The best/worst inning in Blue Jays history
Most people remember the seventh inning of the Toronto Blue Jays’ 2015 ALDS slugfest against the Texas Rangers for Jose Bautista’s bat flip. However, what preceded Bautista’s bomb left a stain on the entire series.
It all started when Russell Martin’s throw back to Aaron Sanchez ricocheted off the hand of Rangers batter Shin-Soo Choo and rolled up the third base line. Ever the opportunist, Rougned Odor trotted home from third while Blue Jays players scoffed at what they thought was a dead ball.
After a lengthy discussion, the umpires did the unthinkable. They allowed the run to score. John Gibbons stormed onto the field spitting mad, and all hell broke loose. Beer cans rained down from the upper reaches of Rogers Centre. The FOX broadcast said fans in the lower levels were being hit with objects thrown from the 500 level. A message was hurriedly put on the jumbotron, threatening arrests (and worse yet, removal from the stadium) for anybody throwing objects onto the field. Marcus Stroman, Dioner Navarro and Edwin Encarnacion popped their heads above the dugout roof and pleaded with the crowd to stop.
After the most awkward singalong to “OK Blue Jays!” ever, Bautista delivered his iconic three-run homer, and the building was whipped up into another frenzy. More objects found their way onto the field. Standing in the on-deck circle, Encarnacion told the crowd to calm down. With his ego bruised, Rangers pitcher Sam Dyson took exception to what he interpreted as crowd encouragement, leading to both benches clearing. Six years later, Bautista’s heroics are the prevailing memory, but while one ball left the field, a whole lot of other objects entered.
One regrettable moment at Rogers Centre
One year after the bat flip, the Blue Jays were back in the playoffs getting ready to host the Baltimore Orioles in the Wild Card game.
At this point, you likely remember two things from this game: Edwin Encarnacion’s walk-off home run to send the Jays to the ALDS, and the infamous beer can be lobbed from the outfield seats in the direction of an Orioles player.
With the game tied at twos in that dastardly seventh inning that seems to bring out so much venom in Torontonians, Melvin Upton Jr. lifted a fly ball out to the warning track in left field. As Hyun-Soo Kim found the ball and settled in to make the catch, a brew sailed by his head.
As Kim looked back to try and pick out the fan, Adam Jones came over from centre in support of his teammate. Simultaneously, the internet exploded.
The Toronto Sun put out a $1000 reward for identifying the culprit. Eventually, former journalist Ken Pagan was outed as the guilty party.
Although he has deep regret of the incident (and judging by this CBC piece, it does seem like an out-of-character decision), it remains a black mark on playoff baseball in Toronto.