On Saturday night, the Phillies clinched the NL East and afterwards had a giant champagne dousing celebration in the locker room. The Phillies then proceeded to lose the next six games. While the Phillies have clinched the NL East and home-field throughout the playoffs, so effectively all their remaining games are completely meaningless, it still looks bad for them to lose all of them, or even a majority of them. It also gives them zero momentum going into the playoffs. This situation brings up the sticky (no pun intended) situation of how often should a team celebrate?
First, I have no fault with a team that has won the World Series to celebrate as much as possible, even to the point of passing out drunk. That is the culmination of the entire season, the pinnacle, and something that deserves the biggest celebration possible. It also is the end, and afterwards, there is no baseball to be played for months. So the all-out champagne celebration after winning the World Series is completely appropriate.
However, what about celebrating before winning the World Series?
This is where I think the champagne celebration has gotten out of control lately. Teams not only celebrate like that after winning the World Series, but after clinching a playoff birth, after winning the first round of the playoffs, and after winning the second round of the playoffs. So basically a team that wins the World Series has four different champagne celebrations in about a month. This is crazy to me, and no other sport seems to act this way.
Just imagine the NFL worked this way. First, a team would celebrate after winning their division. Then the team would celebrate after winning first, second, and third round playoff games (if they played three games). That’s four celebrations before even playing a down in the Super Bowl. Then of course they’d have the Super Bowl celebration if they won. This would be insanity, and NFL teams just don’t do this.
Yet baseball seems fine having champagne celebrations as much as possible. Its even more egregious if the team celebrating is a veteran team that has won many times before. The Phillies had won the NL East the past four years, yet still found winning it a fifth year in a row warranted an all out champagne spraying party. Its not like they were an up and coming team that hadn’t won in a long time. I could see if the Pirates had managed to win their division after 20 years of futility that it might warrant a huge celebration. But a team that was expected to win since spring training, and who had won the last four years?
Even if you give it to the Phillies that they worked their butts off all year to get to that point, and they deserved some celebrating after the long baseball season, then why do they keep doing it in playoffs? Why in the hell does winning the first round of a division series warrant an all out champagne celebration? Its only the first round, and they still have so much more meaningful baseball to be played. Its seems like hubris or arrogance or maybe just blindly going along with tradition. Yet, above all it seems wrong.
I think a veteran team like the Phillies(or the Yankees or Red Sox) needs to put their foot down and stop this insanity. They need to not celebrate after winning a divisional series, or even after winning a league championship series. They simply have to walk into their locker room, get dressed, go to the press conference, and if asked why they aren’t celebrating, state, “We are not going to celebrate until we have reached our ultimate goal, winning the World Series.” Its simple, and would make them look classy and set a great example. What team would you fear more in World Series, the team that spent the day after winning the league championship series hungover from partying all night, or the team that got a good nights sleep and woke up early with a determination in their eyes to win the ultimate prize?
Let’s end this lunacy….