MESA, Ariz. -- When the Royals defeated the Mets in the 2015 World Series, they earned their hardware: the Commissioner's Trophy and rings for the players.Oh, and a WWE championship belt.WWE star and executive Triple H presented the Royals with a gold championship belt, complete with the team's logo on
MESA, Ariz. -- When the Royals defeated the Mets in the 2015 World Series, they earned their hardware: the Commissioner's Trophy and rings for the players.
Oh, and a WWE championship belt.
WWE star and executive Triple H presented the Royals with a gold championship belt, complete with the team's logo on either side of the WWE logo, earlier in Spring Training at their camp in Surprise, Ariz., and it will follow the team to its Kauffman Stadium weight room in Kansas City.
"That was one of the coolest things I've seen," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "I think all of us as kids watched wrestling, and you want to see what the belt looks like and what it's like."
Wrestling has exploded across the sports world in recent years, and Oakland A's right fielder Josh Reddick said that its growth in popularity may have begun with him.
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"I'd like to think I started wrestling in sports," said Reddick, who was fascinated by wrestling as a kid and got drawn back into it as an adult. "I don't want to seem like the crybaby that doesn't get the attention, because that's not what I do it for -- I do it because I love the sport."
Reddick's social media accounts are flooded with his love of WWE, and he even penned a piece for The Players' Tribune on it last September.
Now, WWE belts are a common sight in sports. The Denver Broncos received one after winning Super Bowl 50. So did the Chicago Blackhawks and Golden State Warriors after their championships a year ago.
The WWE has also sent belts to past Cy Young Award winners, including Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer, and Orioles outfielder Adam Jones presented then-Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes with a belt after he won the 2013 Home Run Derby.
"It's frustrating when you see guys like Adam Jones give [Cespedes] the title belt at the Derby," Reddick said. "It is kind of frustrating because ... I've been into it for years and years."
It's not just the belt. WWE has found its way into baseball's culture in more ways than one. In addition to the champions' gift and Jones' presentation to Cespedes, in preparation for the Giants' 2014 playoff run, outfielder Hunter Pence led AT&T Park in the "Yes!" chant made famous by WWE star Daniel Bryan.
Reddick's Athletics teammates know WWE is his thing. Left-handed reliever Ryan Dull's locker is right next to Reddick's for Spring Training, and Dull has heard him talk about it on more than one occasion.
"You can tell [Reddick is] really into it and really passionate about it," Dull said. "It's nice he has something he's passionate about outside of baseball. It keeps you calm, something else to keep interest in."
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Whether Reddick is the one who brought WWE to baseball or not, WWE is part of baseball and sports more than it's ever been, and that's all right with him.
"I think it's a great idea what they've done," Reddick said. "They've started doing it for the Cy Youngs and all that, and it's definitely something special."
Reddick said the gold he wants most is a World Series ring, regardless of how much he loves WWE. He doesn't want to individualize a team accomplishment, but he did say he'll have a personalized belt made, if that day comes.
"When we win our World Series, I'm going to make a personal phone call to Triple H and tell him what exactly I want done to the damn thing," Reddick said. "Probably be prized possession No. 2 or 3 right there."
Justin Emerson is a graduate student pursuing a master's degree in journalism at Arizona State University. This story is part of a Cactus League partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.