I’m usurping Bud Selig on this one. I’m railroading the legislation through. I’m going to be judge, jury, and party pooper.
I’m starting the new rule, effective with the 2011 MLB playoffs.
NO champagne celebrations after winning divisional series.
That’s it—record it, stenographer. Have it ready for my signature, forthwith. If I have to fly to New York and enter it into law myself, so be it.
There’s nothing right with acting as if you’ve won some sort of championship, when all you’ve done is advance to your league’s finals.
Yet every year since the Wild Card and, by extension, another layer of playoffs was added to MLB’s post-season, we see the winners of the DS carry on to the hilt—the on-field pile, then the champagne-drenched locker room.
Can you imagine this kind of behavior in other sports?
Winning a divisional series in baseball is no different than surviving the second round in the NBA or the NHL; in all three instances, it means your team is in the Final Four. Nothing more, nothing less.
It’s hardly cause to party as if it was 2099.
I’m not a homer here—I treat the Tigers’ locker room party after they eliminated the Yankees in 2006 no differently. It was over the top, just as all the other post-DS celebrations.
It’s funny, but if you look at old films from World Series celebrations of the 1940s and ’50s, they were amusingly muted. The final out is recorded, and maybe the catcher leaps into the arms of the pitcher. In many scenes I’ve witnessed, there is a simple handshake. A handshake!!
Oh, there might be a few players slapping each other on the back and occasionally hugging, but there wasn’t much to it.
And that was after winning the World Freaking Series.
Yet here we are today, with divisional series winners reacting as if they just found out that their tax rates were slashed to those of poverty level folks.
So what IS the proper way to celebrate a divisional series win?
Just as you do in the aforementioned NHL and NBA, after winning a conference semi-final series.
Some fist and chest bumps, a few slaps on the back, and a proud walk to the locker room, er, clubhouse.
You wanna crack open a bottle at your locker? Then it’d better be pop or Aquafina. Or a beer, tops.
No lining the lockers with protective plastic. I don’t want to see one Andre label. Same rule applies as it does for bats: no cork allowed.
You wanna kick it after winning the LCS? Be my guest; knock yourself out. You’ve won a pennant, after all. You have my permission.
But I’m taking a hard line on the LDS celebrations, my friend. There’s a new party sheriff in town, and he’s going to be raining on your parade, starting next year.