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Some Thoughts About MLB Champagne Celebrations

October is the time for many things, not the least of which is MLB clubhouse champagne celebrations (like the one the Yankees engaged in, shown above, after defeating the Twins in the ALDS on Monday night). I don’t know about you, but I find I’ve developed an almost instinctive negative reaction to these celebrations, for a number of reasons:

1. There are too damn many of them. Thanks to the proliferation of playoff teams and playoff rounds, it seems like teams are breaking out the bubbly every other day. Consider, for example, the fairly common scenario of an MLB team clinching a Wild Card playoff spot on the last weekend of the season. Depending on how far that team goes in the postseason, it could be having as many as five champagne celebrations in the span of about a month. Those celebrations would be for:

• Clinching a playoff spot
• Winning the Wild Card game
• Winning the Division Series
• Winning the League Championship Series
• Winning the World Series

That’s nuts. But in some ways, the endless parade of celebrations is almost more excusable for a Wild Card team (you figure they’re just happy to be there) than for a juggernaut like this year’s Yankees squad. I mean, shit, they’re supposed to win the Division Series. Have a few hugs on the field, go back to the clubhouse, cue up “Taking Care of Business,” maybe have a beer or two, and then get ready to play the Astros. If you beat them, then you can celebrate.

2. The plastic sheeting is lame-o. Yeah, nothing says, “Celebratory free-for-all” like a room that’s been prophylactically sanitized ahead of time. Believe it or not, the fact that the sheeting is plastered with ads bothers me less than the existence of the sheeting itself. Look, the whole point of a raucous celebration is that you might accidentally break a piece of furniture, you might spray booze on the clothes in someone’s locker, you might get a little carried away. If you remove the chance for people to, you know, fuck up a little, then you’re not actually having a raucous celebration; you’re just play-acting.

3. Those fucking goggles. According to Arash Markazi’s superb 2015 article on the history of MLB champagne celebrations (definitely worth reading all the way through), the first team-wide use of protective goggles was by the 2004 Red Sox. Markazi’s article says the goggles are needed because “the alcohol content in champagne can actually cause corneal abrasions for 48 hours,” but it doesn’t identify a single player who’s ever suffered such an injury. That doesn’t mean no such player exists, of course, but color me skeptical. A lot of the players don’t even bother to put the goggles over their faces:

As you can see there, the goggles are really just a branding boondoggle for Oakley, or New Era, or whoever slapped their logo on the strap. Sigh.

4. The whole thing feels scripted. From the obligatory T-shirts and caps to the canned quotes and everything in between, everyone seems to be doing what they think they’re supposed to be doing. Nothing feels spontaneous or organic; everything feels manufactured and rote (probably because it’s impossible to seem spontaneously celebratory four or five different times in a one-month span). Quoting one more time from Markazi’s article: “[T]here are few surprises left in the seemingly non-stop champagne celebrations in baseball this time of year. They are now as carefully planned and calculated as on-field strategies, complete with league regulations and mandated sponsorships.”

And so on. In some ways, this feels like another iteration of a phenomenon I’ve written about several times before: something that has succeeded too well. It’s not that champagne celebrations are inherently bad — it’s just that, like so many things, they’ve been refined so much that they now seem like more of a formulaic corporate pantomime played out on TV than an actual function of human expression. As such, they’re a pretty good mirror of our larger culture.

I’m trying to remember whether NFL teams celebrate like this after every playoff win. Do they? If so, I can’t recall it (or maybe I just turn the TV off too soon). NBA? NHL? Fill me in, people.

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Premier League Uni Roundup — Week 8 (Oct. 5–6)

By Josh Hinton

Brighton (white/blue) 3-0 Tottenham (turquoise)

While I am not a fan of Brighton’s home strip, I am a fan of the retro fauxback Spurs strip. 4/10


Norwich City (yellow/green) 1-5 Aston Villa (claret)

This was definitely one of the better-looking matchups of the week. You all know how much I love this Norwich home strip, as well as my fondness of Villa’s home look. 9/10


Watford (yellow/black) 0-0 Sheffield United (white)

I have always disliked this Watford kit, if only because of the out-of-place black half. Sheffield United unnecessarily wore their away kit in this match, but since it looks better than their home kit, I won’t dock them points. 3/10


Liverpool (red) 2-1 Leicester City (blue)

