Blue Jays fans who remember the World Series years all have their definitive baseball moment, with Joe Carter leaping into the air after the biggest hit in Jays history. Touch ’em all, Joe. The younger generation of Blue Jays fans hadn’t seen theirs yet, not one that they could cling to after watching it live, but Josh Donaldson decided to change that on Sunday afternoon.
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Donaldson’s walk-off heroics did not clinch a World Series. Heck, the don’t even clinch the A.L. East, but in one deafening flash, the imperfect game of baseball became perfect for a moment. The great rarity.
This comes on the final day of regular season baseball at the Rogers Centre in 2015, and for the first time in many years, it was not met with a solemn look towards the next season. Years past have left us to recap the “bright spots” from the season that was while firing up free agent speculation. It was a tradition of sorts, a normalcy that became expected.
It would be fascinating for us to hop in a time machine back to the day that Alex Anthopoulos pulled the trigger on Josh Donaldson. Already a fringe MVP candidate at the time, his late rise into stardom left many fans hesitant, especially with the prospects and players moving in the other direction. Coming from a market like Oakland, whose coverage rarely crosses over with Toronto’s, there was also some level of mystery involved.
Sunday’s walk-off home run puts an exclamation mark on his MVP campaign against Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, quickly trumping his highlight catch over the centre-field wall from Saturday.
Donaldson’s blast was his 41st on the season, giving him 122 RBI. The third baseman also eclipsed 120 runs scored on a day where Justin Smoak powered the offense, and his production from the second spot in the lineup continues to be unique, dangerous and beautiful.
In a season jam packed with highlight grabs from Kevin Pillar and a handful of signature walk-off wins, this stands head and shoulders above all others as the definitive play of the 2015 Toronto Blue Jays season. And doesn’t this fan base deserve their perfect moment after waiting so very long for another? If everything goes as planned, though, this new generation’s “moment” will quickly be replaced by one in October.
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