The significance of Bautista’s homer is hard to overstate given the drama of the inning, of the series, of the man. But this is a Red Sox site so you know it had to come around to this sooner or later: thanks to Bautista, now Blue Jays fans are starting to understand how Red Sox fans feel about David Ortiz.
I should say this isn’t meant to talk down to Blue Jays fans or devalue what Bautista accomplished for greater Toronto and batflip-kind. He has quite probably been the man to turn baseball around in Toronto, and not just with one well-timed homer, but with his own career renaissance. They say you have to walk a mile in a person’s shoes to understand them, and watching Bautista’s bat explode on the ball and the man explode in the moment, it made me think of the treatise on overcoming adversity that Ortiz has authored in Boston, the moments he’s pulled the Red Sox through, the chains of history he’s brushed aside as if they were nothing because they were nothing to David Ortiz.
A year after joining the organization, one that hadn’t won a World Series in 85 seasons at the time, Ortiz kept the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS with game winning, game-ending hits in both game four and game five. He homered off of Kevin Brown in game seven after Johnny Damon was thrown out at home plate with the all too familiar doom threatening to take hold. But no, because Ortiz wouldn’t let it, crushing the ball into the right-field bleachers off Brown and taking all the pressure off his teammates like stabbing a balloon. Oh, he also won the ’04 Division Series with a two-run homer in the 10th inning after Vlad Guerrero had hit a grand slam to tie the game in the seventh. That’s three game-winning hits, two of them homers, in a six game stretch of playoff games, if you’re the counting sort. Then, if we’re really going to do this, he homered in the first inning of the World Series against the Cardinals, as if to say we’re not done yet. We’re gonna take this whole thing. And all that? That’s just one season