Lingering thoughts of the seventh inning of Game 5 of the American League Division Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Texas Rangers.
The air was aggressive, but the real fans of the team, of the game, of Toronto, of Canada, were fighting to not let the few drunk (or even sober) dickheads take over and ruin something important and meaningful. On top of the intense frustration, there was absolutely an undercurrent of aggression in the crowd, and it would’ve been a real scene if things didn’t turn out the way it did. A sense of “No fucking way can this end like this.”
But that’s something we don’t have to worry about any more, because it didn’t turn out that way. All because of Jose Bautista.
The same Bautista who’s been somewhat relegated to a supporting character because of a shoulder injury that’s clearly affected both his offence and defence. But also because of the appearance of the shiny new play things in Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin, Troy Tulowitzki, and David Price. Rightfully so, of course. But as the city fell madly, deeply in love with Donaldson and his 41 home runs, the guy who carried this team on his back for years and years, was no longer the marquee player. But make no mistake: The only reason we can call Donaldson, Martin et al. Blue Jays, is because of Jose Bautista, the man who’s had the most home runs in all of baseball since 2010. This 2015 team would cease to exist without him. And what an absolute triumph it was to see him emerge as the hero in Game 5. The biggest moment in his entire career, and in Blue Jays history since 1993. There is no bigger home run than that one that landed in the 200 outfield. And no bigger bat flip. Which, for the record, I think was fucking powerful, sexy, raw, and abso-fucking-lutely deserved. Jose Bautista is very in control of his brand, his image, his words to the media, everything about his public persona is very deliberate. That bat flip was the realest we’ve ever seen him and will ever see him. And it’s fucking BEAUITFUL.
And the fact that I got to see that entire game in person is something so special that I will hold on to for years and years to come. I got to witness a very special moment in history. I have tears in my eyes as I write this, because thinking about it, my whole body is filled with the tension and stress that preceded that monstrous home run. The deafening roar of the crowd, the explosion of joy and excitement, the release of frustration that had built up over the inning, the game, the series, the year, the decades. Remembering it is a full-body experience.
Jose Bautista is the OG 6ix God, let us all now pray to him and his choir of bat flips.