I'm a hockey fan, obviously. I'm also a Cardinals fan -- they're my first sports love, and while I might first and foremost consider hockey my favorite sport, the Cards are my favorite team. I've written here before how hockey's allowed me to appreciate the Cardinals' World Series wins. The Blues've never won the Cup, and the Cardinals have won the most World Series in the National League. The fact that the Blues can't seem to seal the deal makes me appreciate what the Cardinals have accomplished even more. It's not easy to win a sports championship, and it's not easy to make the playoffs.
This year in Major League Baseball, it's easier than usual to make the playoffs with the addition of a second wild card slot. If the Cardinals win their game tonight (they're winning 1-0 at the time of this writing), they'll be in and facing off against the Braves at Turner Field on Friday. The question swirling around tonight (or whenever they clinch) might not be who the starter needs to be Friday. It might be if they need to pop the bubbly. I hate to be a buzzkill, but I don't think that they do.
Hockey players wait until they win the Stanley Cup (or whatever their league trophy is) before they celebrate. Sure, the t-shirts come out when they win their divisions and their conferences, but teams have their eyes on one thing, and the only thing worth popping the bubbly over is that grand prize. Getting into the playoffs when in any other previous season you'd be at home? Maybe pop a Busch Light.
I know ballplayers love their celebrations, and there's nothing wrong with being happy. I'm just saying that maybe some restraint is in order. But hey, at least we're not the Reds, who apparently made up their own trophy to drink from upon winning the division. That's just wrong, regardless of where you stand on the celebratory rule.
Still, the Cardinals -- and other ball clubs -- could take a hint from hockey players. Get focused boys, and bring home a real reason to spray champagne.