ll be far more difficult to get inside Price’s head.

That being the case, I asked Price how he maintains the same sense of urgency heading into the new season as a world champion.

“I mean, when Cora hugged me on the field right after we won, the first thing I said to him was, ‘I want to do it again next year,’ ” Price said Thursday at JetBlue Park. “I think the first time you ever go through something like that, you don’t really grasp what’s going on and get to enjoy it the way you should enjoy that moment. To go through it once, to experience all of that, I think if you get back to that point again in your career, you can really kind of sit back and take in everything and it’s something I’m definitely looking forward to having the opportunity to do.”

As for his feelings toward fans who may have given up on him before his standout October, Price insists there’s no ill-will.

“Fans, I love you guys,” Price said. “I have no problem with you. I get asked about you all the time. I’m sorry. I love you guys. That’s it.”

So, with the naysayers silenced, the fans on his side, and the trump card firmly in his hand, the upcoming campaign will be the first of its kind for Price. The only question to ask now is this: Will that be a benefit or be a detriment to a player who thrived with a chip on his shoulder?

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Now comes hard part for Alex Cora - the quest for a Red Sox repeat

Now comes hard part for Alex Cora - the quest for a Red Sox repeat

Everything will be harder for Alex Cora this year. And his season may be harder to evaluate, too.

Even if the Sox have a lesser year in 2019 than they did in 2018, Cora may actually do more as manager.

In an encore to a 108-win season, Cora may have to do more to win, say, 97 games. But few may realize it, because most people look at managing as a bottom-line evaluation: success is how many games you won, rather than an assessment of how many games you won in a given circumstance.

So much went right for Cora in ’18. Naturally, plenty of the Sox’ success was owed to the first-year skipper’s touch and the relationships he fostered. No, he did not hit all of J.D. Martinez’s home runs — but he did create an environment for his players to flourish.

Nonetheless, Cora & Co. stare now at a title-defense season that will bring greater difficulty. That’s not a judgment on them as much as the scenario and the sport.

If the ’18 team represented the greatest in Sox history, the chances of a similar follow-up are slim — even with a group that’s largely unaltered.

“One thing about this group, and that’s a cool thing, throughout the offseason they’re staying locked in,” Cora said. “It’s hard to believe. Sometimes I wonder, I sit down at home and think, ‘It’s not possible.’ We text and we call and we talk about next year. Yeah, we’re celebrating and we’re enjoying the whole thing, but it looks like they turned the page a month ago.”

For his part, Cora’s signature confidence hasn’t wavered, nor would one expect it to. He has a cockiness, really, and an enjoyable one for fans considering results have followed at every turn in his short time as manager.

“If you thought last year was special, wait ’til this year,” Cora proclaimed to a packed room at the 2019 Boston Baseball Writers Dinner.

A winning attitude is fun. A bold personality at the helm makes the Sox more entertaining - a flavorful accompaniment to the entree of winning.

But coming off a World Series, Cora’s challenge in a market that always demands a winner is probably even greater.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch just lived that experience in a smaller market last year in Houston, after winning the ’17 World Series (with Cora as his bench coach).

Hinch’s Astros won more games in the ’18 regular season than they did in ’17, and the job for Hinch evolved with a team full of players receiving newfound attention and expectations.

The Astros set a franchise record for wins in 2018, in fact. But that didn’t exactly grab the world’s attention once the Astros were eliminated in the playoffs.

“I was proud of the guys in the spring,” Hinch said during the ’18 playoffs. “For the guys that are here, we have a little bit different team this season. Every team's different.

“But in the spring, there was a great humility in how we were going about our work. That helped kick-start the year with if we're going to do something special, we're going to need to attack it differently than we did. It wasn't just we were going to copy and paste from the year before.

“That helped. When we got pushed this season, to defend our guys, I don't think our guys got enough credit for winning when people expected us to win. To win a franchise record number of games, the approach these guys brought every day.

“I know we expect it at this level. We expect it with really good teams. Everybody had us in first place from the very beginning. When we got pushed, we fought back. And we won the division in a really good division that wasn't talked about enough as far as being how difficult it was.”

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