The “Champagne” ritual in baseball gets icy reception

Major League Baseball seeks to make the absurd ritual of victors spraying each other with drinks a non-alcoholic one. Korbel weeps. Catawba producers may break out the bubbly.

The NYT reported on the new guidelines over the weekend: “Teams must limit Champagne; offer a non-alcoholic version; beer and other types of alcoholic drinks are banned; and teams are not allowed to bring the drinks on the field.”

Sadly, the Times echoes most other sports reporting, calling the bubbly uncorked and sprayed all over the players “Champagne” when, as you know, the Dr. Vino spy cam has yet to see an actual bottle of champagne in a plastic-draped locker room this post season.

While I am generally all for defending wine consumption in the public eye, I find it difficult to get too worked up about this latest MLB ruling. Clubs decided to forego champagne in favor of cheaper sparkling wine long ago. And while wine producers might want to bask in the aura of victory, what vintner would want to have their wine consumed out of an athletic cup while wearing ski goggles? I mean really, that would make even more people shudder than just Max Riedel!

The victors certainly deserve a celebration. But they have all off-season to savor the Champagne, with food and friends, without having to wear goggles.

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6 Responses to “The “Champagne” ritual in baseball gets icy reception”

  1. One of my favorite sports to follow is Formula 1 racing. The podium ritual of dousing each other (and your crew chief) with Mumms Champagne is one of the best parts of a race. I mean, what’s wrong with a little exuberant waste among consenting adults? After a good spraying, the remainder of the (very large) bottle is dropped down to the waiting team members to enjoy and hopefully not drop. All in all a great tradition!

    As far as what people might be drinking my wine out of… who cares if it’s my wine they are drinking?

  2. Now that the Giants have won the World Series and we here in San Francisco have doused ourselves in bubbles of every known stripe, it is OK with me if the baseball powers go all PC on us.

    Of course, you are right about the bubbles used in such celebrations. They are not Champagne. But, next year, when those bubbles have no alcohol in them, the announcers will still describe them as champagne.

    And here is an oddity that I should have spotted. Was up in Napa for a wine dinner on Monday night. The dozen of us there were about to sit down with a noted winemaker when we learned that the Giants had pulled ahead. We left the restaurant en masse and headed to the hotel bar where we sat unmoving until it was all over. The winemaker, sensing that he had to get in the spirit of the moment, ordered a couple of bottles of bubbly. It had not occurred to me until now that we northern Californians were drinking Louis Roederer Champagne, not a California bubbly. I think the winemaker missed the point.

  3. Make it rain, I say. Winning a professional championship is such a huge feat. Douse the locker room, and have a beer too. Don’t go driving around or punching fans afterwards, but I think it’s silly to limit the celebration if it’s within the team’s “private domain”.

  4. This all came about because Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers is a recovering alcoholic, and his team sprayed him with ginger ale to respect his sobriety when the won the game to make it into the series. I think the league realized that this may be a problem for some players.

  5. […] all, MLB has decided that there is a need to limit the use of Champagne in celebrations. I disagree with Dr. Vino’s take on the whole thing, but my problem with the idea really has more to do with baseball’s […]

  6. […] agree; the ritual is a little absurd at this point. Allow me to quote myself. Here’s what I wrote in the wake of new rules on locker room celebrations that went into […]


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