Another beauty of a matchup, as the Reds wore their classy home kit and Leicester broke out their classy home kit. 9.5/10


Burnley (claret) 1-0 Everton (blue)

Burnley hosted Everton in a matchup of two Umbro home kits that could use some touch-up work here or there but are otherwise solid. Everton wore their blue change shorts and socks. 8/10


West Ham (claret/sky blue) 1-2 Crystal Palace (white)

The Saturday finale did not disappoint, either from an on-pitch standpoint (late VAR drama) or on the aesthetic side of things, although I’m not sure why Palace didn’t wear their home kit in this match. In any case, it was an excellent-looking matchup! 8.5/10


Manchester City (sky blue) 0-2 Wolves (black)

Wolves could/should have worn their “old gold” home kits but chose to break out the black away strip. Both kits looked very good, as these colors complement each other nicely. 9/10


Arsenal (red) 1-0 Bournemouth (navy)

You all know I love that Arsenal home kit. I don’t exactly dislikeBournemouth’s away kit, but it’s so unoriginal (see West Ham 2019/29 Umbro Navy change kit) that I have to dock some points. 7/10


Southampton (red/white) 1-4 Chelsea (blue)

Chelsea wore their blue change socks, which I do not suspect we’ll see much of this season. Made for an interesting dynamic — the blue pairs well with Southampton’s red and white stripes but that Under Armour Kit is lacking in so many areas. 6/10


Newcastle United (white/black) 1-0 Manchester United (red)

Manchester United wore their white change socks to avoid a kit clash at Newcastle. They deserve credit for that — it would have been very easy for them to use this as an excuse to wear a change kit. Still hate the Newcastle home strip, though. 3/10

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Membership update: It’s rare that I showcase the front of a new membership card, rather than the back. But I wanted to show you how Zach Zarosinski’s full name just baaaarely fit in the designated space. I haven’t checked to make sure, but I think he’s the Jarrod Saltalamacchia of Uni Watch membership card fronts! (For the record, he got an Oregon State football motif for the back.)

Zach’s card is one of several new designs that have been added to the membership card gallery. I hope to have the printed/laminated versions of these cards shipped by the end of the week.

Ordering a membership card is a good way to support Uni Watch (which, frankly, could use your support these days). And remember, a Uni Watch membership card entitles you to a 15% discount on any of the merchandise in our Teespring shop and our Naming Wrongs shop. (If you’re an existing member and would like to have the discount code, email me and I’ll hook you up.) As always, you can sign up for your own custom-designed card here, you can see all the cards we’ve designed so far here (more than 2,300 of them!), and you can see how we produce the cards here.

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Click to enlarge

Raffle reminder: In case you missed it on Monday, our longtime advertiser Vintage Brand is running another raffle. The lucky winner will get to choose any product from the VB website (including stainless steel tumblers like the ones shown above, which VB has just started offering).

To enter this raffle, send an email to the raffle address by 7pm Eastern tomorrow, Oct. 10. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner on Friday. Good luck!

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Best comm-uni-ty ever: My continued thanks to the many of you who’ve provided support over the past few days after the latest unpleasantness. The generosity that many of you have shown, the kind words that even more of you have shared, has been very humbling.

I promise I won’t keep repeating this every single day forever, but I’m going to keep saying it for another day or two: Uni Watch could really use your help during this difficult stretch. If you have the means, please consider a donation, a membership enrollment, or a merch purch. Thanks again.

Meanwhile, an important signal flare: Attention reader Matthew Powers — you paid for a 20th-anniversary patch yesterday (thank you!) but didn’t tell me where to ship it. Little help..?

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The Ticker
By Lloyd Alaban

Baseball NewsThe Brewers released a video announcing the name of their new ballpark restaurant. The video features lots of Brewers-related uni items (from Brian Kerhin).

Football News: The Vikings will wear their mono-purple Color Rash unis on Oct. 24 (from multiple readers). … Here’s the updated Panthers Uniform Tracker after week five. … A Baton Rouge-area restaurant is using a nonstandard LSU helmet in an ad (from Chris Caswell). … Here’s an interesting video documenting a collection of FIU gear (from Ben Whitehead). … And here’s the latest collection from Blaise D’Sylva: the helmet history of Oklahoma State. … Tris Wykes was driving to Dartmouth football practice yesterday and came upon the aftermath of a two-car crash involving the head coach’s car, which is painted to resemble the team’s helmets. No serious injuries, fortunately.

