Winning the NL West has a particular that means for some Dodgers

It wasn’t the primary champagne bathe Trayce Thompson had been in.

Nevertheless it was the primary one he felt actually part of.

“It was really cool,” the Dodgers outfielder stated. “I tried to soak it in as much as possible.”

When the Dodgers clinched the NL West on Tuesday evening, locking up their ninth division crown within the final 10 seasons, it set off the type of champagne-and-beer-soaked celebration most gamers of their clubhouse have skilled on an nearly annual foundation.

Their present roster, in spite of everything, contains 20 former World Collection champions and 690 mixed postseason video games performed.

Winning the division was particular. Nevertheless it wasn’t precisely a singular feeling.

Thompson was a uncommon exception. Together with Andrew Heaney and Yency Almonte, the journeyman outfielder is one among three non-rookies on the group who has by no means appeared in a playoff recreation. There are a number of others, akin to Hanser Alberto and Joey Gallo, with solely restricted postseason expertise.

For them, Tuesday’s evening festivities represented one thing completely different. The division championship t-shirt and hat, the plastic wrapping and neon goggles within the clubhouse — all of it resonated a little bit bit extra.

“We were loving it,” Almonte stated. “It was something new to us.”

Thompson had been a part of Dodgers celebrations earlier than.

On the membership’s 2016 division-winning group, he was a breakout star throughout the first half of the season earlier than having his marketing campaign reduce brief by a again damage. He spent most of 2017 within the minors, however was known as up in September in time to be there for an additional division-clinching second.

Each instances, he was within the locker room for the bottle-popping bash.

However, he acknowledged on Wednesday afternoon, earlier than the Dodgers’ collection finale towards the Arizona Diamondbacks, “you just know deep down, it’s just not the same.”

Almonte had an analogous expertise in his rookie season with the Colorado Rockies in 2018.

The best-hander appeared in simply 14 video games that common season, and was left off the postseason roster in favor of extra skilled arms. He, too, was within the room when the Rockies locked up a playoff berth that 12 months.

However this season is the primary time he’s been a critical contributor on a playoff-bound group.

Dodgers poses for {a photograph} after clinching the NL West with a win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday in Phoenix.

(Ross D. Franklin / Related Press)

“We have a chance to go into the playoffs and maybe even get to the World Series and win it all,” stated Almonte, who has missed the final month with an elbow damage however is nearing a return and felt good throughout a simulated recreation on Wednesday afternoon. “I’m just trying to rehab, be a part of that. And I know I can feed off these guys’ energy and go out and do my job.”

Heaney had waited longer than anyone within the clubhouse on Tuesday evening.

The 31-year-old left-hander not often got here near the playoffs throughout the first seven years of his profession with the Miami Marlins and Angels. Then, after being traded to the New York Yankees on the commerce deadline final season, he struggled down the stretch and was optioned in late September — 4 days earlier than the Yankees clinched a wild-card spot.

“Watched the Yankees celebrate, pop champagne, while I was sitting in a hotel room by myself,” Heaney recalled this week. “That was a pretty low point for me.”

On Tuesday evening, with goggles hanging from his neck and his hair nonetheless dripping with booze, Heaney was requested if it felt pretty much as good as he’d imagined.

“Oh yeah,” he smiled. “This is great.”

There have been others within the room Tuesday evening who discovered particular that means within the celebration.

It gave rookies akin to Miguel Vargas, Andre Jackson and Michael Grove — who began Wednesday’s recreation to offer the remainder of the rotation an additional day of relaxation — a style of what it’s prefer to expertise major-league success.

For others, akin to Alberto, it commemorated a long-awaited return to the playoffs, with the utility man’s solely different playoff expertise coming as a rookie with the Texas Rangers in 2015.

“For me, you never know when it’s going to happen again,” stated Alberto, who helped kick off Tuesday’s social gathering by placing a twist on Vin Scully’s legendary name, shouting “It’s time for Dodgers celebration!”

Like everybody else, nonetheless, even the Dodgers novice postseason gamers have been wanting forward by Wednesday afternoon.

“We got a lot more opportunity to win,” Alberto stated.

Echoed Thompson: “It’s a special moment, but at the end of the day, with this team, everyone knows what’s really at stake.”