That’s how you end your final regular season home game. That’s how you cap off Fan Appreciation Day, with the biggest sign of appreciation any fan could ask for; a walk-off home run courtesy of Josh Donaldson.
His clutch home run capped off what was an incredible weekend for the Blue Jays as they enjoyed their final homestand of the regular season. Not only did they sweep the lowly Tampa Bay Rays, they also clinched a playoff berth on home soil.
As the sold out crowd stood there cheering, clapping and waving their rally towels after Josh Donaldson’s game-winning home run, many had the same thought; “I don’t want this to end”.
In previous years, the Blue Jays’ final home game has been malaise and somewhat depressing. But this year, fans didn’t want to leave the ballpark because they didn’t want this Blue Jays high to end.
For the first time in 22 years, it won’t have to end … it will just have to be put on hold until the beginning of the postseason.
Josh Donaldson Brings the Dramatics
Is there a man you’d rather have up at the plate with the game on the line than Josh Donaldson? The Bringer of Rain cranked his 42nd home run of the season in dramatic fashion, which makes his 28th game-tying or go-ahead home run of the season.
Just when it looks like he might be slowing down or the rigors of the 162 game schedule might be affecting his play, Josh Donaldson somehow finds a way to win.
And it wasn’t just with his home run, either. His diving tag at third base to get out Mikie Mahtook was almost just as important. At that point, Mahtook was on third base with nobody out and the Rays were still ahead 4-3.
That play changed the entire dynamic of the game, as Aaron Sanchez then induced an inning-ending double play and the Blue Jays avoided the threat. And that was all due in large part to Josh Donaldson.
We’re running out of superlatives to praise Josh Donaldson with, but in one season alone, he’s helped turn the entire fortunes of this franchise around. Just when the Blue Jays couldn’t ask for any more from Josh Donaldson, he does.
Mark Buehrle Hints at Coming Back?
Among all the clubhouse craziness following Saturday’s game, Barry Davis spoke with Mark Buehrle about clinching a playoff spot and his potential future with the team.
Now, Buehrle may have been messing with Davis, but I found it very interesting that Mark said this when asked whether his time in Toronto may be coming to an end.
“Do you know something I don’t know? I could have a one-year deal on the table that they’ve offered me already.”
Again, Mark Buehrle more than likely was being facetious with Barry Davis, but what if he wasn’t? Having Buehrle back on a one-year deal would be a little bit of added insurance for a starting rotation that could be in flux next season for the Blue Jays.
Earlier this year, Buehrle hinted at retiring at season’s end, but considering the position the Blue Jays are in right now and how well they are set up for 2016, maybe Mark Buehrle won’t mind sticking around for a little while longer in Toronto after all.
A Notice About Fan Interference: STOP IT
Stop doing this. Stop it now. pic.twitter.com/HhmLhftXA9
— Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) September 26, 2015
You would think that by now, certain fans would’ve gotten the message that it’s not cool to interfere with the home team’s ability to play the game.
Such was the case for the gentleman who was at the Jays game on Saturday afternoon. He decided it was a wise idea to reach into play and pick up a baseball that was still “in play”.
I’m not into shaming these people outright per se, but this needs to stop. It’s happened way too many times to the Blue Jays this year, and my fear is that something like this could happen in the postseason and we’d have another Steve Bartman situation on our hands.
Listen, I get it … you get caught up in the moment and the blinders are on and all you want to do is catch a baseball. But here’s the problem, so does the other guy, who just so happens to be doing this as his job.
If you really want a baseball so badly, march up the steps into the Jays Shop and buy a baseball.
I don’t know if these people are brand new fans to the game of baseball and aren’t clear on the rules, but just a reminder, you cannot interfere with a ball in play. It is grounds for automatic ejection and ridicule on social media.
When the Blue Jays play at home, they’re supposed to have a home field advantage. Fans reaching into play and either picking up baseballs or preventing Jose Bautista from making a catch do not qualify. So stop it. Stop it now.
Images courtesy of Vancouver Sun/MLB.com/CBC