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Brennan: reign in the post-clinching booze-blasts

Oct 5, 2012, 10:00 AM EDT

Nationals Werth shakes beer and champagne out of his hair while celebrating with teammates after they defeated the Phillies in Washington

We see a lot of beer and champagne celebrations after teams clinch, well, everything. When I’m feeling particularly grumpy and humorless I tend to think that maybe teams should save such celebrations until they win the pennant at the very least because, really, these things are getting a bit rote and scripted and isn’t one celebration enough?

When I’m not feeling grumpy, however — and that’s most of the time — I realize that these are grown men who can and should be able to do whatever the hell they want. And in no instance is my objection to them going to be some sort of puritanical “this is all too much alcohol and debauchery” thing. Unlike Buzz Killington here:

The stunning excess exhibited in these celebrations is perhaps the biggest problem of all. This isn’t a matter of just popping a cork or two or 10; this is an all-out, binged-up, beer and champagne blast. It would be one thing if it were being done in private, but it’s not. It’s there for all of us to see, and it will repeat itself over and over again in the coming weeks.

That was actually Christine Brennan of USA Today, who could not be reached for comment because she was off thinking of the children someplace. Mostly Bryce Harper, who she mentions a lot in this story even though it seemed like the Nationals and Harper took great pains to not have the underage kid drink. Fair enough, though. You don’t want scenes of teenagers boozing it up.

Beyond that, however, I’d personally rather see these team-sanctioned booze blasts than to have them curtailed, which encourages the players to go out on the town to party.  Because if it’s official, you have to imagine that the team is making sure the players all have sober rides home. And as far as I can recall, we’ve never had a DUI incident after one of these clinching blow-outs.  Do it off-site and you’re inviting chaos.

  1. delawarephilliesfan - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    Clinch a Playoff Berth, Clinch the Division, Win the LDS, Win the LCS, Win the World Series…..

    I have to say, sometimes it does get old. And the oddest one (to me) is winning the LDS. You already celebrated winning the regular season, and you aren’t even to the Wolrd Series yet… that really cause for celebration?

    This is America, teams should do as they please. But it does seem silly the extent to which it has grown.

    • Francisco (FC) - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:37 AM

      Hey! You left out the Wild Card game! I’m sure there will be plenty of champagne for that one 😀

      I think it’s because you celebrate as you march into the next phase. And the Division clinching is primarily because that’s actually a flag that goes up on the stadium (unlike Wildcard or LDS winner).

      Correct me if I’m wrong though, but did the Nats have a big celebration for clinching the playoffs? They put on some Tees but I’m not aware if they did a big bash. I remember Davey Johnson saying they were focusing on the division, not the wild card.

      • delawarephilliesfan - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:52 AM

        No, I didn’t forget the Wild Card – you would replace that one with the Clinching Division.

        And I don’t recall what the Nats did on the Playoff clincher – my comments were in gerenral (those fans get very sensitive at perceived slights).

      • natstowngreg - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:57 PM

        The Nats in general, and Davey in particular, made a big point of not doing much for the playoff clincher. There were fireworks (normally banned at Nats Park due to the lawyers and NIMBY crowd), the scoreboard proclaimed the feat in large letters, and they broke out the caps and t-shirts. That was about it. The Nats saved the real celebration for the division clinching.

  2. sictransitchris - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    A great point about the players being under the team’s watchful eye; never even crossed my mind.

  3. klbader - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    I hate to compare football to baseball because baseball is the vastly superior sport, but football teams manage to reign in their celebrations until they have actually won something meaningful. Still, it’s up to the players and teams to decide, so I don’t see anything wrong with the celebrations if that is what the players want to do.

    • natslady - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:32 AM

      Now that is funny. I mean in football, don’t they penalize players for excessive celebrations in the endzone? One touchdown and there is spiking, jumping in the stands, kissing fans, you name it. Yeah, football ….

      • natslady - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:42 AM

        Prolly going to hit the spam block for posting too much this morning but the idea of holding up FOOTBALL as “restrained” has me LMFAO.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:48 AM

      but football teams manage to reign in their celebrations until they have actually won something meaningful

      12/32 – 37.5%
      4/30 – 13.3%

      Roughly 3x as many football teams make the playoffs than baseball (save this year). NBA/NHL is even worse with half the teams making the playoffs. As I said in the other thread, teams like the Yanks or Sox should curtail their celebrations because their goal is the WS with all the playoff appearances they’ve had. But teams like Wash/Bal can celebrate all they want. Or worse, look at teams like Pittsburgh, who have had a losing season for the last 20 years. Or what about the Royals (read some of Jazayerli’s comments like the Royals have never had a 7 game win streak in the last such and such years, all other teams have done it multiple times)?

