This column was going to be about some of my favorite games of the past week in baseball. The play-offs have an intensity that a 162 game regular season lacks and in a 5 game series, statistical probabilities are thrown out the window. That is most true in the final game of a series when the teams are tied. A Game Five in a best of five Series is like flipping a coin and seeing where it will land. Something happened in the 7th inning of Game 5 between the Texas Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays that I have never before seen in baseball. The coin was flipped and it landed on <i>Mars</i>. The 7th inning of the game represented 53 minutes of baseball as I had never seen it before.
It started with an errant throw. Russell Martin, the catcher for the Rangers, attempted to throw the ball back to the mound. It hit the hand of the batter which, according to <a href=”http://mlb.nbcsports.com/2015/10/14/beer-cans-fly-in-toronto-as-rangers-score-on-live-ball-deflection/”>Rule 3.15</a> means the ball is live. Rougned Odor, of the Rangers, made a heads up play to break a 2-2 tie and scored from 3rd on the error. It looked like the series was going to be decided by that error. The umpires reviewed their decision and confirmed that the run would stand.
The Rangers started the 7th inning with a one run lead. Hamels pitched well but the infield defense completely fell apart. The bases loaded thanks to three consecutive errors on routine plays. Two of the errors were charged to shortstop Elvis Andrus and one was charged to first baseman Mitch Moreland. I began to wonder if the Rangers would ever catch a ball again. Hamels was pulled from the game after a bloop fielder’s choice by Josh Donaldson allowed one run to score. There were two outs and two on when Jose Bautista to face stepped to the plate. Bautista got a 1-1 count against Sam Dyson when he hit a monster three run home run. Watch the reaction of not just Bautista, but of the fans who know that the ball was gone as soon as it left Bautista’s bat.
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Bautista’s bat flip has drawn some frowns from the sports writing establishment who continue to struggle with the place of Latino players like Bautista in today’s game. They consider themselves gatekeepers and ask what Joe DiMaggio would do. However, celebrations should be part of the game, because the game is something to celebrate. An achievement on the magnitude of Bautista’s is something to get excited about. One tweet made an excellent point about how <a href=” https://twitter.com/euqubud/status/588046650549129216″>the game needs to respect Latino players</a> more than it does. The reaction to Bautista’s bat flip is more evidence of baseball’s discomfort with Latin ballplayers. This piece isn’t about the marginalization of Latin ballplayers though. This piece is about the most amazing 53 minutes I have ever watched in not just baseball but in all of sports.