Hockey NewsOver the years, the Penguins have given out different hats or helmets to their player of the game. Here are a few of them (from Jerry Wolper). … The Cranbrook Bucks have joined the BCHL. Here is their logo (from multiple readers). … The Tulsa Oilers, ECHL affiliate of the Blues, will wear Mountain Division Champion sweaters next week (from Mike Iles).

NBA NewsThe Blazers’ “Statement” uniforms will now feature white lettering. Last season, they had black lettering (from Nate Adamski). … The Wizards have released their new Statement alternates, which are very similar to last season’s (from Ed Kendrick). … Last night’s Thunder/Mavs preseason game was played in Tulsa. Given the court’s color scheme, maybe the Trail Blazers should play preseason games there (from @JohnnyThunder16).

College Hoops News: Looks like the gold championship tabs found on the back of the jerseys of schools that have won a national championship has spread to their warmup gear (from Brandon Lloyd). … Iowa men’s released a teaser for a new uniform (from Tanner Nissen). … Utah State SG Sam Merrill was apparently behind the initial design for his team’s throwback uniforms (from Benji King). … New court for USF. … Here’s another look at K-State men’s team’s new uniforms (from Jason Wright).

Soccer News: Minneapolis City is letting club members vote on their new home kit (from Ed Zelaski). From Josh Hinton: French side Lille have updated their sponsor logo to fit UEFA kit regulations for their UEFA Champions League matches. On the left is the kit they wear for all domestic fixtures; on the right is the UCL version. … Colombian side Ámerica de Cali re-released their 2019-20 third kit with the new club badge. … As always, you can keep up with the latest in kit-related news by following Josh’s Twitter account. … Galaxy F Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a statue unveiled of him in his hometown of Malmo, Sweden. The statue depicts Ibrahimovic shirtless, because of course it does. … Bus stops in Portugal have ads for Eleven Sports, the channel that shows the Champions League in Portugal — featuring real soccer jerseys on hangers! (From @MikeDfromCT).

Grab Bag: Pretty cool: NASCAR made a stop-motion reenactment of its latest race, using 1:64 scale toy cars (from Mike Chamernik). … Do you know what many gymnasts use to get a better grip on the bars? Honey (NYT link)! … Honda Racing posted a video documenting their history in F1. The video ties into the Japanese Grand Prix run at Suzuka this weekend, which is a Honda-owned track (from Jeremy Brahm). … No it’s not just you: The Friends logo really has been there for you, everywhere. … Volkswagen has introduced a new logo for its “R” line of vehicles. … New logos for the PGA European Tour and the Wake Forest athletics department (both from @halfmut). … Nike says Skechers is stealing Nike’s sneaker designs (from Rob Walker).

Comments (78)

    whenever i see that wake forest logo, i have an urge to plaster a “T” in the middle of it

    Any celebration before winning the championship is wrong – from a hockey fan where you don’t even touch the Stanley Cup until you win it. I cringe when they parade the Lombardi trophy through the gauntlet of role players and its smudged before it’s presented. I recall when the Lakers won the NBA championship, someone handed AC Green a bottle of champagne and AC, who didn’t drink, immediately put it down. We live in an era of participation trophies and MLB celebrations seem to be an extension of that.

    These started with the 1995 MLB teams in the playoffs. They added the ‘division series’ then. Prior to that, winning a playoff series meant you won the AL or NL pennant. When I get my time machine working, I’m heading back to the 95 division winning teams and stopping them from starting this foolishness.

    Same vein, it drives me completely crazy when FOX does it World Series promos and show the players in that year’s World Series posing with the Commissioner’s Trophy. Obviously at this moment no one has won it so why the hell are you posing with it and pretending to kiss it. You got to win it first!

    I agree 100%. I miss the days when the trophy was presented in the locker rooms. Everything today is so over produced and contrived that it’s no longer genuine. I find the the NFL does it worst. They have 10,000 people on the field including family, agents, security, league officials, team officials, etc ,etc, etc.

    The Vikings aren’t playing Thursday. But the Patriots are-and they are wearing Mono Blue Color Rash-1st of 3 times this season.

    I stopped watching the champagne celebrations in baseball a couple of years ago. Exact same thoughts. They are ridiculous.

