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The Champagne Room

September 28, 2010 1 comment

That’s what they might as well start calling the Phillies locker room.

As entertaining as it was to watch Roy Halladay wheel and deal en route to another complete game shutout, watching the 2010 Phillies celebrate their fourth straight NL East title was the highlight of last night’s broadcast on Comcast Sports Net.

The media constantly talks up this team’s clubhouse chemistry, so it’s fun to get a rare glimpse at these popular personalities interacting with each other off the diamond.

Choooooooooch should have this down to a science by now

Anyone who hates Chris Wheeler, and there are plenty of those folk out there, had to love the string of pathetic interviews that started the celebration coverage. He actually started on an up note by borrowing Chooch, the definition of fan favorite, for a minute. Now that his English is just passable to complete an on-camera interaction, Ruiz has been the subject of many postgame segments lately, and it is must-see TV. As much as I laugh my ass off, the exchanges are not very productive, and Wheeler’s lame-ass “gracias amigo” with a heinous accent to conclude the interview was flat out uncomfortable.

Then he followed that up with two blockbuster Q & A sessions with Mike Sweeney and Brian Schneider, two players who had to be in the bottom five contributors to the accomplishment that was being celebrated. Wow, Wheels really has some pull in the locker room. I guess he just couldn’t quite land the Greg Dobbs interview, so he had to settle for those two.

Speaking of frustrating guys to watch celebrate, thankfully I didn’t see any footage of Kyle Kendrick opening a bottle of champagne, but I guarantee he popped the cork high and outside.

All kidding aside, it was fantastic to watch what has become an annual ritual. J-Roll walking around with the TV camera in hand. A ski goggled Ryan Howard spraying some bubbly. Jayson Werth hopefully not drenching these teammates for the last time. Victorino darting around the room with a smile on his face. Brad Lidge calmly enjoying some Bud Light, knowing that shaking up a bottle of champagne would probably aggravate his infamous elbow. And good ol’ Charlie, sitting in what seems like a wise man’s rocking chair, reflecting on another utterly successful regular season.

Does Werth really want to give up this yearly fiesta for a few extra shekels?

At this point, there’s no longer any doubt that the Fightins of the last few years are the best Philadelphia team in my 20-plus year tenure as a fan here, and watching this scene reminded me that the likeability of nearly each and every major personality makes each team accomplishment doubly sweet for a fan base that takes its sports so personally.

I wonder how an Eagles locker room celebration would be received by the fans these days. Of course the clash of Andy Reid and Stewart Bradley’s Mormon influence with Mike Vick and DeSean Jackson’s tweet-worthy Va. Beach/Long Beach party style would be awkward to start. And with the amount of animosity boatloads of fans have expressed toward the coaching staff, recently-jailed QB, and management, one has to think that contrary to all Philadelphia fan instinct, a bunch of people around here might actually find a Birds party tough to watch.

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