      • nyetjones - Oct 5, 2012 at 11:08 AM

        Hate to wreck the argument, but it’s 10 out of 30 MLB teams that make the playoffs.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 5, 2012 at 11:18 AM

        teams like Pittsburgh, who have had a losing season for the last 20 years.

        If they manage a winning season next year I wouldn’t blame them for handing out T-Shirts and spilling champagne!

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:44 PM

        Hate to wreck the argument, but it’s 10 out of 30 MLB teams that make the playoffs.

        Holy crap, how did I screw that up? No more posting in the morning without a drink for me.

    • madhatternalice - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:41 PM

      Seriously? Every single play ends with a celebration of whatever accomplishment just happened. “I sacked him!” or “Hey, I earned three yards!”

      This would be the equivalent of Jim Thome hitting a single, getting to first base, and then doing the cabbage patch.

  4. brewcrewfan54 - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    Teams should certainly celebrate as they move on in the playoffs but ot should be tempered by what round it is. As for the people who think these men shouldn’t celebrate with alcohol or any other legal substance, they can get bent. If they choose to dump it on each other instead of drinking it, that’s their choice.

  5. natslady - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    I’m sorry, Mr. Killington, which part of this is a show we are putting on here do you not grasp? Of course it’s done in public for all to see and you betcha it’s planned and staged, like dogpiles and Presidents races. That doesn’t make it any less fun for fans who paid their money for 5 hopeless seasons and players who ground through 162 games.

  6. brianforster - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    seems pretty justified to me, there are so many baseball games in a season and so few days off. let them celebrate.

  7. mreezybreezy - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:39 AM

  8. hushbrother - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    And you’re reading USA Today because …?

  9. brazcubas - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    Seems appropriate to me, what will the roaring 20s be without prohibition? Gotta get the ball rolling if we’re gonna get the amendment passed in time.

  10. roverboy1949 - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    If you don’t want to watch these big kids celebrate after winning, then the remote control gives you that option. I think in the past eras there probably was a lot of actual drinking of the bubbly(Mickey Mantle and his group, for example), but in the modern age of statistics and pressure to succeed, I think there is more pouring on each other than drinking going on. Winning is everything to these players. When they finally reach the next level, they have earned the release that these celebrations give them. Sorry, Ms. Brennan, but you are way off on this one. It’s refreshing to see them enjoy the ” thrill of Victory”. That never gets old. Sometimes, big kids just want to have fun.

  11. jimmyp70 - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    Isn’t Harper Mormon? He wouldn’t be partaking even if it were legal.

    If she wants to be this touchy, she should criticize MLB for looking the other way on the DUIs the players get.

  12. roverboy1949 - Oct 5, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    By the way, even as a Red Sox fan, I have always had the greatest respect for Mickey Mantle. I even had his autographed picture when I was a kid. Yankee fans, please don’t yell at me for using him as an example in my previous post.

  13. kkolchak - Oct 5, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Christine Brennan, yet another horrible sportswriter to come from the Washington ComPost stable of hack sportswriters, just trying keep pace with omnipotent mega-former Post douchebags Kornheiser and Wilbon.

  14. Brian Donohue - Oct 5, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    I’ll be raked for this, but personally I’d rather see them whooping it up around a hookah or passing a bong or a joint around. Of course, anything in excess — even as a mere display — is at best questionable; but alcohol in manifest, prurient excess is both physical and psychological poison. I can’t put any sunshine on it, because it lacks even spontaneity (the goggles, environmental trappings, etc.). God, if you’re going to script and prop it so, do the thing right (Mentos in ginger ale).

    The celebration-moments I remember best have nothing to do with the booze, and usually revolve around the on-field spontaneity between players and fans. I still recall Boggs going around the track at YS on that police horse.

    • 4cornersfan - Oct 5, 2012 at 3:36 PM

      Or pop a tab of Owsley Lightening and dance in the sunshine with flowers in your hair.

      • 4cornersfan - Oct 5, 2012 at 3:38 PM

        I mean Lightning. One of the flowers dropped on the keyboard.

