Can you really put into words what just happened? Is there any way to formulate a coherent thought after witnessing one of the craziest games in postseason history?
Set aside everything that transpired leading up to 1993; that was the biggest game the Toronto Blue Jays have played since Joe touched ’em all. There’s no question, Game 5 of the ALDS will go down as one of the most entertaining baseball games you will ever witness.
And to think … the Toronto Blue Jays are just getting started.
When you step back and think about what the Blue Jays just accomplished, it’s quite impressive. To be down 0-2 in a best of five series, win the next two games on the road and then capture that decisive game at home is something out of a fairy tale.
Conventional thinking would have dictated the Texas Rangers to win this series after going up 2-0 on the Blue Jays, but the Jays somehow battled back and deliver that final knockout blow to the Rangers.
In essence, the Blue Jays almost lost their identity and then found themselves again all within the span of five games. And they couldn’t have picked a better time to rediscover the qualities that made them a 93 win team during the regular season.
Jose Bautista’s heroics are deserving of an entire article all on its own (which will be posted later on), but I will say this; Bautista cemented his legacy as one of the best Blue Jays of all-time with that hit.
Jose can now add that to his laundry list of accomplishments as a Blue Jay. And he’s now the proud owner of one of the four biggest home runs in Blue Jays franchise history.
The seventh inning of that game was complete and utter insanity; there is no other way to describe it.
A freak play at the plate involving a catcher throwing a ball off the hitter’s bat, the subsequent irate reaction from the fans and the Blue Jays themselves, then the parade of errors by the Rangers, the Blue Jays’ ensuing rally, and a bench-clearing thrown in just for good measure.
If you take the entire 2015 Toronto Blue Jays season and boil it down to just that seventh inning of the ALDS, that is one damn entertaining inning.
After watching that bizarre occurrence of Russell Martin careening the ball off Shin-Soo Choo’s bat, I got this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. “Not like this … this is not how the season ends” was something that I kept telling myself.
I’m sure other fans had that same nightmare of that being the decisive play of the series and that would always hang over the heads of the Blue Jays, much like Steve Bartman did with the Chicago Cubs after all those years.
There was this feeling of disbelief that a weird technicality would define the 2015 Blue Jays season. After clawing back to even the series at 2-2, there were immediate fears that the Martin-throwing-the-ball play was the one that would be replayed over and over on blooper reels for decades to come.
As beer cans rained down from the upper deck, I had visions of headlines line “Toronto fans tear city apart” and “Jays fans embarrass themselves” becoming the footnote on a Blue Jays loss. The potential was there for this game to be a total disaster.
But just as the Baseball Gods taketh away, they also giveth.
The bottom of the seventh inning was a gift from the Baseball Gods for the Toronto Blue Jays. Three otherwise routine plays turned into three errors by the Texas Rangers. Three plays where the ball didn’t even leave the infield.
Then Josh Donaldson hit a ball just barely out of the outfield, narrowly escaping the reach of Rougned Odor. And unlike Game 2 of the series, the Blue Jays capitalized on those opportunities.
With Jose Bautista’s go-ahead home run, he single-handedly saved that game from spiralling out of control and put the Blue Jays back on course to fulfil their destiny.
Also, thanks in part to some solid relief work from Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna, the Rangers didn’t even get much of a chance to even stage a comeback.
Now here we are; the Toronto Blue Jays have advanced to the American League Championship Series. A little over one week ago, that proposition seemed nearly impossible when the team was down 0-2. But the Toronto Blue Jays’ 2015 season will live on at least another 4 games.
It’s been an incredible ride so far, and now that the Blue Jays have gotten a taste of postseason victory, they’ll be insatiable until they raise another banner at the Rogers Centre. Nobody wants this journey to end.
Maybe it’s just me, but after they overcame that 0-2 series deficit, I wonder if the Toronto Blue Jays have now set themselves up to go the distance. I’m not saying they’re a team of destiny, but now that the Jays vanquished their postseason ghosts, they could become a real force the rest of the playoffs.
In the meantime, this is a moment to celebrate and revel in. Not only have the Blue Jays won their first playoff series since 1993, it’s the first playoff series a professional Toronto sports team has won since 2004.
After 11 years, Toronto and the entire country of Canada is ready for another winner. Today, it’s the Toronto Blue Jays.
Image via Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP/Getty Images