With two runners on and the fifth and deciding game of the ALDS tied in the bottom of the 7th inning, Jose Bautista crushed a Sam Dyson pitch into the upper deck of the Rogers Center to give the Jays a 6-3 lead.
In a postseason that’s already had its fair share of absolutely monstrous home runs (looking at you, Yoenis Cespedes), none has been quite as important as Bautista’s last night. Nor has any single home run caused so much outrage.
After Bautista went yard, he unleashed arguably the most triumphant bat flip you’ll ever see. Take a look for yourself:
Unsurprisingly, a celebration like this caused serious outrage around the baseball world, as many players and spectators felt that Bautista’s bat flip was unnecessary and unclassy. Here’s Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels weighing in:
Cole Hamels: “It’s hard to be politically correct. It’s tough to see. A lot of us on our team don’t carry ourselves that way.”
— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilson_FWST) October 15, 2015
Dyson, who surrendered the homer, accused Bautista of disrespecting the game.
“Jose needs to calm that down, just kind of respect the game a little more,” Dyson said after the game. “He’s a huge role model for the younger generation that’s coming up playing this game, and I mean he’s doing stuff that kids do in Wiffle ball games and backyard baseball. It shouldn’t be done.”
Curt Schilling, on ESPN afterwards, said he understood Bautista’s emotion but also said he hoped Bautista would be ready to get hit next season when the two teams faced each other.
Others felt that Bautista’s celebration was totally deserved.
Former Blue Jay Joe Carter seemed to have the most reasonable (if also biased) stance on the whole matter.
Now remember, the Jays haven’t been in the playoffs since 1994. They trailed 0-2 in the series, and in Game 5 they quickly fell behind 2-0. After Toronto rallied to tie the game, the Rangers took a controversial 3-2 lead in the top of the 7th, as Rougned Odour scored from third on the Unintentional Interference Rule: when Jays’ catcher went to throw the ball back to the mound, it accidentally careened off Shin-Shoo Choo’s bat and went dribbling down the third baseline. Odour raced home.
The umpires reviewed the play (and reviewed it again), and after they upheld the run Toronto fans started belting trash from the stands onto the field in protest. Had the Jays not rallied and the Rangers had held on to win, it would have been one of the more controversial clinching games in recent baseball playoff history.
Oh, and here’s Joey Bats himself dropping the mic on the whole matter: