On the five-year anniversary of the Jose Bautista bat flip, we are reminded of its significance for the Toronto Blue Jays despite it not leading to a World Series title.
When the world was forced into lockdown at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it provided us with a chance to go back and watch some of the top Toronto Blue Jays moments including Jose Bautista’s bat flip.
One thing that most fans will be in agreement about, Game 5 of the ALDS between the Blue Jays and Texas Rangers will remain a top-five (arguably top three) moment in franchise history. As we mark the fifth anniversary of Bautista’s bomb off Sam Dyson, it continues to bring back the emotions most of us felt at that moment.
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Many say that every time they watch the clip of Bautista’s drive, they get goosebumps just from the reaction of the crowd. Unless you are a Texas Rangers fan, it’s hard to not appreciate the impact of that home run especially with how it has pushed other players to appreciate big moments in the game.
When Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a home run in Game 2 against the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League wild-card series, he had a bat flip that resembled Bautista’s. It even prompted the MLB Twitter account to send out a tweet saying “Move over, Jose Bautista.”
Had there been a crowd for Tatis’ home run and the game having higher stakes, maybe it can have a similar effect as Bautista’s. It’s also easy to forget all the drama that led to the moment with the weird play after Russell Martin had a throw go off the bat of Shin-Soo Choo giving Texas the lead.
From that moment on the game had a hostility that hadn’t really been seen especially in Toronto’s time. The crowd was on edge and eventually, it led to a bizarre bottom half of the inning when the Rangers became unravelled by errors and eventually the Bautista homer.
Everything that happened afterwards was raw and a reminder of why playoff baseball is unlike anything else we’ve seen. This is also why the team’s post-season run in 2015 is something many try to hold on to especially when you consider how tough it is for teams to be contenders each and every year.
So looking back on today, it’s important to remember that for a generation of Blue Jays’ fans that haven’t lived through the early Word Series title victories, this is the closest they have been. So it won’t be surprising to see this bat flip live on in an iconic way it has over the past five years.
Where were you when Bautista hit one of the biggest home runs of his career? How will you remember it going forward? Let us know in the comments below.