Booze in Baseball Celebrations
Originally Aired: Monday, November 1, 2010. This is a part of the 93-Second Sports Shot series. 93-Second Sports Shots air weekday evenings at 6pm.
In addition to being a huge asset to the Texas Rangers roster, the presence of Josh Hamilton has affected the postgame revelry of the team. The traditional dousing in champagne has been switched to ginger ale out of respect for Hamilton’s struggle with alcoholism and recognition of his sobriety. However, this tradition has faced scrutiny in recent years. It seems each year the teams celebrate earlier and earlier into the postseason. Tampa Bay and the Boston Red Sox were both criticized for pouring champagne over one another after mere division series, games before actually winning the World Series. Such excess, if at all appropriate, should be reserved for after winning the whole championship. But when is this type of celebration warranted? Last week, MLB issued guidelines to teams stipulating that they must limit the amount of champagne, provide a non-alcoholic alternative and are not allowed other types of alcoholic beverage, and no drinks are allowed onto the field. In an era in which athletes are increasingly embroiled in scandals, leaving fewer role models in sports, it seems a bit illogical to publicize these types of celebrations. Equating good performance with excessive alcohol consumption sends the wrong message to America’s youth. Coincidentally, a study release this week by a British medical journal reported that alcohol ranks as the most harmful drug of 20, beating out heroin and crack. Showing reckless alcohol consumption by baseball players on TV and in the papers reinforces an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Of course there should be a celebration of the achievements of these players, but champagne showers are not necessarily the best way to express excitement and congratulations.