10/28/2002 02:34 am ET
Time to get this party started
Angels celebrate first-ever World Series title
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com
Angels celebration set for Tuesday
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The scene in the Angels' clubhouse after they claimed Game 7 of the 2002 World Series could best be described as soggy pandemonium. The group was raucous, the music was loud, the hooting and hollering was defeaning, and the champagne flew. Everywhere.
Quick: When is the only time you will hear these words from stately Jackie Autry, widow of late Anaheim Angels owner Gene Autry: "Oh my, I believe that just dribbled down my drawers."
Answer: Only after the Angels clinch a World Series title and Tim Salmon pours a bottle of champagne over Autry's head.
The players helped themselves to a bottomless pit of the bubbly, uncorking, shaking and spraying the bottles in a jublilant celebration of their first-ever World Series title.
Said hitting coach Mickey Hatcher, after Salmon poured a bottle of the cold stuff over his head, "We need to have warm champagne, that's what we need. It hurts. I get like a brain headache, it gets so cold."
Luckily, Hatcher had goggles on -- the true sign of someone who's been here before. In fact, the blue goggles that the former outfielder wore on this night were the same ones he had on 14 years ago when the 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series.
A few feet away, bullpen coach Bobby Ramos loudly expressed what he views as the biggest perk to being a World Series champion.
"I want to go the White House, baby!" he exclaimed. "I want to see President Bush, baby! Show me some Republicans!"
Only David Eckstein could contain Ramos when the little but mighty shortstop poured an entire bottle of champagne over the coach's unsuspecting head. Then the two embraced.
Around that same time, manager Mike Scioscia walked into the clubhouse and bellowed "Time to get this party started!" Within minutes, somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 players surrounded him, each with a bottle in hand that was soon emptied atop the winning skipper's head.
"Who can I get? Who can I get?" Salmon muttered as he ran through the clubhouse with a bottle, shaken and ready to go. He found his target when he spotted a number of club employees taking pictures with the World Series trophy. Salmon stepped in, doused the group, grabbed the trophy and lifted it high above his head.
Benji Gil made his way around the clubhouse with a bottle of high-end tequilla and served as the shot guy, pouring a little bit here and a little bit there to any willing takers. He tried to force it on Scioscia, who refused the offering. Gil, not taking no for an answer, yelled "You're a world championship manager. ... Drink it!"
Scioscia then turned to a group of reporters, escaping further peer pressure.
The scene in the clubhouse is one of jublilation from the players, satisfaction from the owners and sheer ecstacy from club employees. Reporters scurry around for interviews while trying to avoid being soaked by champagne -- and they fail miserably.
As intriguing as a clubhouse celebration can be, nothing matched the electricity of the first moments after the last out of the game was recorded.
Following the Angels initial pileup, hundreds of people -- including photographers, reporters, and players' wives and children -- poured onto the field. Players embraced, talked to the cameras, embraced some more. Some searched frenetically for their loved ones among the chaos. Some talked on cell phones, presumably to family and friends who couldn't be there.
Apparently, the only thing better than winning the World Series is winning it at home. The sold-out crowd at Edison Field was a sea of Angel red, filled with screaming fans who stayed for the postgame celebration, during which Troy Glaus was named World Series MVP.
The Angels players expressed their gratitude toward the fans.
"They didn't give up on us last night when we were down, 5-0, in the seventh," Darrin Erstad said. "They kept cheering, stayed with us, and hopefully it's a sign of things to come for the rest of our careers here."
Said Adam Kennedy, "In a way I'm glad we lost (two games) up there (in San Francisco). I wanted to hear this crowd one more time."
A number of players grabbed the trophy and ran around circumference of field, allowing the fans to revel in the sheer ecstacy of the moment. Then the team retreated into the clubhouse, where the champagne celebration could begin.
"You see this so many times, and now I'm actually able to be a part of it," Salmon said as he took a swig of champagne. "I don't want it to ever end. It's awesome. It's a long time playing ball to have something like this happen.
"I'll tell you what, it's unbelievable."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.