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Champagne on ice, ready for four straight clinches

Baseball set for celebrations four nights in a row after pair of Game 5's

Champagne is flowing this month like never before.

After the Pirates and Cardinals, and Tigers and A's, conclude their Division Series on Wednesday and Thursday, it will be the fourth time in the post-1994 postseason expansion era that Major League Baseball has had a series clincher on four consecutive nights. And if you throw in the Rays' tiebreaker victory at Texas in Game 163 followed by a pair of Wild Card Game celebrations, that will make seven of 11 days with a clubhouse soaking of bubbly and other liquids following the final Sunday of the regular season.

Goggles have become the new normal.

"I've never seen anything like it," MLB Network analyst and 2004 Red Sox World Series champion Kevin Millar said. "The Rays had champagne just for winning a tiebreaker, because everybody celebrates when they get into the postseason. Then they won one more game and were doing the same thing. That was three straight days of champagne, and then you're just starting with a lot more series to play. It seems like someone's always spraying champagne."

This current four-day celebration streak -- or elimination streak, depending on how you look at it -- began when the Dodgers won their National League Division Series at home Monday night against Atlanta. The Red Sox won their American League Division Series at Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Now comes back-to-back Game 5's, with the Pirates at Cardinals at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday, followed by Detroit at Oakland at the same time on Thursday.

A four-day streak has happened three times since the playoff format was expanded for the 1995 season. In 2010, the Yankees swept the Twins on Oct. 9, followed in order by the Phillies over the Reds, the Giants over the Braves and the Rangers over the Rays. It also happened in 2004-05.

This is a far different pattern than what happened in 1996, which featured arguably the most festive day in baseball history. On Oct. 5 of that year, the Orioles clinched in four at Cleveland, the Yankees clinched in four at Texas, the Braves clinched in three against the Dodgers and the Cardinals celebrated after Game 3 in San Diego.

But throw in the Wild Card Game format and add a tiebreaker for good measure, and you have seemingly constant celebration somewhere.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of Read and join other baseball fans on his community blog.