John McCain takes Dodgers to task
SAN DIEGO -- "Poolgate" reached the nation's capital Friday when Arizona Sen. John McCain voiced strong displeasure with the Los Angeles Dodgers' celebration of their National League West title.
After the Dodgers clinched the division with Thursday's 7-6 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks, roughly half the team celebrated by jumping into the pool behind the right-center field wall at Chase Field.
The revelry upset many players, executives and fans of the Diamondbacks, including McCain, who took to Twitter with this rant:
McCain included a link to an Arizona Republic column titled "The Dodgers are idiots."
The senator, in turn, drew the ire of Dodgers relief pitcher Brian Wilson, who tweeted:
Senator McComplain knows a thing or two about coming in second and watching someone take a plunge in the pool (I mean poll) #POoLITICS— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilson38) September 20, 2013
Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall offered a statement Thursday to the Arizona Republic in which he said, "I could call it disrespectful and classless, but they don't have a beautiful pool at their old park and must have really wanted to see what one was like."
The Diamondbacks had asked the Dodgers to keep their players from returning to the field once the division-clinching celebration began. After the final out, Los Angeles players high-fived and gathered briefly at second base before filing into the clubhouse, where champagne and beer flew in front of television cameras.
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A few minutes later, players began running toward the pool and scaling the wall. Their exuberance was a staple of "SportsCenter" highlight reels Friday.
The Dodgers misunderstood the intent of the Diamondbacks' request, according to team president Stan Kasten. He thought they were asking Dodgers players not to celebrate raucously in front of Diamondbacks fans. By the time the players took the plunge, the stadium was largely empty.
"I've never been around a celebration like this that didn't get excited and a little bit boisterous," Kasten said.
Diamondbacks infielder Willie Bloomquist was perhaps the most vocal critic of the impromptu pool party.
"I think it's tired and disrespectful," Bloomquist said after the game. "It's surprising because they have a lot of veteran guys on that team that I thought were classier than that."
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Friday he was perplexed by how big the story had gotten.
"One thing I don't want it to do is take away from what these guys have accomplished," Mattingly said in San Diego, where the Dodgers were to open a series against the Padres. "They've played really good baseball and have been a team that has really played hard, and I don't want that to be overshadowed by this. I'm a little taken back [by reaction] because it's gone a little too far for me. That celebration yesterday is the culmination of a long year. Spring training, a lot of games, It's like the tea pot.
"These are like little baby boys; it's like Little League when these guys win. It's exciting and stuff is spontaneous. I don't think there was a plan to embarrass anybody. And to be honest with you, I bet there weren't 100 fans out there in those seats. Everybody was gone. So it's not like they were doing anything to rub it in anybody's face. There wasn't anybody there. If we tore anything up I would feel bad about that but we didn't hurt the pool. It can't be that bad."
Mattingly said he had no idea the Dodgers had even jumped into the pool until after the fact.
"I had no clue until later," Mattingly said. "Everybody was already wet anyway. I did not know until later."
When Mattingly was asked specifically about McCain's tweet, he smiled and referred back to Wilson's response.
"Wilson's [tweet] back was kind of funny," Mattingly said. "Poolitics, right? I don't think it's that big of a deal. I don't think it hurt anybody and I don't think it was done on purpose to embarrass anybody. If we won it here, would the Padres be mad if we jumped the fence and made sand castles in the sand box out there. Seriously, would anyone care?"
Wilson did not care to elaborate on his tweet when he was asked about it Friday.
"I just talk about baseball," he said.