Bob Nightengale of USA Today caught up with Dallas Keuchel. Most of the article is about his new home with the Chicago White Sox, his outlook and all of that. But, not surprisingly, the topic of the 2017 Astros came up.
Nightengale asked Keuchel about whether, in light of all that has come about about that team, he wears his World Series ring with pride. Which, given what some others have said recently, is not a given.
Keuchel feels differently:
“Absolutely,’’ Keuchel said. “Just where we came from, where I personally came from, what I became and still am, nobody can take away the strides I personally made. That ring shows a set of stairs leap, and reminds me of how bad it was in 2013 (51-111) to the culmination of where you want to go, to the top of the mountains.
“I love that ring as much as anything I have.’’
No one will ever take away Keuchel’s memories of winning that championship. One of his proudest possessions is his framed World Series jersey at home.
This sentiment, and others like it, is why I’m generally cold to “take their rings away!” talk. It’s pretty meaningless. A championship is almost exclusively about things other than the actual hardware or official entries. On one level it’s about the moment of victory and celebration, which no one can pretend didn’t happen via some official act. But more deeply than that, Major League Baseball is never going to be able to administratively shame any ballplayer into anything. In Keuchel’s case it’s because it was a very personal thing that no one can touch. In someone else’s case it could be something else. And that’s before you get into the notion that, actually, I seriously doubt Major League Baseball has any legal right whatsoever to take an actual piece of jewelry away from someone to whom it was gifted, even if it changes an entry in its official records.
All of the “strip the Astros of their title” stuff has always seemed off to me. It has seemed about vengeance, which for the reasons Keuchel articulates, wouldn’t even have the much of an effect. I tend to think symbolic stuff like that is pretty meaningless, frankly.
You can’t make someone sorry who isn’t sorry. You can’t make someone feel shame who isn’t ashamed. At some point you just have to have your view of it, be confident in your view and let go of the idea that you can bend that of others to yours.