I’ve read several columns lauding the Rangers for their classy celebration of their series clinching victory over the Tampa Rays. The celebration included a special shower for the team’s star outfielder and recovering substance addict, Josh Hamilton, that included Canada Dry ginger ale substituted for the usual champagne. The champagne was instead kept on ice while the team celebrated with Josh, and then the team proceeded to hold a separate celebration without Josh with the bubbly stuff. *golf clap* *relatively quiet and polite golf clap*
Don’t get me wrong; the gesture was considerate. The sentiment behind the gesture appeared sincere, and I can’t find fault with that (nor do I wish to do so). I just think that the Rangers missed a really great opportunity. They missed the chance to stand out and do something truly spectacular in a very quiet way. Instead of placing the focus on Josh as a recovering addict, the organization could have made a big statement about addiction in general. Why not eliminate the champagne altogether? Why not have the whole team use ginger ale? After all, it’s a lot less expensive than champagne, so you could certainly get more bang for your buck. Set a different example. Don’t allow millions of impressionable kids to see adults running after each other with bottles of alcohol. Substance abuse and addiction are serious issues. Millions of people watch the post-game celebrations, and many people see clips of those celebrations shown on highlights shows for days afterwards. Those silly images of grown men wearing goggles and shaking champagne bottles make their way to the internet. It’s not necessary at all. It’s also not what kids need to see. It’s time to step up and leave a different impression.
Oh, and I’m not finished. It’s time to leave the tobacco products in the clubhouse as well. If you listen closely as you settle into your seat at Busch Stadium, you’ll hear an announcement about how fans are not allowed to use tobacco products. The Busch Stadium A-Z Guide also specifically mentions that chewing tobacco is not permitted, and the stadium is a smoke-free facility. Yet, how many times have the Fox Sports Midwest cameras panned to the dugout just in time to show a player shoving a large wad of chewing tobacco into his mouth? That’s like free advertising for tobacco companies, by the way. How many times have you seen a player walk past you with a huge lump between his cheek and gum? If MLB won’t step in and do something, then I hope that the Stl. Cardinals will. No more tobacco products at Busch Stadium. No more champagne celebrations. WHEN the Cardinals win their first playoff series of 2011, I hope the ginger ale gets into everything.