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Jose Bautista's Epic Home Run and Bat Flip Rocked the Baseball World a Year Ago Today

The Joey Bats bat flip will never get old.

by Oren Weisfeld
Oct 14 2016, 9:31pm

The shot. Photo by Chris Young/Canadian Press

It's Oct. 14, 2015, and the Blue Jays are playing the Rangers in Game 5 of the ALDS after erasing a 2-0 series lead to force a decisive win-or-go-home contest in Toronto. It's a wild scene in front of an electric crowd waiting for the home team to win its first postseason series in over 20 years.

What they were treated to was a one-of-a-kind game that came down to an insane 53-minute seventh inning that would eventually send Toronto to its first ALCS since 1993.

Here's a quick reminder of the craziness that played out at Rogers Centre that unforgettable day.

In the top of the seventh and the game tied 2-2, with Shin-Soo Choo at bat and Rougned Odor on third, Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin attempted to throw the ball back to (at the time) relief pitcher Aaron Sanchez when it hit off Choo's bat and scored Odor from third. Commotion then ensued on the controversial play. The umpires convened, ruled that the ball was live and the run scored, much to the displeasure of the angry sold-out crowd in Toronto that went on to litter the field with beer. The Rangers took a 3-2 lead, and the Blue Jays played the game under protest.

But despite the unfortunate outcome in the top of the seventh, the Blue Jays were not done—far from it, in fact. A series of Rangers errors allowed Toronto to tie the game at 3-3, setting the stage for Jose Bautista with two on and two outs. Bautista got a 97-mph fastball that he didn't miss, rocking it 431 feet to give the Blue Jays a 6-3 lead they wouldn't relinquish. But it wasn't the homer the shook the baseball world, it was the epic bat flip that proceeded.

The home run-bat flip combo was not only a defining moment in Blue Jays history, but also the lasting image of the 2015 MLB season—an epic spectacle that baseball fans will forever remember.

One year later, the red-hot Blue Jays once again find themselves in the ALCS after sweeping the Rangers 3-0 in the ALDS. Game 1 against Cleveland is exactly a year after Joey Bats had his career-defining moment.

While Edwin Encarnacion, who drilled a walk-off homer to win the wild-card game, and Josh Donaldson have provided much of the dramatics for the Blue Jays so far this postseason, we're willing to bet last year's hero has another trick up his sleeve.