One team. One amazing season. One game. One inning. And one wicked bat flip. Game 5 of the ALDS between the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers was something so special, crazy and inspirational that it will forever go down in the baseball history books.
Nearly one-third of Canadians tuned in to see their Blue Jays advance to the ALCS but nobody was prepared for what this game had in store. It all started in the now famous 53 minute 7th inning. Aaron Sanchez was on the mound for the Jays with the game tied at 2. There were 2 outs with Rougned Odor on third. Shin Soo-Choo stepped up to plate and Sanchez threw a ball to make the count 2-2, but the craziness all started when All-Star catcher Russell Martin casually tossed the ball back to Sanchez. Incredibly, the ball hit Soo-Choos’ bat and hand and then rolled up the third base line. Odor dashed to home as home plate umpire Dale Scott waved his arms, signalling a dead ball. Then Rangers’ manager Jeff Banister came out to argue the call. After all the umpires discussed the call, they came to an agreement and allowed the run to Texas.Blue Jays manager John Gibbons came out to express his unhappiness for the call and asked for video review. 18 minutes later and the Rangers were officially ahead 3-2. The Rogers Centre erupted. Fans were throwing beer cans and other types of garbage onto the field, and in an attempt to stop the “riot” as you could call it, they had to put a message on the jumbo Tron telling fans to stop throwing stuff on the field and if caught, will be thrown out. Plenty of people ignored this warning and continued to throw stuff, some of them were in fact escorted out of the stadium. I don’t blame the fans for getting angry. The possibility of the Jays playoff run coming to an end just because of a stupid call made by the umpires. But little did the fans know it wouldn’t be the end but just the beginning
In the bottom of the 7th, the Rangers infield looked like fools. Martin, leading off in the bottom, hit a routine ground ball to shortstop Elvis Andrus but Andrus bobbled the ball so Martin got on first with an error. Then for a second time, an error was committed by a routine ground ball this time hit by OF Kevin Pillar with the error coming from 1B Mitch Moreland when he tried to get Martin, the lead runner. The Rangers are already embarrassed enough but Ryan Goins bunts which causes Andrus to muff an easy ball at third. So there you go. 3 straight errors, 3 men on base and still no outs. Things were looking good for Toronto and they were about to get even better. With the Rangers still ahead 3-2, Josh Donaldson comes up to bat with the bases loaded and hits a little looper just out of Andrus’ reach. The game is now tied at 3.The pressure is now on for Jose Bautista. There are now 2 outs, men on the corners and a possible advancement to the ALCS on the line. Anyone probably would’ve crumbled under this intense pressure, but Bautista thrived on it. Texas reliever Sam Dyson delivers the pitch and the ball connects with Bautista’s bat. Although I wasn’t there, people who were there said that it has never been that loud at the Rogers Centre, ever and I can definitely believe that. All the cameras were shaking from the noise of the fans going crazy. I’m guessing some people probably lost their voice or burst an eardrum for that fact. All riled up, Bautista aggressively flips his bat which is now known as the “Joey Bat Flip”. Some critics point out that Bautista’s bat flip didn’t show good sportsmanship and that the game of baseball is about respect. That moment for the Blue Jays and the country of Canada was something to celebrate so I applaud him for showing his proudness and happiness with an epic bat flip.
I am so grateful to have gotten the chance to watch this game and the feelings I felt during that 7th inning is something I will always remember, as will Canada. In those 53 minutes I lost my voice, became enlightened and above all, was proud of my Jays
FINAL: TEXAS 3 TORONTO 6