Gone are the days when cracker jack prizes were enough to reward even the most grand-slamming ball playing hero. In what has become an increasingly commercialized, money-making sport, baseball players now reap the benefits of larger paychecks, signed endorsements, and, in the case of local Marlins heavy-hitter Hanley Ramirez, some bling. That’s right, folks. After winning the 2009 National League batting title with a .342 batting average, Marlins team owner Jeffrey Loria awarded the star player with a diamond-studded necklace.
Apparently, Ramirez, thirsty for some extra special recognition, approached Loria about his celebration plans. Loria later presented the shortstop with the sparkling necklace made from 394 diamonds, and inscribed with “Hanley Ramirez 2009 N.L. Batting Champion.” In honor of his high batting average, Loria had the record .342 number bezzled in diamonds, with a teal diamond marking the decimal point. Unfortunately, league rules prohibit Ramirez from sporting the necklace on the ball field. But, the lucky first 5,000 fans to enter the April 9th opening game at SunLife Stadium will receive their very own replica necklace with cubic zirconia. Not a bad trade off for those cracker jack’s of the past.