OAKLAND - The Tigers again found themselves drenched in non-alcoholic sparkling grape cider Thursday night.
Like the scene a week ago in Kansas City, the postgame celebration in Oakland provided a rare glimpse of each member of the Tigers with honest bliss on display and their guards comfortably down.
Real athletes pouring out endless bounds of real emotions in an undoubted high point of their careers.
There was Jose Valverde, the goat of Game 4, holding a cigar and a bottle of actual champagne, proclaiming, "You can see I'm ready!" when asked about his excitement for the American League Championship Series.
Max Scherzer spent the late night in the middle of all the action, with a humorous twist attracting the spotlight to his famous eyes.
The Tigers pitcher wore goggles perfectly matching his differently colored pupils.
"My girlfriend got them. She had to make one brown and one blue," he said as teammates sprayed cider in his direction.
The man of the hour, Justin Verlander, came into the clubhouse late, after fielding national media requests outside the doors of his team's celebration. When he arrived, each and every person wearing the Old English D surrounded him with a sea of bubbling beverage.
Ramon Santiago emptied a bottle down Verlander's back.
"That's why he's a Cy Young, MVP. That's what he does. Unbelievable," Gerald Laird proclaimed of his ace's Game 5 performance.
Prince Fielder brought his two young sons along for the ride. At least, that's what it looked like.
"They just wanted this," Fielder said as his sons poured sparkling cider on their dad. "This was all they were worried about."
So while the younger Fielders were the ones actually carrying the fun in one corner of the lockers, another father embraced his son in a moment of exhale.
Al Avila, Assistant General Manager and Vice President of the Tigers, shared a long hug with his son, Tigers catcher Alex Avila, before posing for pictures together.
"We answered the same questions all year. People thought we were gonna lose, and we keep winning," the former explained.
Quintin Berry and Andy Dirks finally joined the party, after struggling to fasten their goggles.
"They're too loose! I don't want it to burn!" Berry said.
The clubhouse, protecting by a shell of plastic sheeting, was also split in half by a large piece of wrapping. As the night progressed, the players dispersed into the far end of the divider. Wives, girlfriends, and significant others awaited as the media was kept apart from the more relaxed jubilation.
Octavio Dotel, who just a night before told Miguel Cabrera he needed to speak to the media as the leader of the team, had to cut interviews short when his teammates called for him.
Not surprisingly, it was Cabrera who ultimately yelled for him to drop his media duties and get to the party.
"This is our reward for winning a hard series against the Oakland A's," Dotel said.
When the empty bottles are cleaned out and the cigar smoke clears, the Tigers will find out their opponent for the next round.
But Thursday night, as the party extended into the morning, baseball was an afterthought. Getting mercilessly adorned with liquid celebration was the only worry on the minds of the Tigers.
Brad Galli is a Sports Reporter at WXYZ Detroit. Follow Brad on Twitter @BradGalli .
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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