With one swing of the bat, 2-on in the bottom of the 7th, Jose Bautista blasted a deep bomb into left centre-field, that not only clinched the 2015 ALDS for the Toronto Blue Jays, but simultaneously re-affirmed the re-birth of Canadian Culture.
Journal: What A Time To Be Alive
“The 1-1 pitch from Dyson…”
And just like that an entire generation had their defining sports moment.
To fully comprehend what Jose Bautista’s 3 run home run meant not only to Toronto Blue Jays fans, but to an entire country, we must first rewind to the 2015 MLB trade deadline. During the last week of July, the Blue Jays managed to add superstars like Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, as well as role players such as Ben Revere and LaTroy Hawkins, to an already stellar line-up. All of the sudden, Canada started to thaw from their 22 year baseball freeze; Blue Jays jerseys and hats were being dusted off, and the country was starting to be brought together by sport once again, reminiscent to the effect 2010 Winter Olympics had on the nation.
Skip ahead to the end of September, and it finally happened, the Blue Jays had clinched a spot in the playoffs. Almost overnight, Blue Jays fever seemed to be in full swing.
As the playoffs began, an entire country was drawn to the edge of their seats by “Canada’s team.” The Blue Jays were the top story on Sportscentre every night, and the small-talk of every bar-stool conversation. Even my 77-year-old grandmother, who probably hadn’t watched a single inning of baseball in 22 years, was calling and wanting to chat about every game. The entire country was captivated as exemplified by the, roughly, 9 million Canadians who tuned in to watch game 4 on Thanksgiving Sunday.
As I sat in my class on the afternoon of game 5, more concerned about what I was going to eat for dinner, than the four elements of whatever my professor was lecturing about, I stared around the room and noticed almost every computer in my classroom had the Blue Jays game on. Girls, guys, even our TA was watching the 7th inning unfold. Then disaster hit…
A collective gasp rumbled through the classroom as Texas Ranger’s 2nd baseman, Rougned Odor, raced home as the Blue Jays stared around in disbelief. A seemingly innocent play by Toronto catcher Russell Martin, had caused an entire nation to watch in awe. Martin’s throw back to pitcher, Aaron Sanchez, had somehow bounced off of Texas Rangers batter, Shin Soo Choo’s bat and rolled up the 3rd base side of the infield, while Odor was able to trounce his way to the home-plate (check that out whole debacle here.) After a lengthy discussion and subsequent cleanup of the field of beer bottles and garbage thrown by disgusted fans, the run was counted, and Texas was winning 3-2.
In the bottom half of the inning, a true miracle happened, and it seemed as if Texas forgot how to play defense. 3 simple errors later and the game was tied, with Blue Jay’s stud, Jose Bautista up next to bat. The face of baseball in Canada and the emotional leader of the Blue Jays had a chance to be a hero, and a hero he became. Bautista managed to crush a 1-1 pitch from Texas pitcher Sam Dyson into the left center-field seats at the Rogers Centre. With one swing, the entire nation was lifted into a frenzy, not seen since the Sidney Crosby “golden goal” at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. Lifelong fans and bandwagoners alike were brought together once again. 2 innings later, the Jay’s win, 6-3, with Bautista’s RBI serving as the go-ahead run.
While the full cultural impact of that homerun is still to be determined, a few things we know for sure. While previous generations had their “Paul Henderson” moment, the moment people will ask you about in 20 years will be, “where you were when Bautista hit the most important homerun in Canadian baseball since Joe Carter walked off the World Series?” With the tension of the tight federal election brewing, the ensuing unity couldn’t come at a better time in history.
Between the Jay’s, the Rap’s, music culture, movie culture, and the likes, the parallels are imminent; Canadian culture is shaping before our very eyes, once again, as if it were the 90’s all over again. What a time to be alive. Two other things can be guaranteed: Somewhere in a Toronto studio, Drake is writing the rhymes to his next low-key banger, almost certainly titled something along the lines of “Game 5”, and that Blue Jays fever is only beginning.
Take us home boys. #ComeTOgether
(Follow our guest writer, Andy Per, on Twitter today, at AndyPer16)