Did Friday night’s insane comeback win save the Blue Jays season?
That’s the question many are asking today. Down 8-2 in the 8th, coming back with a grand slam and then a 3-run bomb to walk it off? Against one of the teams they’re chasing in the Wild Card race? It doesn’t get any more dramatic, or meaningful, than that.
But there’s another important question to be asked amidst all the hoopla: Is Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s grand slam celebratory bat flip Toronto’s best since… well, you know?
Let’s look at it from two angles:
Did Friday night’s insane comeback win save the Blue Jays season? And was Lourdes Gurriel’s grand slam bat flip Toronto’s best since… well, you know?
Now, we’re not talking about “significance”, since we know that Edwin Encarnacion’s walk-off HR in the 2016 Wild Card game was more important as well as Bautista’s bomb, but all Edwin did was let the bat fall from his hands.
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Friday night, Gurriel stepped up with the Jays facing adversity, down 8-4 in the 8th, and their playoff dreams essentially on the line. Somewhat similar to the situation for Jose Bautista’s memorable blast, when the team had just been victimized in the top of the inning by the indescribable catcher’s interference call that looked like it could spell the end of Toronto’s season. Emotions were running high.
Gurriel’s grand slam created an explosion of “damn right, we can do this—we’re the Toronto Blue Jays!” type emotion—same as Bautista’s home run.
And while Joey Bat’s epic bat flip was one of “take that!!”, Gurriel’s fiery bat release was one of unbridled “Let’s gooooo!!” joy. Bautista’s was a fling, Gurriel’s was a spike.
As far as importance, there’s no question that Bautista’s will always reign supreme. The moment, the stakes, the emotions from that entire inning. The Bautista Bat Flip will forever be legendary. In fact, it created a wave of emotion all over the baseball world that made him public enemy No. 1 in pretty much all baseball circles outside of Canada.
There’s no doubting the importance of Friday’s night win for the 2021 Blue Jays. Their playoff hopes are hanging by a thread, and facing one of the teams they must catch is a golden opportunity to get back into the race.
Heading into the 8th inning down 8-2, the Jays beat some pretty insurmountable odds. Teams trailing by 6 or more runs in the 8th inning this season had a record of 1-457. Until Friday night. You could easily argue that this is the team’s most important win since 2016.
Gurriel’s slam (of the ball, and the bat) will be quickly forgotten if the Blue Jays go on to miss the playoffs. But if this comeback win is the spark that ignites the Jays on to a Wild Card berth, then I’m guessing that Lourdes’ grand slam and his reaction (along with Marcus Semien’s walk-off HR in the 9th, of course) will be remembered as the moments that triggered it all.