ATLANTA — Here in Atlanta, they've now become the kind of fan-kitsch staple accessory that, say, panda hats once were in San Francisco, or rally monkeys were in Anaheim - pearl necklaces. Outfielder Joc Pederson is the reason after he began wearing pearls during games toward the end of the season.
Pederson has generally been nonplussed about all the media attention that followed his pearls, but it's only about to ramp up now that the Braves are in the World Series.
So what's the deal? Is there any definitive reason why he wears them?
The short answer is not really. He just likes them.
He was coy about it at first, insisting their origin story would be a "mystery for everyone, they'll never know," during a game broadcast at the end of September. A few days later though he gave away the "secret," telling Major League Baseball's Mark Bowman for the league's official website that there really wasn't much, well, secret to it.:
“I like it. It looks good... It wasn’t something that was supposed to get this much media attention,” he told Bowman. “It’s just something that I like. It’s getting blown way out of proportion.”
Sports Illustrated spoke to Pederson's jeweler, Gabe Arik, who gave a few more details into how the pearls came to be.
He said Pederson - who also uses Drake's "Way 2 Sexy" as his walk-up music - told him he wanted to "do something really different" that would "make a nice fashion statement."
Mission accomplished. The jeweler was perhaps as nonplussed as Pederson, telling SI that he'd probably value them at around $4,000 - comparing that to the much more extravagant pieces of jewelry he's supplied Pederson with that could run 10 times that in value.
It's not just a media thing anymore, though: Fans all over Truist Park at Game 6 on Saturday night were donning pearls. It's a social media thing, too:
"I don't know," the jeweler told SI. "Everybody's talking about it, everybody's wearing it.”
If Joc and his jeweler think the attention is weird now, just wait 'til he steps up to the plate during the World Series.