Orioles gamers, coaches and personnel funneled into the clubhouse after an 11-inning tussle with the Tampa Bay Rays, every donning vibrant orange shirts with “Take October” plastered throughout the chest. Manager Brandon Hyde lifted his hat barely up off his brow with a sigh of reduction and raised a Budweiser in his proper hand to handle the plastic-wrapped room.
“Wouldn’t have done it any other way today,” Hyde mentioned of the Orioles’ 5-4 win that doubled their lead within the American League East and got here quickly after the Texas Rangers’ loss solidified the group’s first journey to the playoffs since 2016. “Absolute grind. So proud of you guys this whole year.”
With every phrase out of the fifth-year supervisor’s mouth, one other bottle of champagne popped in anticipation of a second this crew has longed for. “The first step,” Hyde mentioned. And once more, “This is the first step,” as every bottle of Bouvet champagne scored the postgame speech. “We’re gonna keep doing this because this [stuff] is fun. This is why we do this. This is step one of many celebrations. Here we go!”
The room erupted. Right fielder Anthony Santander was first to crash the center of the circle to douse his supervisor. Players continued to embrace and pour drinks over each other, filling squinted eyes. Pitcher Kyle Gibson half-jokingly discouraged his teammates from sporting the bright-green-banded goggles. “The burn is the best part,” he mentioned.
“I used ‘em in like 2017 [with the Minnesota Twins] and then I couldn’t see anything,” Gibson continued. “So you know what? I said, ‘Heck. I’m going to enjoy the burn.’ It only burns for a little bit and you’re not guaranteed to ever feel that burn again.”
Pent-up power of a demanding near a consequential sport and the fruits of a rebuild years within the making permeated by the clubhouse within the type of alcoholic showers and wide-grinning smiles puffing on celebratory cigar smoke.
“It’s a big milestone to lose 110 games two years ago and then clinch to go to the postseason,” Hyde mentioned. “So everybody that’s involved, I’m just happy for them. I didn’t get a ton of words out because all of a sudden, we had a lot of spraying going on but I want them to really enjoy this moment and they deserve to celebrate and they’ve earned it. But we still have ways to go.”
No two MLB clubhouse celebrations are the identical. The personalities and power distinctive to rosters and cities shine the brightest within the shared pleasure.
Baltimore’s postgame festivities have been a peek backstage right into a crew that solely not too long ago slogged by a number of 100-loss seasons and emerged out the opposite aspect on tempo to eclipse 100 wins.
“Most of us came up together, so the camaraderie here is unmatched,” mentioned pitcher Dean Kramer, who went 5 innings and a batter deep, permitting one run with 5 strikeouts in Sunday’s win. “They’re basically my best friends.”
It was Kyle Bradish in control of music to kick off the celebration.
The pounding bass intro to cultural anthem “SkeeYee” by Sexyy Red met the top of Hyde’s speech. Then Bradish congregated his teammates for the refrain to Lil Uzi Vert’s “Just Wanna Rock.” The pitcher performed “Transportin’” by Kodak Black subsequent — Adley Rustchman knew each phrase to that one — adopted by “Day ‘N’ Nite” by Kid Cudi.
Bradish later handed the Bluetooth speaker over to Santander, who shifted the vibes to replicate his Latin American roots. He danced to songs like “A Partir De Esa Dia” by Fao Fao then “Taki Taki” by DJ Snake.
And because the clubhouse slowly cleared out, leaving solely the gamers, Santander ran “SkeeYee” as soon as extra.
James McCann and Jack Flaherty directed a lot of the managed chaos.
The crew’s veteran catcher and their most coveted deadline acquisition dealt with “homer hose” duties. Neither let anyone get a cross from crouching to a knee and chugging as teammates poured further champagne over prime.
Shintaro Fujinami, who pitched 2/3 innings Sunday, permitting a success and a stroll with a strikeout, performed the relatable a part of the pal who wants solely a few drinks earlier than telling everybody how a lot he loves them. Fujinami leaped into his teammate’s embrace. And he locked arms to chug a beer with fellow reliever Yennier Cano.
Somewhere in Fujinami’s cellphone digital camera roll is a selfie video of him down on a knee, arm stretched vast to document himself taking a flood of champagne to the face.
Then got here the Heston Kjerstad concoction. The 24-year-old proper fielder, who was promoted Thursday and crushed his first house run a day later in his third profession at-bat, climbed right into a clubhouse laundry cart — a longstanding clubhouse custom typically used to rejoice profession firsts.
Kjerstad sat deeply within the cart along with his legs and arms hanging out the edges whereas his teammates drowned him in a medley of liquids.
It was beer and champagne. It was Chick-fil-A sauce and olive oil. Players collected copious smoothie flavors to dump on Kjerstad’s head. Salad dressing, mango salsa, ice cream, juice and even a watermelon all made their means on and across the rookie following the primary sequence of his massive league profession.
Making his strategy to his locker at one level, Gibson bent over to swipe a number of champagne bottle corks and tuck them into his locker. They’ve develop into little mementos at his home. Gibson mentioned his children love seeing them.
“They feel like they’re a part of it,” he mentioned. “You enjoy each moment, find little things to take with you so you can think back on these times because not every day’s fun, but you don’t get to do this a lot, so you’ve got to enjoy it.”
The Orioles certainly loved it. They nearly needed to rejoice after a loss, which certainly would’ve dampened the temper, asconsecutive Tampa Bay house runs within the prime of the eighth gave the Rays a 3-1 lead. But a comeback that largely showcased the crew’s resilient spine earned them each single popped bottle of champagne.
“We had some discussions about what we wanted to do here after the game, whether win, loss, clinch, whatever,” Gibson mentioned. “Ultimately, it came down to you’re never guaranteed to get to do this again. So whenever you get the chance, you take the chance and you enjoy it. … It’s really cool to get to sit back and see guys that have been through that really get to enjoy this moment.”
The Orioles sniffed a little bit of success final 12 months having been within the playoff hunt till the ultimate days. But this 12 months, they may style it. They earned an opportunity to bask within the cigar-lit, champagne- and beer-soaked glory of a playoff berth.
“This is the greatest day of my life,” Ryan Mountcastle mentioned. “Champagne tastes a little bit sweeter.”
Baltimore Sun reporters Nathan Ruiz and Jacob Calvin Meyer contributed to this text.