“I tried to keep it simple,” Bautista said modestly, addressing CP24.
For those who haven’t watched the October 14, 2015 game, the pressure and anticipation leading up to the historic moment cannot be overstated.
It was a make or die 5 game in the American League Division series and the Texas Rangers were tied with the Jays 2-2 heading into the seventh inning.
Between games, Jays wide receiver Russel Martin tossed the ball to pitcher Aaron Sanchez and accidentally hit Ranger Shin-Soo Choo’s bat in the process. Rougned Odor, who was on third base, would capitalize on the error and score to lead the Jays 3-2.
There was a general sense of hopelessness that would engulf the Rogers Center, as well as bars and lounges across the country.
In the late seventh and after a number of delays, the Jays would be back at bat and witness a number of mistakes from their Texas opponents. Josh Donaldson would later lead in a race and tie the game. Two Blue Jays remained on first and third base.
Cue Jose Bautista.
“I was trying to calm myself down by breathing a little. Just focus on the task at hand, ”he said.
“It was a little easier for me that the pitcher on the mound didn’t have a huge repertoire of pitches and I knew how he liked to attack guys,” Bautista said, of Rangers relief pitcher Sam Dyson. .
“So I focused on one area of the strike zone and was able to get the ground I could hit.”
Bautista would end up hitting a three-run homer, ousing the Rangers in the process. And then, with a blow of his stick, the puncher born in the Dominican Republic established himself as a national sports hero.
“I get chills every time, it’s a moment I’ll never forget,” he says. “I’m glad I was able to bring a smile and joy to everyone that day.”
“It was a huge moment in playoff history for the Jays, since we hadn’t made the playoffs for 22 years at that time.
Described as the bat flip heard around the world, the home run celebration was not without its critics. Members of the Texas Rangers would call the move unsportsmanlike, with others saying Bautista needed to “respect” the game more.
Five years later, Bautista said he saw “both sides” of the reaction, but tried to focus on the positives.
“Everything has changed since then. I don’t know if what I did was what broke that barrier, a lot of people say I’m going to have to take my word for it, ”he said.
Former Jays Pitcher Marcus Stroman agrees and expressed his support in a tweet posted on Wednesday.
“The players who flip bats on singles broken in the first set these days,” said Stroman. “Lol, I still wish he had thrown the bat much further!” LEGEND. HAPPY JOEY BATS DAY! “
Although “Joey Bats” has since left the Blue Jays, he said he was proud of the legacy he left behind, both in baseball and bat flips.
“I’m just happy that it’s been a while since everyone is looking on the positive side now and people can enjoy and celebrate the circuits and let the fans be a part of them as well.