Relive all the magic with Clinch Time

Relive all the magic with Clinch Time

The first celebration scene happens on the field, where giddy players release all of that pent-up emotion from a marathon Major League Baseball season and pile on top of each other after clinching a championship.

The second celebration scene happens on your computer, on your iPod, on your Portable Media Center -- wherever you want to watch history again and again.

MLB.com has just introduced Clinch Time video downloads, giving you the exclusive opportunity to download the full-game broadcast for free after teams celebrate a clincher. There's nothing to order and everything to gain. Once a team wins a division or Wild Card title, just look for the Clinch Time link shortly after it's over and you'll have a clickable keepsake of the kind of moment that keeps fans talking for years.

And if you're lucky enough, you will be able to do this four times -- the playoff berth, a Division Series clincher, a League Championship Series clincher and, for the piece de resistance, a World Series clincher.

These are truly Fan Appreciation Downloads, Major League Baseball's way of saying thank you to all of those who have been there through the many ups and occasional downs since Spring Training. Clinch Time is the ultimate shared experience, and in 2006, it will be shared for free in this unique way.

Mets fans were the first to experience clinching history this season. The Team. The Time. The NL East champions. You don't have to close your eyes and try to remember what it was like when David Wright jumped onto the pile of humanity with his eyes closed in ecstasy, or what it was like to see Carlos Delgado chomping on that jumbo cigar, celebrating his club's first assured postseason of his 14-year career.

All you have to do is click and download the whole game and the aftermath right to your computer's hard drive. Choose a Windows Media file or an MPEG4. It's for your personal use only, so burn it to a CD or put it on that iPod Video or any other device. It's made to please -- over and over again.

"When I signed here, this is what I had in mind," said Mets pitcher Tom Glavine, the former Atlanta ace who has a special perspective on this title that ended the Braves' record run of 14 consecutive division titles (11 in the NL East). "It took a little longer than I expected, but now that it's done, it's worth all the effort. ... And I'll guarantee that if a team other than us wins it next year, they won't feel the way we do about unseating the champions."

One suspects that there will be more than a few portable video players making subway passengers break into a smile in the days ahead.

Can you imagine what it would have been like 55 years ago, after Bobby Thomson hit "The Shot Heard 'Round The World" off Ralph Branca to give the New York Giants the pennant over the Brooklyn Dodgers? It was a modern miracle at the time that the game was televised nationally, a major breakthrough. Just imagine if fans everywhere could have watched the whole game again just a short time after Thomson rounded the bases?

There was no instant replay. There was no VCR, certainly no computers, no TiVo, just millions of people telling their neighbors: "Did you just see that?"

Here we are in 2006, and free Clinch Time downloads from MLB.com are the perfect complement to keep the celebrations going. The hardest part is obviously done by the players themselves, surviving months of hard work to don the championship caps and then douse them with champagne.

Clinch Time is the easy part. It might be your turn next.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.