Poppin' Bottles

By Kumar, Sujay | Newsweek, October 29, 2012 | Go to article overview

Poppin' Bottles


Kumar, Sujay, Newsweek


Byline: Sujay Kumar

Party like the major leagues.

San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum can dodge a line drive, but the two-time Cy Young winner was no match for a cork that nailed him in the face in a postgame celebration caught on television.

The bubbly-soaked locker-room scene--where grown men giggle, bound around, and douse each other in champagne and other beverages--has become a staple of MLB playoff celebrations. Fifty years ago, it was a small, impromptu affair. "In my day you got cheap champagne splashed over you," former Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton, author of the expose Ball Four, says. He recalls that after winning the pennant in 1963, "we slid around in potato salad. Then we had to go to the laundry."

Chicago White Sox clubhouse manager Vince Fresso explains how things are done now: for home games he buys Pommery in bulk; two bottles per person for a roster and coaching staff of 40. The deeper a trip into the postseason goes, the more wives and friends join in the festivities. For the White Sox's 2005 championship run, Fresso estimates buying 200 bottles. "No matter how much you get," he says, "it's never enough. You always end up using beer."

Clubhouses even prep for celebrations involving players who've battled alcoholism. The Texas Rangers used ginger ale for slugger Josh Hamilton in 2010. This year, the Detroit Tigers showered Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera with nonalcoholic champagne. …

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