The champagne goggles are very lame, but very necessary

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Anyone else feel that the post-clinch champagne celebrations feel scripted and rote by now?  Like it’s something that players feel obligated to do as opposed to something done spontaneously? Are you telling me that a guy like Nick Swisher couldn’t, if baseball’s social conventions allowed it, find a more interesting way to celebrate than by pouring bubbly on his friends’ heads?  I’m guessing he could break 50 laws of God and Man within an hour of the the game ending if given the chance.  I haven’t seen something truly spontaneous happen after a World Series since Wade Boggs got up on that horse.

But alas, we get champagne. It’s too much of a tradition now, much like the rather awkward and scripted jumping up and down in the middle of the field after the final out (note: did anyone else notice that some guys — like Posada — started doing little awkward hops before the dogpile because, well, they sort of felt they had to? Gave me a chuckle). There’s nothing that can be done about it at this point.

The best we can hope for, I suppose, is that players at least act like its spontaneous and not cover the room with plastic and put on goggles or something.  Wait, what? We can’t expect that either?

Talk to an eye doctor, though, and you’ll be converted to the pro-goggle side with the speed of one of Sabathia’s fastballs.

Champagne
has a high alcohol content, high enough to damage the surface lining of
the cornea, says Dr. Matthew Gardiner, director of emergency
ophthalmology services at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. (For
those medically inclined, the lining is called the epithelium.)

“A
corneal abrasion like that usually heals within two to three days, but
it can be extremely painful while it’s healing,” says Gardiner.

Fine. We’ll let you have your little champagne celebration.  And we’ll certainly let you have your goggles too.

Now about all of that hopping . . . 

Dodgers top Giants, clinch fifth straight NL West title

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The Dodgers are NL West champions for the fifth time in a row. They clinched with a 4-2 win over the Giants on Friday night, taking their first and only lead on a mammoth record-breaking home run from Cody Bellinger in the third inning.

Rich Hill turned in another quality start, going six innings with five hits, a run and nine strikeouts to keep the Giants at bay. He tacked on an RBI hit of his own, too, lashing a double to left field for his first extra-base hit since 2007.

The Giants, meanwhile, deployed Jeff Samardzija and his 4.42 ERA for 4 1/3 innings. Samardzija was on the hook for the Dodgers’ four-run spread in the third and took his 15th loss of the season. Pablo Sandoval came through with a solo home run in the ninth, but the rest of San Francisco’s offense wasn’t so lucky against Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side to clinch the game — and the division.

After Friday’s showstopper, the Dodgers are just two wins away from their first 100-win season since 1974. If they win the remaining eight games of the season, they’ll beat out the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers for the most wins in franchise history.

Watch: Cody Bellinger breaks NL rookie home run record

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Cody Bellinger helped the Dodgers to their first lead on Friday night, going deep for his 39th home run of the season and setting a new National League rookie home run record in the process. With two on and two out in the third inning, the Dodgers’ slugger launched a 2-1 pitch from the Giants’ Jeff Samardzija, skimming the right field fence to give the team a three-run cushion:

The three-run bomb was Bellinger’s sixth of the season. In what is undoubtedly a Rookie of the Year award-worthy campaign, he’s logged 21 solo shots, 11 two-run blasts and a single grand slam. His historic home run topped former NL rookie leaders Frank Robinson and Wally Berger, at 38 homers apiece.

The Dodgers need to stay on top of the Giants to clinch the NL West or, barring that, have the Marlins pull off a win over the Diamondbacks. They currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Marlins, meanwhile, are staying just ahead of the D-backs with a 9-7 lead in the top of the sixth.