How the Braves innovated by adding LEDs to their World Series ring

Credit: Justin Toscano

Credit: Justin Toscano

When a group of Braves officials met with Jostens to discuss the design of the club’s World Series ring, they asked: What could be innovative about this?

Jostens had an idea. The Braves, the company’s representatives said, could include a mini replica of Truist Park inside the ring.

“Well, it needs to have lights on it,” Derek Schiller, the Braves’ president and CEO, said at that moment.

The Jostens contingent – including Chris Poitras, the vice president and COO of Jostens Professional Sports Division – laughed when Schiller said that.

“No, I’m serious,” Schiller told them. “We want lights.”

Credit: Justin Toscano

Credit: Justin Toscano

Behold, perhaps the most impressive part of the Braves’ ridiculously cool World Series ring: Two micro-LEDs, one on each side of the outfield, that illuminate a miniature Truist Park that is revealed when you open the top of the ring.

Before working with the Braves, Jostens had helped design rings for 19 of the previous 20 World Series champions. They have seen it all, as teams are constantly trying to top one another. Poitras said the Braves’ creation is, to his knowledge, the first time working lights have been inside a ring like this.

“It’s an engineering marvel,” said Poitras, who added that Jostens spent six weeks devising the mechanism for the lights.

An appropriate question to begin with: Who even comes up with the idea to have lights inside a ring?

“It's an engineering marvel."

- Chris Poitras, the vice president and COO of Jostens Professional Sports Division

“You’ve never been inside of my brain, so let’s start there,” Schiller said, laughing. “It goes to a lot of crazy places.”

Four members of the Braves organization spent the majority of time working on the ring: Schiller, general manager Alex Anthopoulos, senior creative director Insung Kim and senior vice president of business strategy Jim Smith. They began by fielding players’ suggestions, and Schiller said those boiled down to a simple statement.

“We want it to have a lot of bling,” players said. “It needs to be representative of Atlanta. We don’t want this to be kind of just an average ring.”

It is not your average ring. It includes 755 diamonds (an ode to Hank Aaron), four custom-cut rubies, four princess-cut rubies, 11 round rubies and one white pearl (honoring Joc Pederson). But the lights might be the most impressive part, both in looks and functionality.

First, Jostens needed to figure out how to even make the lights possible. Poitras said there is only 2 millimeters of space between the Truist Park replica and the inside of the ring, which means there wasn’t much space for a battery. Then the company had to provide a lifetime guarantee, so they did that. The battery to the lights can be changed by pulling out the ballpark replica and inserting the battery underneath.

And Jostens couldn’t just do this all once – they had to make sure the lights on every ring would work. The Braves ordered about 1,000 rings because they are giving one to every full-time employee, Schiller said.

The ring blew away Braves manager Brian Snitker. He would not have ever thought to put lights in it.

“No,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of things that, probably in my thought process, wouldn’t have happened.”

Schiller said he felt “immense pressure” when helping design the ring. The Braves employees who worked on it wanted to do the best job possible for the players who brought the organization a championship. They became much more motivated when MLB implemented a lockout because they could no longer communicate with players and didn’t want to disappoint them.

“In some ways, that actually drove us to really say: ‘We’ve got to beat whatever wildest expectations (they have) so that when they come back and they see this for the first time, they’re going to get blown away and they’re going to be so appreciative of the work that we put into this,’” Schiller said. “I think we took to heart what this means to players, and we really wanted to fulfill their wildest ambitions and expectations.”

The ring includes a sword for Guillermo Heredia. It has a “We Are Those” quote inscribed on it in honor of Pederson, who said that during the team’s World Series parade but added a certain word to the end. On the replica of Truist Park, a “44″ is in the middle of the outfield, just as in real life last season.

A ring can tell a story, and that’s what the Braves did here.

But they also included something – the lights – other championship teams will surely try to top in the future.