VIDEO: G4 MarchMadnessHD
On my all time list of things I can’t believe we’re still debating I would say Jose Bautista’s bat flip ranks higher even than Deflategate.
As a non baseball watcher I’m the exact prototype for the Toronto Blue Jays 2014-2015 bandwagon fan. I checked the updates almost every day on the morning sports shows for the last third of the season and I watched probably 10 games overall, which is 9.5 more games than I watched for probably the last two seasons combined. Yet I found myself swept up in the magic of the playoffs. I was pretty into the first round and very much looked forward to watching game 5.
I ended up not being able to watch the game live and learned the score via online updates. Heading home I knew the box score and nothing else. There was one bit of intrigue though from a text the guy I was with had sent to him from a friend. It said: “when you get home you have to watch the entire game from the beginning. I didn’t sit down from the 5th inning on.” With that in the back of my mind I sat down and started the game on PVR.
I’ve already said I’m no baseball lover but I have no problem admitting that I can’t remember being so involved as a spectator in any game in any sport in all my life. This was only a game in round 1 of a sport I couldn’t have cared any less about for 20 years, and by the 7th inning stretch I didn’t think I could take anymore. I can only imagine what an actual fan of the team would have been going through, let alone a player on the field in the moment. This was a once in a lifetime type of game for most with a once in a lifetime electric atmosphere. It was already close to the single greatest game of anything I’ve ever watched, and then IT happened.
Now for me, any home run is kind of a mythical creature. It’s one of those sort of ultimate manhood moment things. Maybe it’s because I can’t even hit out of the infield at my elementary school, but there’s just something about that sound of perfect contact between ball and bat, when the batter has done everything they wanted to and just knows it’s gone. It’s different than a perfect hockey shot because the puck hits the net so quickly and the moment is over. It’s the same with most sports. But in baseball you have those home run moments when you need to see if it stays fair or if it’s got the distance, or maybe a guy can make a play on it and pull it back in. Then you have those moments when it’s just obliterated. There’s those precious 5 seconds or so when you know it, everyone knows it, and you just sit back and wait for it to land. Now add in that the build up to that moment was unique. There are very few home runs in recent history that have been hit during such an emotional game with such implications for desperate fans who’ve been waiting for it for over two decades. I was watching this game after the fact knowing full well what was about to happen but not daring to fully believe it, and I still jumped up and strutted around like I crushed it out myself. Bautista in my opinion could have done whatever he wanted and I wouldn’t have blamed him one bit for any of it. Imagine how ridiculous it would have been if after all that, he had gingerly placed the bat down and galloped along like it was just another day in a meadow. The bat flip was absolutely perfect. I’ll never forget it and I’ll be forever jealous of him for having been the guy who got to do it.
Verdict: baseball integrity can stick it.