It’s a good thing I wasn’t stopped by a cop on the way home.
I was drenched in alcohol. A walking frat house. I would have failed a breathalyzer test from a block away. Just imagine that drunk uncle you always avoid at Thanksgiving.
The explanation I would give the officer, as I dripped on his shoes, was that I was in the Dodgers’ clubhouse celebration at Dodger Stadium. They had just clinched the National League West championship and as is the custom, celebrated by pouring champagne over each other’s head. It’s a wild scene and certainly a unique experience to be a part of.
My job was to interview crazed players for the Dodgers radio network. Try telling a guy putting ice down your back that you need them for a couple of minutes to talk coherently. I was doing okay avoiding the suds until pitcher Chad Billingsley blasted me with a full bottle. Thanks, Chad. From what I could taste, wearing was better than drinking that champagne. Winos would send back this swill.
I felt like I was back in Jr. High, asking girls to dance, except instead of adorable coeds in party dresses these were sodden behemoths in their underwear.
What made the celebration a little bizarre was that it came ten hours after they had clinched, thus cutting down the spontaneity factor by just a tad. The team that was chasing them was eliminated earlier in the day. And the Dodgers still had a game that night. I suggested to manager Joe Torre that they celebrate before the game. I would love to have seen nine guys just staggering out to their positions. The crowd cheers. They all hold their ears. Someone tries to stretch a double to a triple and throws up on the shortstop. They could still beat the Padres, by the way.
I managed to snare a few players and ask them the usual questions. Isn’t it exciting? You never gave up, did you? You get the idea. The question I wanted to ask but just didn’t have the time was:
“How much money did you lose in the stock market this week?”
Thanks to Andre Ethier (pictured above), Jeff Kent, Casey Blake (pictured right), Mark Sweeney, and Joe Beimel for agreeing to go on with me. And Howard Hoffman for the pictures. And Chan Ho Park for spraying that Fox Sports chick and missing me. Howard, I wish you had a shot of her.
I’ve been covering the Dodgers since way back in February and have gotten to know many of the players. I’m happy for the fans but thrilled for them. They’re terrific guys all. The playoffs begin this week. Good luck to your favorite team. Unless they’re playing my favorite team.
Meanwhile, I’m buying a poncho. And lining up a designated driver.