9 “We’re not finished,” Bautista said. “That’s right.”
“We’ve been waiting a long time,” Designated Hitter, Edwin Encarnacion, said of the Postseason success. “And we’re here. Me and Jose [Bautista] enjoyed this moment. We’ve never seen anything like this.”
Bautista and Encarnacion, the two longest tenured position players on the club, understand that there is still a long way to go. Dragons remain to be slain and moments remain to be made. However, they understand that a little perspective – and enjoyment, as you never quite know if you’ll ever return to this level – is also important. The latter of the two Jays, contributing to the rally by way of the original homerun to tie the game, is not to be overshadowed by the former’s timely smash. Both of these players have been the power duo of the Toronto lineup for years now and both should be – and certainly are – appreciated by fans.
“I can’t really remember what was going through my mind, to be quite honest with you. After I made contact, I just, you know – I didn’t plan anything I did. And so I still don’t know how I did it.” Fair enough. No problems there. Who wouldn’t be excited and caught up in the moment? After all, it was borderline anything – obnoxious, flaunting, whatever you want to call it – if it is to be considered egregious at all. To hammer home the point in not too fine of a manner, though, Bautista was completely within his right to do what he did: the entire thing has been blown completely out of proportion and has been done so, conveniently and suspiciously enough, mainly by those who might very well be accused of reacting in the moment themselves. Moving on, moving on. What about the play that put the Rangers up 3-2, Jose? “It’s a tough moment in the game.” Fair enough again. Gibbons also seemed to understand. “That umpiring crew did a great job,” Gibbons said. “Those kinds of plays are never easy… it’s a crazy play. I’ve never seen it before like that. But it ended up turning out all right.” That’s easy to say when your club is the winning one, but you get the sense that Bautista and Gibbons are being candid. However, one thing needs to be rectified: there are a number of fans and experts wondering aloud if the Jays’ comeback is, in some form, karma. The answer is no. What happened with Choo’s bat and the umpire’s ruling is completely and squarely within the rules of baseball. It would have been a horrendously heartbreaking way to lose a series and end a season but it is the right call. The Rangers should not and were not penalized for playing within the rules and adhering to a call made by a neutral umpire. Toronto’s comeback was a product of the club’s indefatigable spirit, resolute determination, fan support, talent, and a whole host of admirable qualities the organization contains. It was not, though, due to cosmic intervention and in no way should it be suggested that Texas invoked any baseball deities’ collective wrath.
Now, it wasn’t all rallying and comradeship. There were some fisticuffs, too, or at least some preludes to the brawling spirit. Between fans throwing their items onto the field, Encarnacion and Ranger Sam Dyson’s misunderstanding, the aforementioned Dyson and Troy Tulowitzki’s encounter at the plate, Hamels, Dyson, and essentially the rest of the club taking shots at Bautista’s bat flip… the list goes on. The thing is, though, none of these – with the exception of fans hurling beer cans onto the field – are causes for offence. This goes, especially, for Bautista’s home run celebration. When a player hits a blast of that magnitude in a game of such high tension, some merriment is definitely in order. The slugger was even diplomatic in his postgame interview about a number of topics, including the bat toss and trot.
The Toronto Blue Jays and their postseason adventures continue. Will the series for the AL crown against a Royals team who has some history with the Blue Jays spark the same kind of drama we’ve seen thus far? It remains to be seen, but it will be seen soon enough. However, this series has certainly been a feather in Toronto’s cap.