Rays left with memory of celebration
One day later, clean clubhouse leaves few signs of party
ST. PETERSBURG -- Carl Crawford walked into the Rays' clubhouse early Sunday afternoon and looked around at the squeaky-clean confines in astonishment.
"Dang, it's like a whole different clubhouse," Crawford said.
Thanks to the hard work -- and well thought-out plan -- by Rays equipment manager Chris Westmoreland and crew, one would be hard pressed to find any lingering remnants of Saturday night's playoff-clinching celebration.
While the historic night went through 200 bottles of champagne, 25 cases of beer and assorted liquor, the celebratory scene -- which featured Rays logo vinyl covering throughout the locker room -- was back to normal by late Saturday night.
For Westmoreland and crew, who began party-proofing the clubhouse during the seventh inning on Saturday night, knowing the scene would be on national television was a chance to make a statement.
"I wanted everyone to know we are ready to win here," Westmoreland said. "And we are prepared, even with something as simple as this. This is history for us."
In addition to removing the vinyl coverings, the club had three extractors remove the liquid from the clubhouse's top layer of carpet and 150 tiles in the ceiling were replaced.
And while the locker room's appearance and smell left no hint of the previous night's celebration, the empty bottle of champagne that hung proudly on the shelf in each Ray's locker said otherwise.
"We had them authenticated by Major League Baseball," Westmoreland said proudly of the bottles. The club plans on donating the rest of the empty authenticated bottles to the charitable Rays Baseball Foundation after divvying them up to management and club sponsors.
And of course, there were celebrations that took place outside of Tropicana Field's locker room, as nearly every Ray entered the clubhouse with drooping eyelids.
"I went home and celebrated with my wife and baby," Eric Hinske said. The Rays outfielder also got a congratulatory text message Saturday from former teammate and current Red Sox Alex Cora.
He wasn't the only one to hear from an American League opponent, as Rays manager Joe Maddon gave a lengthy list of congratulatory calls he received last night from Angels skipper Mike Scioscia and the rest of the crew at Anaheim, where Maddon previously served as a bench coach.
Maddon was so flooded with phone calls that he only managed to speak with his children and mother, an overwhelming feeling that was echoed by many in the Rays organization. Pitcher Edwin Jackson estimated he got around 30 text messages, Westmoreland was at 42 e-mails and counting, and rookie David Price, despite hearing from a plethora of family and friends, was still hoping to get a call from childhood hero David Justice.
Even Dodgers manager -- and long-time Yankees skipper -- Joe Torre put in the good word, faxing Maddon a complimentary word.
"It said, 'Congratulations on winning a tough division,'" Maddon said.
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.