  15. cur68 - Oct 5, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    Life’s short. Have fun. Smile a lot. Laugh even more.

    • indaburg - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      Good advice. Feeling any better?

  16. lumpyf - Oct 5, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    Written by a woman. Gee, what a surprise.

    • indaburg - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      Aw, really? You had to go there. She’s a killjoy who just happens to be a woman. Apparently, Christine Brennan never went to college. What little I remember of my first two years, it was an “all-out, binged-up beer” blast. I still can’t look at a Milwaukee’s Best without getting queasy. Ugh. We were poor. Anyhow, these boys don’t get many opportunities to party.

      My only beef with the bacchanalia is that it seems forced for teams that repeatedly make the post-season. It’s a little repetitive, but that’s ok. I can just turn off the tv, and they can drink and be merry to their hearts content.

      • 4cornersfan - Oct 5, 2012 at 5:36 PM

        Naw, she’s a woman and a killjoy who wants to rain on the parade of anybody looking for a little fun. Wait! I think I might have been married to her!

      • indaburg - Oct 6, 2012 at 3:10 PM

        My condolences.

    • natslady - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      Posted by a jerk, what a surprise. Don’t agree with a writer, fine. I don’t either. Good luck getting laid unless you pay for it.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:40 PM

        You don’t pay for sex, you pay them to leave.

  17. rcali - Oct 5, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    “Get off my lawn!”

  18. temporarilyexiled - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Considering how long the season is, I can totally understand doing what they do…and at the first possible moment. Save these kind of articles for all the spring training druken driving and mayhem.

  19. kkolchak - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Maybe they should stick to buttchugging instead. 😀

  20. razorbyrd - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    I can see if a team has won 7 out of the last 10 Division Titles, but in defense of the Nationals, it’s the team’s FIRST EVER Division Championship. I think they can be forgiven for a little excessive celebration…

  21. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Frankly, this is typical writing from someone in the national media, like the USAtoday. These are people who live off telling other people how much electricity they should use…how much gas they should use…how much food they should eat…how much soda they should drink. It is elitism at its finest and, come on all of you HBT commenters, if she wasn’t ripping on a baseball tradition of excessive beer and champagne celebrations, tell me you wouldn’t be right along side her? Yeah right…you’d be saying “Yeah, you millionaires…wasting all that beer and champagne…showing how rich you are and the excess you can waste because you are all so rich when the economy is so bad” Most of you would be right there with her.

    But for HBT(and this is HardBALLTalk so I’m not saying it is surprising or wrong), baseball trumps everything…politics…religion…sex. LOLZ

    • 4cornersfan - Oct 5, 2012 at 5:30 PM

      I can’t say I agree with your general statement about HBT commenters ripping sports millionaires. Some do, some don’t. I don’t. Those guys earn their money by investing their life in a career that is very uncertain and where everybody but a very few fail.

    • historiophiliac - Oct 5, 2012 at 7:21 PM

      Dude, don’t even put sex on the table. What are you doing? Think, man!

  22. xmatt0926x - Oct 5, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    The only celebration I thought was odd was the Braves boozefest. I have no problem with that team and wouldn’t mind seeing them win it all. I just thought it was odd seeing them go crazy about being in the wildcard game. To me its almost more of playing 1 game to see which of the 2 wildcard teams will THEN be in the playoffs so why celebrate so hard over just a 1 game entry chance. Other than that, hell, if you win a division celebrate like crazy. As far as the writer goes and her reasoning, she may be overreacting just a bit.

  23. Tim's Neighbor - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    It’s a lot more fun watching my team celebrate with beer and champagne. When other teams do it, it seems a bit more extravagant and unnecessary.

  24. natstowngreg - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    In honor of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ first record release, I shall rein in any impulses to correct the title of this post.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Oct 5, 2012 at 2:01 PM

      I watched the Fabs on the Ed Sullivan Show, and have no impulse control, so: In the early 1980s, Tim Raines reigned as the NL stolen base king because opponents just could not rein him in, except for when the game was rained out.

      • natstowngreg - Oct 5, 2012 at 5:14 PM

        Well done.

  25. historiophiliac - Oct 5, 2012 at 1:59 PM


    She meant to say: Stop with the Miller Lite, for the love of God!!!!

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Oct 5, 2012 at 2:03 PM

      I wouldn’t drink the stuff if actual beer were available, but for pouring on one another how bad could it be?

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