Dodgers savor chance to celebrate at home
Players take victory laps after NLDS clincher to share in moment with fans
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers rewarded the fans that have turned out to Dodger Stadium in record numbers this season with a celebration Chavez Ravine hasn't seen in years.
There was no swimming pool to jump into Monday night, but the Dodgers did have a ballpark full of screaming fans as they took victory laps around Dodger Stadium before drenching each other with champagne and beer in the clubhouse.
With a 4-3 victory over the Braves in Game 4 of the National League Division Series, the Dodgers advanced to the NL Championship Series and had reason to party for the second time in three weeks.
Dee Gordon said Monday's celebration was "way better" than clinching the NL West last month in Arizona, when the Dodgers held an impromptu pool party at Chase Field that drew the ire of the D-backs.
"It's always better when you get to do it on your home field," Gordon said as champagne dripped off his goggles.
After closer Kenley Jansen struck out the side in the ninth inning, the celebration was on at a sold-out Dodger Stadium.
Blue and white ribbons streamed down. Fireworks burst in the air above center field. Randy Newman's "I Love L.A." pumped through the speakers.
Not long after Brian Wilson tossed a scoreless eighth and earned the win thanks to Juan Uribe's go-ahead two-run homer in the bottom of the inning, Wilson was running around the warning track interacting with the fans that have welcomed the former Giants closer with open arms.
"They were chaotic in their own right way," the eccentric reliever said.
Like Gordon, Wilson was glad to share his joy with the Dodgers faithful.
"I've had the great the fortune of celebrating quite a few times in the postseason, and on the road it's great, but at home it means that much more because you get to go back on the field, do a victory lap, come in and you're in your own space," Wilson said. "It means a lot to be able to close it out here."
Carl Crawford, who crushed two solo homers to get the crowd buzzing early, relished the opportunity to celebrate with his family.
"It feels good to be able to clinch in front of everybody," Crawford said, his son standing by his side.
And while Monday's party was toned down compared to the one in September, the Dodgers aren't getting tired of popping corks.
"I told the guys here the champagne better get nicer and better as we keep doing this," said outfielder Andre Ethier. "Keep it coming."
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.