Lunchbox Hero and the Safety Squeezers

One game can make all the difference, can’t it? Coming into tonight’s game against the Yankees, it seemed like people were fixated on the losses to the Red Sox, the slumps the Jays’ sluggers were going through and John Farrell’s seeming insistence on using Octavio Dotel against left-handed batters.

I tuned into tonight’s game during the eighth inning. I can’t speak to what happened before that, but what I saw afterward was pretty inspiring.

The bottom of the ninth. Down two to the Yankees. Mariano Rivera on the mound. This is not a situation many teams have been able to overcome. Ever.

Over the course of his career, Rivera had 566 saves in 615 opportunities. That’s a 92% success rate. That’s a pretty slim chance the Jays are going to win.

But win they did.

Yunel Escobar, Jose Bautista, Adam Lind: They all reached base. Travis Snider did not.

Escobar scored. Lind moved Bautista to third. Literally everybody’s favourite Blue Jay (if that’s not true, it should be) Johnny Mac comes to the plate.

Beginning the season, when the Jays were doing great, fans everywhere seemed excited about the running game and the willingness of the team under Farrell to take chances. Then, when the Jays started losing, the running game was the first target of many fans’ ire (and, in some cases, rightfully so.)

People criticized Cito Gaston for sticking to his guns, but Farrell does that, too. Last night, with the Prime Minister of Defence at the dish and down a run to the Yankees with Rivera on the mound, John McDonald executed a perfect bunt and Bautista came home to score on a safety squeeze.

Let me say that again: John McDonald laid down a perfect safety squeeze bunt against Mariano Rivera to tie the game.

It was a thing of beauty.

Of course, asking for Rivera to take the loss in addition to blowing the save would be too much, and he got out of the inning. Extras. A good enough top of the 10th from Jon Rauch and the Jays again got a chance to end the game.

Ivan Nova comes in and Edwin Encarnacion immediately singles. Jayson Nix and Escobar proceed to hit deep fly outs, but E5, often slammed for a lack of hustle, runs his little heart out on those two flies. The man wanted to win, wanted to be the one to score the run that capped the comeback against the Yankees.

Two outs and Snider, who was 0-for-5 in the game had struck out three times — once apparently breaking his bat over his knee in frustration — comes to the plate. The same Snider who came into the game with a slash line of .151/.250/.245 and who seems to have been touted as a “bust” by impatient Leafs fans for years now.

But since you’re reading this, I assume you’re not one of the Snider doubters.

Snider comes to the plate and what does he do? He justifies your love.

Lunchbox Hero.

If you read this hoping for some kind of insight why what happened happened, I’m sorry. Sometimes when you witness something great, you just need to get it down.

9 thoughts on “Lunchbox Hero and the Safety Squeezers

  1. I will probably have more to say on this in the morning in a blog post of my own, but Travis Snider – even before this game-winning hit – continues to be my favourite Blue Jay for a variety of reasons. I really hope he does have that breakout season I predicted at the start of the year, but my gracious he looked awful at the start of this game.

    I just kept hoping he would be the guy up in the spot to win the game. Worked out perfectly.

  2. Also, you not being at this game is mind boggling. Unless of course you were working or something, in which case, you should quit work if they don’t allow you to get time off when the Yankees are in town, haha.

  3. Couldn’t agree more – it was indeed a thing of beauty!!
    IMO JM should be on the Jay’s Wall of Excellence – even Mike W. agrees.

    • Johnny Mac’s got my vote for the Level of Excellence!

      I really hope that he’s kept on as a coach as some level when he’s done playing. He could be the next Butterfield.

      • Pbrain, last I knew property tax was the rsnposeibility of municipalities. The only impact the state can have is to takeover tasks performed by local governments. This, of course would force the state to raise income tax. Thus setting a Democrats raise taxes rant.This shell game has gone on as long as I’ve been in NJ. Florio tried to clean up Kean’s financial mess by raising taxes. Whitman defeated Florio on a platform to lower income taxes. She didn’t do so by shrinking government however, rsnposeibility was shifted to local government thereby raising property tax. But Whitman added her own creative twist. She approved excessive budgets and truncated spending prior to year end. Whitman juggled the books until McGreevy took the reins and the cycle began anew.Corzine is now stuck with an unenviable task. The electorate is screaming for state services without use of the tax option. And in his spare time Corzine should reduce property tax which would require a tax increase. So much for your debate question.Now back to my question for you. .WHY WOULD THE GUY WHO’S AHEAD IN THE POLLS WANT AN EARLY DEBATE?and WHY WOULD THE GUY WHO’S TRAILING WANT TO POSTPONE?

  4. It’s a stretch to assume just because he’s a good defensive player he would make a good coach, but I’m all for it if he turns out to be a good coach!

    • I am definitely leaping to conclusions there, but look at what he does on the field and listen to how his teammates talk about him. I’d be more than happy to give him a shot at coaching if he wants to try it. Basically all he’d have to do is remember whatever Omar Vizquel told him and then tell it to his players!

  5. I’m not psychic, I just lueckd out in being right. Or maybe I somehow willed them to win. A lot of it is because they’re the closest team, and we tried to go to a game earlier this year which got rained out. Plus, I’ve been a bit of a Rockies fan since they started they used to show the games on Fox all the time, even back when it was on Channel 14. While you were busy doing homework, I was watching the Rockies.

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