Joey Bats

2 Years Ago: Bautista Flipped His Bat and Jays Fans Flipped Their Lids

MLB.com

Earlier this week marked the 25th anniversary of Roberto Alomar’s home run off Dennis Eckersley from the 1992 ALCS. The importance of that hit cannot be understated.

As crucial as that home run was, there’s an entire generation that was either too young to remember it, or they weren’t even born yet. I myself have vague memories of that game from Thanksgiving weekend of 1992.

Jose Bautista’s home run in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS was the seminal moment for a new generation of Blue Jays fans. It was Alomar’s and Joe Carter’s home runs all rolled into one.



Bautista’s home run was the culmination of 22 consecutive years of disappointment. In an instant, the ghosts of Blue Jays past were gone. Bautista saved the Jays from infamy as the “team who literally threw the game away”.

I could wax poetic about that play for years. Many will say it was “only” a division series-winning home run, but in that very moment, it felt like everything; happiness, relief and elation all at once.

People describe the Carter home run as the “where were you” moment. Blue Jays fans now have something new thing to call their own: the bat flip.

I myself had tickets to the game, but sold them to a friend from the East Coast (hey Luke!); I’m still confident that had I been in attendance, the Blue Jays wouldn’t have won that game and the bat flip would’ve never happened.

[ Related Post: Jose Bautista’s Bat Flip Set to Various “Hero” Songs ]

Earlier in the game, Edwin Encarnacion hit a game-tying hit off Cole Hamels and I proceeded to scream and jump around my house like a madman. My ten-month-old son was horrified at my reaction, so when Bautista went yard, I was screaming on the inside, but doing my best not to traumatize my son that much further.

I may have blacked out in that instant, but I’m pretty sure several laps were done around the house twirling my shirt in the air.

If that was the reaction at home, I can only imagine what it was like to be there in the flesh at the Rogers Centre for Game 5 of the ALDS. From what I’ve heard from folks who were there, “insanity” doesn’t even begin to describe what transpired in Toronto that night.



Of all the people to describe it best, it may have been the man who was behind the plate; Chris Gimenez of the Texas Rangers.

No matter what happens with the Blue Jays in the future, that game and specifically Bautista’s bat flip will be remembered forever. Everything surrounding it is so damn dramatic that it almost didn’t seem real.

But it was. Thank you Jose for giving fans something they’ll always cherish – a ball that flew into the second deck in left field and a bat that danced, dangled and dove in the air.

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez “mine” incident. He’ll also retell the story of Game 5 of the ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.


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