We are, unfortunately, used to seeing booze ads during sports. (Baseball: the nation’s pasttime. Alcohol: the nation’s poison?)
And, come October, we’re used to seeing baseball players celebrate playoff series’ wins with televised champagne sprays.
So, this playoff season when the Texas Rangers won the American League Divisional Series, and then the A.L. Championship Series (ALCS), the Ale of choice — Ginger Ale — was a welcome surprise.
The Rangers gave dual celebrations — one nonalcoholic — out of respect for their ALCS MVP center-fielder Josh Hamilton, who is sober and in ongoing recovery. They also gave a separate champagne party for players.
(Major League Baseball must have liked the Rangers trend setting non-alcoholic option. Before the World Series began, teams were notified that they must provide a non-alcoholic option for their players, as well as keep alcohol off the field, among other limitations, said Rob Manfred, the executive vice president for MLB.)
For those few moments, kids — and adults — watching the games got to see a sports celebration without the booze. We saw a team sticking together, committed to each other for both the on-field and off-field battles.
Now the games are over: the San Francisco Giants are the 2010 champions.
The Rangers didn’t win the World Series, but they sure won my respect.