    Not to mention the teams with female field reporters and the shots of players “surprising” her with champagne in the hair.

    Just thinking about them makes me mad.

    I’m going to go against the group opinion here – I enjoy them. True, the ads and the pre-planning are gross. But it’s about the players and they seem to love it. It’s like sex – you know what it will be, but you still look forward to it and enjoy it. Why is it cool that hockey players get to kiss the cup but it’s lame to do a champagne celebration? They’re both tradition.

    I agree it can be a little excessive to do it each round, but it’s far from a participation trophy. Tell that to the 2/3 of the league that missed the playoffs.

    Great article b/c I was thinking the same thing this past week. Personally it has come to a point where I do not even watch the locker room celebrations any more. It has just become one gigantic advertisement. Also I saw the Yanks added color lights as if it were a night club. Not sure if that is new for other teams but I never saw that before. Years ago the celebrations seemed more organic and advertisement free outside of a Budweiser sign here or there.

    Something even more gross about the champagne celebrations: the team “sells” the used bottles and corks. I am a Cleveland STH and as part of the rewards program, you can redeem points for them. It’s not a direct cash sell, but you get points based on lots of things that you paid good money for.

    the New Era goggles seem the most egregious. They don’t even make them do they? Do they get other goggles and slap their logo on them? At least with Oakley goggles it seems like it could be the players personal gear they are wearing (I know it most likely is advertiser gear). The New Era stuff feels way more ad creepy.

    I’m always surprised when I hear about post game interviews/interactions in the NFL since once the game is over, I turn it off.

    I see no need for pre/post game shows, and honestly have no idea if there are any types of celebrations in NFL/NBA. I didn’t realize they were so prevalent in the MLB.

    Ad laden plastic sheeting is… wow

    To my knowledge, they only happen in the NBA after championship wins. Otherwise players just high five and go to the locker room hooting.

    Why does the champagne ALWAYS have to be sprayed??? WHY???

    My list of tired/ridiculousness:

    Champagne celebration pre-championship (or at all)
    Any “Gatorade” shower
    “Impromtu” group photo after a touchdown
    Any sort of “I got an interception” necklace/accessory
    Sack dance when you’re losing by 30

    probably more if i thought real hard.

    Yes to all of these and yes to there being more. (Dropping or spinning the ball and giving the “first down” signal after a routine 7 yard catch to the 38 yard line. That’s your job, Mr Wide Receiver. Get back in the huddle.) And many more.
    Are we getting old and curmudgeonly? Or is everyone else getting tired of this too?

    Munch, I remember Jerry Rice once said he didn’t like the whole idea of the touchdown celebration because his father (or coach or whatever) had always taught him that when reached the end zone, he should act like he’d been there before. I’ve heard other players use the same phrase, but I seem to remember that Rice add his own part: “Act like you’ve been there before…and you know you’re going there again.”

    + 1 to everything on your list. I’d add one from the world of tennis:

    the combination fist pump/leg kick OR the fist pump/”Come On!” at any time during a match, but especially when you’re down 2 sets to love. I get that the players use it as a way to pump themselves up, but…shut up.

    Sorry, I know I’m all over this, but I’ll add two more from football:

    1. getting up and giving the first down sign
    2. receivers pantomiming throwing a penalty flag when they think the defender committed interference. Guess what, jackass – there’s a whole squad of referees out there. They’ll throw a flag if they think it’s warranted. There very minute I see a ref out there pantomiming making a catch to a receiver that’s just dropped a catchable ball, I’ll change my opinion of this.

    Paul—phenomenal thought process here on the champagne thing. I couldn’t agree more. Great observation! It’s so lame. Thanks for breaking it down. Great post!

    I feel like the late-90s/early 2000s Yankees got to a point where they would only celebrate a World Series win. Division Series and ALCS wins were just a series of hugs and handshakes because they expected to be there.

    It made them seem boring and arrogant, but things seem to have gotten out of hand in the other direction for a lot of teams these days.

    Definitely agree. Champagne should really be saved for the big things like winning the WS, not simply being 1 of 8 or 10 teams to keep playing another few weeks

    I endorse every word of Paul’s lead on champaign celebrations. There are only three events that deserve any kind of party in the locker room: Clinching your division; Winning your league pennant; Winning the World Series.

