Baseball’s Wildest, Weirdest and Wettest Celebration Tradition

MLB's champions douse trophies—and themselves—with locker room champagne sprayings.

Major League Baseball Champagne
The Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate in the locker room after defeating the Miami Marlins and clinching a postseason berth following the MLB game at Chase Field on September 24, 2017 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Sarah Sachs/Arizona Diamondbacks/Getty Images)
By Cory Gunkel / November 2, 2017 9:00 am

Baseball is a sport known for its unwritten rules and traditions, but there’s one wet, sticky custom that its champions invariably follow. After winning a division title or playoff series, the entire team celebrates by dousing the clubhouse in champagne and beer, spraying alcohol all over  its tarp-covered locker room in a show of bizarre solidarity and revelry.

The role of using champagne to toast victory began in the 19th century, according to official MLB historian John Thorn, and has morphed from a fairly quaint process of drinking the bubbly to the rambunctious raucous we see on TV today. It’s become, according to The New York Times, the only true way to honor a big win in the game.

“It’s just one of those traditions that’s been around awhile, so you follow it,” former MLB player Karim Garcia told the paper. “I think it’s the only place that we do it like this.”

Like most customs, the champagne-soaked celebration has evolved over the years. Players now wear custom goggles to protect their eyes from the spraying alcohol, and sometimes reporters and team executives are let in on the fun.

The annual locker room tradition mirrors those of other sports, like NASCAR’s pit row celebration, where drivers drink beer or milk after winning a race. But for baseball, this unique display has taken on a life of its own.

“If the celebration for winning different rounds of the playoffs was an elaborate high five, that’s what everybody would do and then go home,” Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said. “It’s just what people have always done. But if aliens landed from another planet and saw this, they would think it was pretty bizarre.”