The 2008 Tampa Bay Rays shocked the world when, after nine last-place finishes in their previous 10 seasons — the first of the franchise’s existence — they won the American League pennant.
The Rays’ payroll was a hair under $44 million that year, the second-lowest in baseball, and they were one of the youngest teams in the league.
For most of the roster, it was their first postseason appearance.
One member of that team, Jonny Gomes, admitted that the AL East-clinching celebration got a little too rowdy, and actually, almost deadly.
“We don’t even know how to celebrate, that team,” Gomes said on the “Baseball Isn’t Boring” podcast. “Go back and look at the roster. You talk about young and dumb and not even knowing what the hell is going on. Sprinkle in a Carlos Peña, Cliff Floyd, Eric Hinske, that, you know, were babysitters.
“We clinched in Detroit, and we’re wilin’ out. We are just wilin’ out, tornadoing the place, and I thought it’d be a great idea to take the fire extinguisher off the wall and blast the dudes in the shower with the fire extinguisher. Just think about that for a second. It’s like confetti. We’re just launching off fire extinguishers. Sounds like a great idea. Everyone’s going to be all baby-powdered up and all this stuff. So, I take it in the shower, and I blast it in the shower. Well, that wasn’t a very good idea.
“So, it turns out that my firefighter guys out there, they’re going to be like, ‘Duh.’ That powder or whatever, it sucks oxygen out of the air to put the fire out. So, I literally almost killed the team. Everyone came running out of the shower, and they’re waving their arms, and I’m just blasting them, being like, ‘Yeah, I know! This is so cool, right? Fire extinguisher joke!’ and then I thought we were going to need CPR on a couple of the guys.”
Those Rays lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in five games — host Rob Bradford joked they lost the World Series because they were “half-dead” due to Gomes’ actions.
Gomes won a World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2013 — he was traded to the Kansas City Royals in time for their title in 2015, but he did not play for them in the postseason.