    Otherwise, the saying about touchdown celebrations apply: Act like you’ve been there before and intend to get there again.

    I completely agree. It makes me think of Oregon State’s baseball’s “rules” (is this the right word?) on celebrations – the only dogpile of the year is when they win the College World Series. If they don’t get there, no dogpile that season.

    You know someday its going to be the “Sherwin Williams Road to the Dogpile” Presented by Wendy’s”.


    Paul, I find it ironic you have more of a problem with the protective plastic than you do with the ads now put on them, which I found completely egregious and further evidence of the superfluous proliferation of ads everywhere. But I do respect your opinion on the matter—I can’t immediately recall when the plastic sheeting first became a thing during these celebrations.

    If you want more of an argument against these, Aroldis Chapman got hit on the hand with a champagne bottle during their celebration two nights ago and had his hand wrapped, but apparently he will be fine.

    Yankees first baseman Greg Bird once was interviewed during a celebration and he admitted he thought the goggles were for eye protection from errant flying corks.

    Wouldn’t the thought of some poor custodian on his knees all night scrubbing to clean the stench of cheap champagne out of a carpet be worse tho? Because I’m sure that’s what happens after the players and cameras leave.

    I think, if I’ve read the piece correctly, that Paul’s stance is more that the whole “celebration” isn’t spontaneous at all. It’s just another way for MLB to sell ad space and merch and, as another reader pointed out, just feels like the professional equivalent of the participation trophy. It’s all just overdone and played out now, especially in baseball.

    I’ve always figured the venue would already have made a call with a cleaning company to be ready to come in the following day.

    However I’ve noticed some locker rooms have added the plastic over the carpeting too, so perhaps certain venues are trying to curb the added expenses associated with cleaning carpeting.

    “Finish the job” springs to mind.

    I remember reading Joe Torre’s autobiography and he talked about being with the Milwaukee Braves as a kid when the team won the World Series in 1957. The team had a crate of bottled beer in the clubhouse and players had to keep an individual tally of how many they drank so it could be deducted from their next paycheck.

    These celebrations are an extension of say a typical NFL game where a defensive player will act like he just won the Super Bowl , just for breaking up a pass or making a tackle

    Josh – where did the striped soccer shirt touch you? It seems like you are deducting 3-5 points in any matchup whenever a team’s kit includes stripes (Sheffield U, BHA, Newcastle). I realize tastes are suggestive but striped shirts have been a part of soccer culture for years and IMO, their presence doesn’t detract from a game’s visual appeal; in many cases, it enhances it – like pinstripes in baseball or metallic pants in football. The gradient nonsense Norwich is wearing, on the other hand, is garish. They have unique colors that work in their games but the gradient is not well done.

    I love A well-done striped shirt, such as Stoke City’s New Balance home kits or the traditional Barcelona home shirts. But several of the kits in this year’s Prem don’t Meet the mark for me.

    I’m perfectly fine with the plastic covering for champagne celebrations. Because nothing’s worse than some poor janitorial staff having to spend the entire night cleaning up after a choreographed for TV celebration by a bunch of millionaires for merely clenching a playoff berth.

    Excellent main article today. I don’t really have much to add other than I feel the same way, word for word. I used to love these celebrations when I was a kid. They should be reserved for very important clinchings.

    When the White Sox celebrated clinching the division in 1983, it was huge. And they went to the ALCS, there weren’t other rounds. And they hadn’t been to the postseason since 1959. That made sense.

    Now it is much easier to get into the playoffs.

    We gotta show love to the Portland Trail Blazers coaching staff rockin 1970s era leisure suits on the bench while the players wore their 1970s era blazers unis.

    Am I the only one who sees an NBA generic schedule for day of instead of the correct link? Every time there’s a link to an NBA story it’s the same thing.

    These champagne celebrations are ridiculous. Everything now has to be a planned, choreographed, event. Like engagements and gender reveals. I get that having champagne for the champions turned into spraying it all over, but now it’s a planned event that happens even for an advancement to the next playoff round. Nothing ever goes back and becomes smaller. I can’t imagine what the celebrations will be in the future.

    Ugh, gender reveals. I hate them. Such a “look at us! We’re having a BABY” kind of manufactured celebration. As if coming to your engagement party, bridal shower, bachelor/bachelorette party, wedding, and baby shower wasn’t enough.

    I also hate how bridal parties perform a choreographed routine when they enter the reception hall. Look at us, we’re so creative and original, make sure to post it online. F**king sickening!

    Paul, totally agree with you that the baseball cooperate celebrations are way too many. Should just be limited to winning the pennant and World Series. I believe basketball and hockey only celebrate like that after winning the nba finals and Stanley cup. I mean hockey teams won’t even touch the conference trophy, which is a awesome tradition in my opinion! Football does not have rowdy celebrations in the locker due to the No Fun League not allowing alcohol in the locker rooms, even though beer companies are some of the leagues biggest advertisers lol

    for a host of reasons, every little thing these days is blown up into a big deal. a while ago i was watching a tv show from about 1958 in which the host described the song he was introducing as “typical”. these days that would be taken as an insult rather than as the truthful description it was

    I wish a team would get “crazy” and spontaneous and then shun the lame t-shirts and corn ball hats and just party in their uniform like the old days. This would be after winning a title. Winning a playoff round isn’t a title.

    No, the point is that there’s no party to poop on.

    If there’s reason for the party, then celebrate!

    I recall an hilarious example of what a lame marketing exercise the champagne celebrations have become, when the Red Sox clinched a playoff spot a few seasons ago. The Sox barely made it through via a weak division that year, didn’t get anywhere, and it was a strained group. And the night they clinched, it was via a loss in another game – and the Red Sox lost that night. The team was led into the whole champagne routine so limply, and it took about ten minutes before anybody got enough of a buzz going to smile. I thought, at least kids are getting to see their heroes having fun with booze.

    The Champagne celebration epitomizes everything I dislike about baseball now.

    I don’t think you should celebrate til you win the World Series.

    You won your pennant? Great! Now win the World Series, and have a celebration. Otherwise, you’re a loser (in the literal sense). Why would you have a champagne celebration about being the 10th-2nd best team in a 30 team league?

    It’s asinine!

    It almost seems like an extension of the “Participation Trophies For All” mindset that has enveloped sports in the past 15 years.

    Spot on article today, Paul. I think a team can do it every week if it wants but only if it’s really warranted. The spontaneity is gone.
    When the Reds clinched the division in 2010 after 15 years of not winning the division, champagne spraying was warranted. When they won it 2 years later in 2012, it wasn’t.
    Same with the Rays and the Yanks. If the Rays beat the Astros, spray on. But the Yanks beating the Twins? Keep it corked.

    I agree completely that celebration rituals are overdone. Not just the champagne and sheeting, but shirts and pennants for every stage of the win.

    That said, my two favourite “champagne” stories:

    – in 1982, the Cardinals celebrated, at least in part, with sparkling grape juice so that they could include catcher Darrell Porter, a recovering alcoholic, in the celebration

    – in 1986, the famous story about the sheeting in the Red Sox locker room having to be ripped down and the champagne removed quickly after game 6 went sideways on them

    As a hockey fan, I don’t recall any public celebrations after first round, quarterfinal wins, etc. I’m sure there are private celebrations, especially if its a road win and a plane ride home, but not public ones.

    I really hate how almost all Adidas-made soccer kits include the three stripes as a design element – either on the shoulders or on the shorts. It’s really just a way for the manufacturer to plaster a giant-size logo all over. If Nike put a giant swoosh on the shoulders or on the side of the shorts of one of its kits, we’d all have a conniption, but somehow when Adidas does it nobody cares.

    In fairness, they’re not as bad as Kappa in that regard. Stripes are a legitimate design element if you divorce them from the marketing element. Silhouettes of sitting people aren’t.


    Spot on about the champagne Paul. As far as I’m concerned, champagne celebrations (or for that manner, hanging a banner) for anything less than a pennant is lame.

    In a small defense, the game the Cards clinched the WC game they didn’t really do the whole big celebration thing.

    Actually I have been bothered by this phenomenon for quite some time. Everything you detailed is the reason why, compounded by the feeling for me that the goggles shouldn’t even be there because the thought of a baseball player taking his goggles to the yard that day because he is anticipating being a champion saddens me, plus takes away from the spontaneity of it. It should be, wow we won and we get a party I didn’t expect.

    A lot of the issues I find in the on-field celebrations, and not just the post season, but during the regular season as well. Some of that is technology; we now have the ability to see what other teams do to celebrate instantly so we can copy it if it looks cool. I mean, a player hits a double, he looks back at his dugout and makes some sort of gesture, sometimes flexing his muscles. A player hits a walk off homerun, his teammates gather around home plate, bounce in unison as the guy that hit the walk off throws his helmet in the air and joins the jumping. The thing is today it was a Pirates player who did it, yesterday it was a Brewers player and the day before it was a Dodgers player. Same exact show, but the costumes were different.

    I harken back to that acrticle about how the new ballparks have now essentially become the new cookie cutter. Same layout, same old but modern feel, same luxery box, same access to the entire ballpark and the same feel that everything was taken in account so there isn’t an oppretunity for a future expantion making a field have even more personality (like Tiger Stadium did with the outfield bleachers) These newer stadiums are getting harder and harder to discern between, especially with most fields being outfitted with brick backstops. With this, and the players celebrating the exact same way, with the goggles and the champagne gives the feeling that any team winning anything is not really confined to that team, and the players and colors are interchangable. You don’t have the same feel as you did when Ray Knight scored on Bill Buckener’s error and he jumped on homplate and was mombed by his genuinly excited teammates. I do miss the days of the lax security, and I know that will never comeback, but it is such a sight to see the fans on the field after Chris Chambliss sent the Yankees to the World Series, or when Pudge sent the Red Sox to game 7 in 1975. There was something unique and authentic about those moments, and they came back during a time when players weren’t so concerned about showing their true emotions. Players are coached now to say certain things during their press obligations, in fear of revealing too much, that just didn’t exist 30 years ago and it shows with their “I’m not going to let you see the real me” attitude they show on the field.

    “I do miss the days of the lax security, and I know that will never comeback, but it is such a sight to see the fans on the field after Chris Chambliss sent the Yankees to the World Series,”

    God you’re SO right.

    I’m POSITIVE Bob Costas and the entire NBC broadcasting team on the 1984 World Series looks back SO FONDLY and with sadness that they will NEVER get to spend 8 hours essentially trapped in Tiger Stadium as a full scale riot raged around them both on the playing field and outside on the streets of Detroit after the Tigers won the 1984 World Series.

    Just like I’m positive the Yankees/Mets/Tigers and a number of teams have just been THRILLED at having to spend up to $2,000,000 to repair the damage to the stadium and field after the fans stormed and rampaged all over it after a clinching victory.

    I understand how these champagne celebrations are overdone. But, let’s not blame the players. They are not the ones putting the champagne and tv cameras in the room. They are just celebrating accomplishing goal. Be it a division title or advancing to the next round. Have you not seen a team storm the field in a celebration after a walk off win in mid June? This is the post season! Many players never get there. This is what they play for, so give them a break.

    Not only are these celebrations grossly inauthentic, they are not exactly modeling healthy behavior for celebrating a major accomplishment. In what other context in life is this kind of activity even remotely normal?

    You put an unlimited stock of cheap champagne in the middle of my birthday party, you damn well better know bottles are gonna be popped and sprayed!
    (My point is that its not normal, because, well, its not normal!)


    + 1 on being totally over the champagne celebration. I watched the Yankees the other day and two things sprung to mind:

    1. there’s absolutely nothing spontaneous about this. It’s all scripted and feels completely obligatory.

    2. what a waste of champagne. I’m assuming it’s crappy champagne and they’re not out there spraying bottles of Vueve or Cristal, and that kind of makes it worse. The idea of buying cases of champagne simply so you can waste it all just really irritates me.

    After they World Series celebration there is the public booze parade downtown of the winning team’s city. Then to a lesser extent: celebration of the banner on opening day the following season.

    Anyway, you point is well delivered. There is excessive celebration accompanied by sponsors/ads of these celebrations.

    Hey Paul,

    The article today made me go back and watch the White Sox clinching in 1983:


    They actually had the plastic up in the locker room then as well.

    Just found that interesting. I did not recall or expect that.

    I’ve been blessed to experience and view the champagne celebrations from the “inside looking out.” Speaking just for myself, the celebration represented not only winning the division, league championship or even the World Series, it was about the dreams of playing baseball at the Major League level, the hours spent practicing my craft on sandlots and playgrounds while working my way through the Little League program, the sacrifices made by parents and coaches preparing the fields, purchasing equipment when the money spent meant they had to do without, while giving up time with their own families. It played a major part in me achieving the dream that millions of other kids could only hope to realize.

