Players, coaches party like it's 1999

OAKLAND, Calif. -- When the Rangers last won the AL West title, Ian Kinsler was playing high school ball in Tucson.

But Kinsler and his teammates were well aware of the title drought and were determined to do something about it in 2010.

"This is just an incredible feeling," Kinsler said. “This isn’t something that was handed to us. We still have work to do, but this is nice. To see that fly ball go up, I just wanted someone to catch it. We got where we wanted to be, but we want to win it all. It’s been a great ride so far and we’ll see if we can continue it.”

Kinsler was drenched in cheap champagne and beer and looked like he was in heaven. The second baseman said he was thrilled for third baseman Michael Young and the rest of his teammates who worked so hard to earn the title. Many players and coaches reiterated Kinsler's thoughts, and all of them talked about the hard work the team did.

"Right now there's no better feeling," said outfielder David Murphy, who has emerged as one of the most important players the second half of this season. "We know we have work ahead of us, we know there's more in store. But we're going to enjoy this. It's been a great ride so far."

The team mobbed Young at third base right after Nelson Cruz caught the ball (BTW, he said someone from the team got the ball to keep it for safe keeping) and hugged on the field. They then took the party to the clubhouse. Manager Ron Washington made a quick speech (more on that in the column coming up) and then was doused with champagne and the party really started. Eventually, a haze from the cigar smoke filled the clubhouse. Let's just say it was a large group of players having a good time.