Call it “The Hidden Ring Trick.”
When Hideki Matsui was presented his 2009 World Series ring at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, little did he realize he was receiving a facsimile.
Matsui, the Series Most Valuable Player who now plays for the Los Angeles Angels, trotted out to a standing ovation to receive his ring from Yankees manager Joe Girardi. He opened the brown box, took out the ring and smiled as he looked at the bauble.
But what he was examining was a finely crafted fake, the same kind given to fans a few weeks ago during a spring training promotion.
Credit Yankees captain Derek Jeter for coming up with the prank. Moments later, Girardi, who was in on the gag, brought Matsui the real thing.
“The first time I realized that it was a fake was when Joe Girardi brought the real ring to me,” Matsui said through a translator.
As for the standing ovation he received, Matsui said he was touched by the fans’ response upon his return to The Bronx.
“I was deeply moved,” he said. “It’s something I will remember forever, that moment.”
But he probably will forget his 0-for-5 performance Tuesday in the Angels’ 7-5 loss.
■ LESS THAN STERLING — John Sterling, the Yankees’ longtime radio play-by-play man, is known for his over-the-top home run calls every time a Yankee goes deep. He might have sunk to a new low with the addition of Curtis Granderson to the lineup.
When Granderson hit his first homer of the season on opening night in Boston on April 4, Sterling exclaimed, “The Grandy Man can! The Grandy Man can!” then went off on some reference to “Finian’s Rainbow,” a 1947 musical, finishing with an altered lyric from one of the songs in the play, “Ooooh Curtis, you’re something sort of Grandish!”
It almost makes Nick Swisher’s “Swish-o-licious” or his “You’re on the Mark Teixeira!” calls seem listenable.”
■ NO TAILGATING — Baseball’s version of jaywalking is being strictly enforced at Dodger Stadium, as tailgaters who were hanging out in the parking lot before Tuesday’s home opener discovered when they were confronted by security and told to pack it up and move into the ballpark.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers have had a no-tailgating policy for years, but it was allowed with a “wink-wink.” Now, the Dodgers are cracking down, even for those partaking in nonalcoholic beverages.
Perhaps by forcing the fans inside, they’ll buy enough $8 beers to help owner Frank McCourt survive the pending divorce settlement with his wife, Jamie.
Of course, there’s always the option of public transportation to avoid being hassled in the parking lot. Tom Krasovic, who covers baseball for AOL Fanhouse, decided to leave his car home and hop aboard the “Dodger Express” bus Tuesday. Two miles and 34 minutes later, Krasovic arrived at the ballpark.
COMPILED BY STEVE CARP
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL