Save the champagne celebrations for a real title, please
Updated: October 9, 2008, 12:20 PM ETBy Gene Wojciechowski | ESPN.com
Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesJ.P. Howell, James Shields and Carlos Pena turned a division series win into New Year's Eve.Commissioner Bud Selig can talk all he wants about the "phenomenal success" of the 2008 season, but make no mistake, Major League Baseball faces a crisis that threatens the very core of the game. That's right, I'm talking about champagne celebrations. Enough is enough. Someone needs to explain to the Tampa Bay Rays, even the Boston Red Sox, who should know better, that you pop the cork only when they hand you the really big trophy with all the pennants on it. Instead, big leaguers insist on dousing themselves for simply reaching the playoffs. Don't they realize that nearly 25 percent of the teams make it to the postseason? So it's not like you climbed K2 on your knees.
NFL players don't have a choice. The league prohibits alcohol in the locker room. It's been that way since Pete Rozelle was commissioner. But big leaguers keep wasting valuable champagne on non-championship moments. Equally disturbing is the sight of ballplayers spraying, sigh, lite beer. What's next, wine spritzers? And if you're going to do the champagne showers, at least man up enough to skip the protective eyewear. I've been in those clubhouses lately. It's embarrassing. Players are wearing swim goggles, even ski goggles. Before long they'll be wearing wet suits or deep-sea copper diving helmets. David Ortiz can play with an injured left wrist, but he's afraid of a little champagne spray? Big Papi is a big wussie. Champagne is supposed to sting the eyes. That's the charm of it. And whose idea was it to erect these elaborate plastic curtains in front of the lockers? Nuh, uh. If a sportswriter has to get his clothes soaked while trolling for quotes during the postgame celebration, the ballplayers' civvies should be available for dousing. If Selig really cares about baseball, he should get all mavericky and do what's in the best interests of the game. He has the power. Use it. No more champagne celebrations unless actual championship hardware has been issued. No more goggles allowed within a flying cork of the clubhouse. I mean, even Michael Phelps doesn't wear goggles when he parties. The madness must stop. Bud, are you listening? Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at email@example.com.
AP Photo/Charles KrupaJonathan Papelbon and David Ortiz with the newest in champagne celebration attire: goggles.
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