After The Yankees managed a spot in the playoffs in september, they gathered in the lobby of their hotel in buffalo, ny, in masks and removed them for a short bowl of champagne.
After the Tampa Bay Rays won the American League East crown a few days later, they gathered outside Citi Field and two outfielders, Brett Phillips and Randy Arozarena, held the first of their several dance-offs this fall. Weeks later, they held another close to the visitor’s excavation of Petco Park in San Diego after wins its AL division series.
After the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves to advance to their third world series in four years, third baseman Justin Turner said a group of teammates met in one of the outdoor spaces they were allowed to use at the quarantine hotel and reminisced about the series and its outstanding moments.
But there, as on almost every other notable milestone during this post-season pandemic, something was missing.
“I’ll tell you what, man,” beams Mike Zunino after the Tampa Bay beat the Houston Astros to reach the World Series, “there’s nothing better than spraying bottles and wearing glasses, and it’s still seeping through and burning your eyes. . ”
So much about the 2020 season has been changed by the coronavirus pandemic, including how teams can party. Violates long-standing baseball tradition, milestones that for years were accompanied by rough and sudsy party, by clubhouses wrapped in plastic wrap and spray of beer and champagne and over-the-top celebrations, has been more subdued in October than before.
Because of the strict health and safety guidelines for the season, which includes strict rules to limit time indoors and social distancing, Major League Baseball told its teams that they “must avoid unhealthy behavior.” Team members can face discipline if they do not comply, said a league official.
Then the usual champagne and beer showers went out, and in came the stupid string, confetti and dance. Drinks are still allowed – without spraying – but players are now more likely to sit down in a chair with a beer than pound five of them at once.
“The champagne stuff is always fun, and it’s a cool baseball thing,” said Dodgers outfielder AJ Pollock. “Do I miss it? Yes a little. Will it make it less special? Absolutely not.
“We enjoy each other. We celebrate each other in different ways. That ring is the ultimate goal, and it’s kind of all the motivation you need. ”
Added to Ray’s second baseman Brandon Lowe: “Champagne burn is definitely something that can not be replaced. I did not think I would miss it after last year ”- when the Rays lost to Houston in the division round -“ but it is definitely something to miss. Right now it is an adjustment of what 2020 is. We have found our ways to rejoice. ”
The rays certainly have. After fans loved social media videos of their first dance-off, Arozarena and Phillips did it again after beating the Yankees. Arozarena, who watches dance and music videos in his spare time, beat Phillips in his rematch by interrupting some surprising break-dance moves, including what he considered an achievable headspin.
“I had saved it a great moment,” Arozarena said recently in Spanish. “I lost, so I thought, ‘I have to use this move, or I’ll lose again. “”
But after the Rays topped the Astros in the AL Championship Series, their celebration was calmer, at least in public. They did not dance or drink and smoke cigars in the excavation or mock their battered opponents with music from a portable speaker as they did when they played Yankee Stadium founder Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York,” after defeating the Yankees.
Instead, they hugged, received their World Series hats and T-shirts on the field and posed for photos before moving the joy out of sight. When a Rays player later came out of the excavation with a beer and set course for where some families were waiting near the third baseline, an official stopped him and asked him to put the drink back. He did so, went out to the families and fired confetti in front of them.
Alcohol is allowed during the mail season, but according to MLB only in certain areas and in limited quantities. Most players said they were happy with the restrictions.
“It does not matter if it is champagne or water,” said Arozarena. “Reaching the World Series is the most important thing, and we did it.”
For those who have longed for the usual and, um, more festive celebration, however, a postponement may be on the way. Zunino said he had been told that the team that won the World Series – tied in one game each piece between the Rays and Dodgers that went in on Friday – would be allowed to spray bottles and feel the eye burn again.
According to an MLB official, a traditional Champagne celebration is really the plan.