SAN FRANCISCO – Brandon Belt said he almost forgot how much it burns when you put champagne in your eyes.
Despite wearing a pair of ski goggles, she quickly remembered what a sensation Monday night was like inside the Giants Clubhouse.
“It burns great. I mean, we absolutely love it,” Belt said. “We’re enjoying the moment, there’s going to be a blast.”
Division title is in their sight, the Giants’ No. 1 goal at the moment isn’t just a playoff spot. Still, they didn’t mind celebrating their playoff-clinching 9-1 victory over the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park.
Champagne, of course, was sprayed and beer was consumed, as is the custom whenever a baseball team makes the postseason, wins the division, or wins a playoff round. Meanwhile, manager Gabe Kapler enjoyed a glass of Scotch while talking to the media via Zoom.
— Brian Bannister (@RealBanny) September 14, 2021
“I thought it was appropriately celebrated on the field by our group and maybe a little rowdy and a little bit more happening in the clubhouse after that,” said Kapler, “which is a good way to do it.”
Third baseman Ivan Longoria said that a few days ago, some members of the Giants discussed whether to celebrate the traditional, noting that they were still trying to clinch the National League West title.
That goal is still far away. After Monday’s games, the Giants are still 2½ games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place — and their magic number to win the division is 16.
So the conclusion was – you have to celebrate these achievements when you can. For the older players, this could be their last crack in the World Series. For the less experienced, this may be their only shot.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the postseason,” said Longoria, whose last playoff game was in 2013 when it was with Tampa Bay. (in 2016). That’s why I think celebrating is the right thing to do.
“Making postseason is special. It’s an experience that, I think, everyone should have when you get there. It’s exciting (in the clubhouse). I know everyone is very happy to have at least one match at home and then hopefully we will go there and win the division. That has been our goal from the beginning.”
young people battling with their glasses pic.twitter.com/0XImBknVLE
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 14, 2021
“I think it’s been five years since we’ve been able to do this. Obviously, there’s more work to do,” Giants catcher Buster Posey said. “But I think it’s important to celebrate the opportunity to play in the playoffs and the hard work that went into it. It’s good to celebrate it with everyone.”
That core group of players who won the World Championships in San Francisco — Belt and Brandon Crawford and Posey — couldn’t be sure they got a single after considering what the Giants have been through since losing to the Cubs. Another crack will be found in the deep postseason race. In the 2016 NL Divisional Playoffs.
The Giants finished fifth and last in the NL West in 2017 with just 64 wins. The following season, they were fourth with 73 wins. They finished third in the last two years, barely missing the pandemic-shortened playoffs in the 2020 season.
After all this, he had a reason to celebrate on Monday.
“When you’re younger it’s easier to take it when you get to the playoffs,” Belt said. “But after the last five years, it’s something we won’t take lightly.
“We’re just going to enjoy it, but we have a lot more to do.”