October 06, 2008
I've never heard of anyone becoming drunk by osmosis, but if such a thing were possible, the Rays clubhouse is the place you'd want to start. I just floated to the surface from the soaked-with-suds visitor's clubhouse at U.S Cellular Field and if anything is going to stop the Rays, it might be this propensity to party at every point in the postseason. Having also been privy in the Phillies clubhouse celebration in Milwaukee on Sunday, the only thing I can say is that Tampa Bay's rugrats made Philly's bash look like an absolute tea party. A Chicago media vet said the White Sox didn't even go this crazy when they won the World Series in 2005. You could see the alcohol droplets in the air.
Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks, of course, but to put some sort of perspective on thie contrast, each winning team (Philadelphia and Tampa Bay) was greeted with two gigantic tubs of MLB's sponsor beer after their victories. The Philadelphia players collectively took a few cans to spray around the room before quickly getting tired and turning their attention toward the Dodgers.
However, by the end of the Rays' celebration of beating the White Sox, you could see the bottom of both tubs while most of the contents had been sprayed into the air (and then the carpet) or over the Mohawk of reserve player Jonny Gomes (mostly by himself.)
Speaking of Gomes, the supporter was nowhere to be found, but he did serve again as master of ceremonies, procuring a bottle of tequila to pour for his teammates before slugging from the bottle himself. (Pictured above, thanks AP.)
Since I've often seen fans comment on the champagne poured after winning an LDS series, I asked Rays' wonderboy Evan Longoria his view on the whole issue. How, I asked him, did they justify going wild when there's still a seven-game LCS separating them and a World Series appearance?
Said Evan Almighty:
"As a fan, you don't realize how tough it is to get to this spot. Only eight teams make it and only four teams make it to the next round. That's out of 30. We're going to celebrate every victory and every chance we get, because you know what? It's 166 games later and we're still in it."
Fair enough. SO considering this is the third time the Rays have broken out the champagne (they celebrated upon clinching a playoff spot and then the AL East), has Longoria gotten to the point where he can tell the difference between bubbly and Budweiser getting poured on him?
"Not at all. All I know is that it all smells horrible."
He's right about that. Imagine the worst-smelling fraternity party you've ever been to, multiply it by 100 and then let it ferment for a few months. It's absolutely awful, but oh-so-fun to watch if you can get past the smell. Follow the jump for a picture of Mr. Gomes wearing the goggles Oakley sent him, as well as a picture of manager Joe Maddon getting the business.