As MLB teams begin to clinch division crowns and playoff births, the tradition of celebrations continue. Beer and champagne gets thrown around and slugged down minutes after the teams realize “we are going to the playoffs!” Even though teams have made a significant accomplishment, the fact still remains that many of them have or had meaningful games left to play.
As I was watching a few teams punch their playoff tickets, I couldn’t help to realize that there are a handful of important games left in their season.
An example I have are the Pittsburgh Pirates. After earning their second straight trip to the playoffs, they headed to the club house to drink and celebrate. The Pirates have every right to take pride in what they have done the past two years and have established themselves as a strong and competitive team for years to come. With that being said, they celebrated the opportunity to play in a one game playoff, while the division was still very much up for grabs.
The next day the Pirates lost to the Atlanta Braves 6-2. One can’t help but to think that the celebration may have been a bit premature. Who knows if the Pirates could have won that game if the celebration was saved for a different night? The Pirates are only a game back of the St. Louis Cardinals for the division title with three games left to play. Every game counts this time of year.
It is not just the Pittsburgh Pirates that do this. Teams over the years have celebrated the second they get in. Their are still things at stake. Home field advantage and playoff positioning can be overlooked once reaching athe goal of getting into the playoffs. The early celebrations make teams unfocused and can hurt their chances of winning in games in the future.
With all of this being said, I do believe it is important to celebrate. It brings the team together and gives them an extra boost heading into their potential playoff run. I also believe there is a time and a place for celebrating. Teams should wait until they are established in their spot in the wild card or the division before celebrating.