Jose Bautista is undoubtedly the face of the Toronto Blue Jays. And he’s back.
For the younger fan base who have only heard tales of Joe Carter in 1993, “Joey Bats” is all they’ve ever known.
His back-to-back home run titles in 2010 and 2011 cemented his place as a bonafide superstar. He then led the team throughout those ‘black jersey years’, and FINALLY into the postseason breaking a 20-year drought and captivating this city like we’ve never seen.
But at 36 years old, he is showing signs of slowing down. His injuries last season didn’t help his free agent value, but he is still Jose Bautista. The same intense competitor who’ll never back down and is always willing to put the team on his back. That’s what makes him great.
And great players always have a knack of coming up big when it counts.
Case in point:
The ‘Revenge’ Home Run
Game 1 of the 2016 ALDS vs Texas
Yes, there have been a few ‘revenge homers’ for Bautista over the years (hi Orioles!), but this one was in a postseason game. After the ‘Rougned Odor punch in May,’ Jose’s 3-run homer to extend the lead to 10-0 to open the ALDS was salt in the wound. And it was great.
Wild Card Game Homer
2016 AL Wild Card Game vs Baltimore
This 2nd inning homer giving the Jays an early lead was a bit overshadowed by Edwin Encarnacion‘s walk-off home run (OK, you probably forgot about it), but still. Clutch.
2016 Pennant Race
Game-winning HR vs Yankees and Game-tying HR vs Seattle
Some late-season struggles saw the team slide down the standings, almost missing the postseason altogether. The Blue Jays barely snuck in and Bautista was big down the stretch.
2015 ALCS Game 6 Home Run
Game-tying 2-run HR vs Kansas City
Another big situation. Another big home run.
The Bat Flip
Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS vs Texas
This is why Jose Bautista is a legend in this city. There should be a statue of this outside the Dome with him standing there majestically… then a separate statue of his bat, ten feet away.
The best part of this signing is that Blue Jays get a very determined Jose trying to prove to the entire league that he’s still got it.
And a ‘chip-on-his-shoulder’ Bautista is the best kind of Bautista.