Edwin Jackson's usually a pretty happy-go-lucky kind of guy. But today especially, his smile lit up the Nationals' clubhouse.
Jackson got a surprise today when manager Davey Johnson called for Jackson to come into his office. The Nats skipper didn't want to talk about the hurler's latest outing or anything on-field related, but instead, he had a gift waiting for Jackson.
Johnson picked up a small box and passed it across the desk. Inside the black case was Jackson's 2012 St. Louis Cardinals World Series ring.
Not a bad Tuesday afternoon.
"It feels good," Jackson said, as he showed off the ring to reporters in the Nats' clubhouse. "This is what we work for. This is a piece of history that we got a chance to earn. That's what we play for in this game.
"You put your blood, sweat and tears into something that's definitely not given to anyone, you have to go out there and earn it," Jackson said. "We definitely earned this. It's a good feeling to be able to hold a World Series ring."
Jackson actually let me hold the ring, and I channeled my inner George Costanza to serve as hand model for a couple pictures.
The ring has Jackson's name and number inscribed on one side, and lists all the years the Cardinals have won World Series titles. On the flat inner portion, it lists all the postseason series that the Cardinals won on their way to the championship, and has the words "Happy Flight" carved in, as well. That phrase is what the Cards would chant after their series-clinching playoff victories as they prepared for a joyous plane ride home.
It also apparently has the infamous "rally squirrel" in there somewhere, although neither Jackson nor the small group of reporters huddled around could find the little guy.
The 28-year-old Jackson said he doesn't plan to wear the ring that often - he's not much of a ring guy - and instead will just get some good insurance on it and put it in a safe deposit box somewhere.
Before putting it away, though, Jackson showed it off around the clubhouse, with players coming up and gazing at the diamond-encrusted ring with astonishment.
Manager Davey Johnson, who has three rings himself (two as a player, one as a manager), likes the fact that the players, many of whom have never been to the postseason, got to see a ring up close.
"It was shockingly beautiful, and big," Johnson said. "That's what we're here for. That's what we're all dreaming about."