2015 Play of the Year: 10/14 – Jose Bautista Flips Off the Rangers
After waiting so long for regular season success, the postseason was proving to be every bit the roller coaster that older Blue Jays fans remembered. The brink of elimination was too close for comfort after two games, but Toronto battled back to force a deciding match in Canada.
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The Blue Jays held a slim one-run lead heading into the 7th inning, which was later described with the same adjectives previously reserved for Ben Carson’s campaign platform. Patrons in the RogerSkydome were upset with the correct ruling after Russell Martin threw a ball that Shin-Soo Choo could hit, scoring the go-ahead run and introducing a whole new world of neurosi into fans’ minds. It was a grim time.
The offense appeared to have solved Cole Hamels in the bottom of the inning. Or at least Elvis Andrus was giving them the cheat sheet. The shortstop’s three errors loaded the bases for Toronto with none out, but it looked like the Blue Jays were going to do very little with it. They only managed a force out at home and an RBI bloop out to tie the game. It looked like the ghost from Toronto’s 2010 draft, former 4th rounder Sam Dyson was going to help Texas escape from the situation Andrus had put them in. In stepped Jose Bautista, and the third pitch that Joey Bats saw was sent into history…
The ginger beards would even the home run karma in Kansas City, denying a trip to the World Series. For a fan base starved for any shred of post-season action, Bautista provided the whole beautiful tapestry. He released 11 years of personal frustration and 22 years of a city’s frustration, and the bat flip at the end served as the epic punctuation. He’s still explaining why he tossed the stick like it owed him money, but it encapsulated the unbridled joy and regained swagger that this team had in 2015. It serves as a fitting choice for this season’s Play of the Year.