LOS ANGELES — The cell phones started buzzing, the talk shows started blaring, and nearly every player, coach and staff member of Atlanta’s organization were being asked the same question.
“What’s up with the pearls?’’ Atlanta third baseman Austin Riley said. “Everyone wanted to know. I had so many people ask me that. We were all asking each other that.
“No one knew.’’
So, with a room of inquiring minds wanting to know, let alone a major metropolis, they directly asked Atlanta right fielder Joc Pederson why in the world is he suddenly wearing a pearl necklace?
“Guys had to find out, and you know what, we still don’t know,’’ Riley said. “I don’t know. It’s Joc. There’s no rhyme or reason.
“He told us he just woke up one day and said, ‘Hey, let’s try this pearl necklace.’
“And that was that.’’
The unique ballplayer accessory began the final days of the regular season, and with Pederson continuing to rake this postseason – hitting .389 entering Game 4 of the National League Championship Series with three homers and eight RBI – Pederson is proud to report the pearl necklace is here to stay.
“(Fans) kind of went crazy,’’ Pederson says. “I don’t know what it is.’’
The pearl necklace has become the hottest commodity in the Deep South since chicken and waffles.
“They’re everywhere you look in Atlanta,’’ Riley said. “You’re seeing fans wear them everywhere, especially at our ballpark.’’
Well, all except Atlanta’s clubhouse, where only Pederson wears the pearls.
“You look at the big screen in Atlanta and you got all these, you know, big, rough, tough guys,’’ Atlanta manager Brian Snitker says, “and they got pearls on. And all the ladies went in their jewelry boxes and got their pearls out.
“Shoot, I’m fine with it. I’m (just) not going to wear them.’’
Well, as long as they work for Pederson, who’s going to complain about a fashion statement?
“If there’s anyone who can pull it off,’’ Atlanta GM Alex Anthopoulos said, “it’s him.”
It’s too early to have an imitation pearl necklace promotion at Truist Field, but it didn’t stop stadium ushers from handing them out before Games 1 and 2 of the NLCS.
It’s enough to make a fella blush.
Pederson, who says he’s stunned at the commotion, insists there is no hidden significance behind the pearls.
Simply, he saw some pearl necklaces in mid-September, thought they looked good, and contacted his jeweler in California.
“I saw the pearls, and I was like, ‘You know what, that looks cool,’” Pederson said. “I’ve done the black chain and the gold chain and all those different ones, and I think a lot of other players have.
“But I don’t know, they kind of caught my eye. I was like, ‘You know, those look good.’
“I texted my jeweler and got some out.’’
The rest, as they say, is history.
If Atlanta goes on and wins the World Series, well, you can be assured they’ll be selling a whole lot of pearls in Truist Park souvenir shops beginning next year.
“Hey, whatever works, right?’’ Snitker says. “Who knew?’’
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Joc Pederson and his pearl necklace are the talk of MLB postseason