Blue Jays fans gave Jose Bautista a hero's send-off in their final home game of the season
The Blue Jays beat the Yankees on Sunday, 9-5, in their final game at Rogers Centre this season. It could very well have also been the final home game for Jose Bautista with the team, who will be a free agent in the offseason.
Of course, Toronto fans were well aware that this could be the last time they'd be able to root for the slugger, who's planted himself in franchise lore for his leadership and bat-flipping heroics over the years ... something this fan paid homage to with a great sign:
Fans gave Bautista a standing ovation throughout the afternoon:
... and in the sixth inning, he strode to the plate and promptly cracked a base hit, which no doubt made them all pretty happy:
Manager John Gibbons removed Bautista from the game with one out in the ninth inning, setting up another ovation and a curtain call from the Jays' dugout. After the game, he expressed his appreciation for the day's events, as quoted by MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm:
Bautista: "A lot of good emotions. It's good to be recognized and it's good to feel the love. I appreciate everything that happened today."- Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) September 24, 2017
Bautista expanded on those emotions:
"A lot of feelings. It's probably hard to narrow down just one or the one that stuck out the most. There were a lot of things that go through your head quickly at that moment. I don't quite remember exactly all of the things that I was thinking about. It was kind of a blur to me but I enjoyed it."
Despite the uncertainty of his upcoming offseason, Bautista is still trying to stay in the moment, as he told Chisholm:
"I don't know. I have to wait and see. First of all, the season's not over. We have six more games and I'm definitely focused on finishing strong, just like the rest of us. There's going to be time for that and I haven't really given it any thought so far."
"It was a good day," said Bautista's teammate, Marcus Stroman. "It's my brother Bau. He's been extremely instrumental for my career on and off the field. I can't express it enough. Extremely thankful for him, just glad he can get a proper celebration of the career he's had here by the fans today."
If that was indeed Bautista's final game in Toronto, he definitely went out in style.