    The process continued through high school and the American Legion program where my performance in the classroom and working a number of entry-level jobs were equally as important as my performance on the basketball courts and baseball fields. I was fortunate that there was a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food on the table and the support of family and community while I pursued that dream. There were a number of times I had to shovel snow from the outdoor courts to practice in the winter as well as run my sprints in the August midwest heat to prepare for my next baseball game.

    The weeding out process continued once I signed a professional contract. Upon arriving in St. Petersburg, Florida, I couldn’t believe the number of top-notch players I saw during those first days in the rookie league. There was more than just once I asked myself if I could make it. But I did. The baseball gods smiled upon me as I made my first Major League start just twenty-seven months after signing my first contract. It was right around this time that I realized making the Majors was the easy part…staying there was the hard part.

    I was called up in mid-June of 1970 and was on a Major League roster until early 1987. I finished my career in 1990. During those years there were a number of ups and downs which included trades, releases, injuries, surgeries and stellar as well as poor on-field performances. Then, there were the other stresses of the business of baseball…uprooting my family and severing community relations, to name a few.

    So, for me, the celebrations not only represented what the team did on the field…not at all…it was about the endurance of the journey to get there. It was a moment to reflect on what it took for the team to reach this pinnacle. More importantly, it was also a time to remember all of those people in the background that put me on the path to be where I was at that moment.

    I watch the celebrations on TV and reflect on the peaks and valleys each of the players, coaches, managers and front office personnel understanding their sacrifices just to be where they were at that moment. I can feel their joy. It’s my wish that everyone could experience the moment as I did.

    Great post Jerry, thank you for taking the time to write about your experience and thoughts!

    I definitely wished there was a way for this blog to include the viewpoint of others besides “just the fans” that have nothing to do with the game other than as spectators!

    Great stuff.


    Apologies if I missed this in the comments, but another issue of the champagne/beer celebrations is how it can alienate the more devoted Muslim players and their aversion to alcohol.

    I’ve definitely heard that as an issue in more international team sports like soccer/football.

    I’m late to the party today, but there is a weird somewhat recent development around the clinch celebrations. It’s a worn out quote that a young teammate will attribute to a team veteran, who told the new guy to not wear goggles and “enjoy the burn, because you don’t know when you’ll get to experience this again.” I’ve seen the Mets, Red Sox, and Nationals say it.

    I too think the celebrations are pretty lame.

    but, I am also not a professional athlete whose whole existence is predicated (in theory) to “winning”. I don’t know the mindset, or the thought process to why they want to celebrate as they do. But they are adults, and can do what they want.

    As a fan, who just happens to not like the celebrations, I turn off the TV before they come on. I know I am not going to get any substance by watching, and since I don’t care for them, I just turn it off.

    What I’m not into is mandating harmless behaviors among people that don’t even know me.


    What I’m not into is mandating harmless behaviors among people that don’t even know me.

    Classic straw man argument. Nobody is mandating anything. Just offered a cultural critique.

    Yes, it’s fine to turn off the TV, just like it’s fine to not go to a movie, not go to a restaurant, not read a book, etc. But it’s also fine to discuss *why* we’re not doing those things. That’s part of cultural dialogue.

    “Nobody is mandating anything” wasn’t meant for you, but if you look at the wording above from many of the commentors, yes, in fact if they had the power, it appears they would mandate the behavior.


    Yeah, by the time I was ready to comment, it was also more about several comments than just your lede.

    I think Jerry up there has a POV.


    Bob Uecker celebrating last year with the Brewers was OUTSTANDING, however.

    For an 84 year old announcer to get still get pumped by the game he loves with players three generations younger than him was great, I thought.


    Nevermind how champagne is cleaned off the carpets of the dressing rooms, but how in the world can they take a filthy uniform after sliding head first into second base third base and home plate and have them bleachy clean for tomorrow’s game is my question.
    Totally agree that a champagne party with full news reporters in the dressing room is well overdone, but for a franchise first cherry for sure.

    Coming in late. Have to say, in this particular instance, I disagree Paul. I love baseball champagne celebrations, and have no issue either the amount of them nor the content.

    Yeah, Nats win a series! You better believe I want to see a champagne party! After 4 gut punch losses, they finally win their first playoff series! You party poopers can kiss my back.side!!

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