No one really knows when this suddenly became a “thing”, but in the modern era of baseball, just like professional wrestlers, some closers have developed their own finishing move.
In 2016, Roberto Osuna and Russell Martin took their post-win celebration to a whole new level. It was a phenomenon which came into effect in late June; a quirky little “knock knock” handshake to celebrate a win by the Blue Jays.
This has been sitting as a draft in my cue for months, so why not today of all days to post every GIF of Osuna & Martin’s knock knock thing? Full GIFS below (they may take a while to load – just scroll down and they’ll autoplay in your browser).
June 22nd vs D-Backs
This is the original genesis of the celebration. And as with most things, it’s tough to top the original. The absolute elated look on Russell Martin’s face is the best part.
July 6th vs Royals
With this one, unfortunately the cameras cut away just as Osuna and Martin were about to perform the “getting the door” bit, but Martin looks just as ready and enthusiastic as ever.
July 7th vs Tigers
Again, the TV cameras missed the bulk of it, but you can catch a very quick glimpse of the beginning and the end of the embrace.
July 17 vs A’s
We’re getting closer! Still not the full celebration, but Martin once again is in character as the “genuinely surprised guy opening the door”.
July 19 vs D-Backs
Maybe it’s because they were on the road in Arizona, but this one seems a little subdued to me. Osuna and Martin didn’t quite go all-out for this one (maybe because it wasn’t a save situation).
July 25 vs Padres
Back at home, Roberto Osuna and Russell Martin finally had an opportunity to go over their routine in front of the home crowd, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Look at how happy Martin looks!
August 3rd vs Astros
This is where it starts to get really good. Kudos to Osuna for really playing up the “long time no see” angle, here. If only somebody could figure out what Osuna said here.
August 4th vs Astros
The very next night, Osuna and Martin had another opportunity to break out their signature celebration. Roberto Osuna was a little extra emphatic with the imaginary knock at the door and Russell Martin was especially happy to answer.
Here’s the side angle of the embrace … just for good measure.
August 8th vs Rays
That look on Roberto Osuna’s face is everything, isn’t it?
August 13th vs Astros
This is without question the best one of the whole lot. Martin throws Osuna for a loop by shoving him aside and then Osuna jumps out of the bushes much to Martin’s surprise. Give the guys credit for putting on a little community theatre for this one.
August 20th vs Indians
With the team on the road, nothing too exuberant about this one. Just a plain and simple “knock and answer”, with a very brief cameo by Troy Tulowitzki.
September 10th vs Red Sox
Osuna and Martin had to wait a few weeks to bust out their signature celebration against the Red Sox, and Martin added a few taps to the chest for good measure.
September 16th vs Angels
Finally, we get a full sideview of the entire celebration. But notice how Martin went for the handshake at first and Osuna went right to the “knock knock”?
September 27th vs Orioles
At this point in the season, every win felt like one giant step closer to a playoff spot. September was a particularly tough month for the Blue Jays, but they pulled out the win and Roberto Osuna added a double knock as an exclamation point.
October 2nd vs Red Sox
With the Blue Jays’ season on the line that fateful weekend in Fenway Park, it was alleviating see the Blue Jays clinch a postseason spot on the last day of the season. The win ensured the Blue Jays would host the Wild Card game, and Osuna & Martin could’ve have been more relieved.
October 18th vs Indians
Down 3-0 in the ALCS against the Cleveland Indians, the Blue Jays needed to win to extend their 2016 campaign by one more game. That’s precisely what they did in Game 4 by temporarily staving off elimination. In the process, this was the last Osuana/Martin embrace of 2016.
GIF footage courtesy of MLB.com/Sportsnet