Mini Jose Bautista seemingly willed the real Jose Bautista to hit his game-winning home run
When Jose Bautista hit his ALDS-winning three-run home run on Wednesday in the Blue Jays' 6-3 victory, it felt like it was something that came straight out of the never-before-released sequel to "The Natural." Here were the Blue Jays making this madcap comeback -- one that was punctuated by the face of the team standing at home plate, with a glare and giant bat flip, to send his team to the ALCS.
Turns out, Bautista's home run may actually have been summoned thanks to one intrepid fan. Meet 9-year-old Oscar Wood, who, with his marker-drawn Bautista beard, Blue Jays shirsey and a "Jose, Jose, Jose" chant in the background, seemingly willed the three-run homer into existence.
His form's remarkably on-point:
It's not the first time that Oscar has been responsible for a Bautista home run, either. Oscar's father, Benn, talked to MLB.com and said that when Bautista hit two home runs against the Rays in September, Oscar had been swinging for the fences too - though he hadn't captured them on film.
And while the real Bautista is a Blue Jays legend, the Mini Bautista has become a fan favorite ever since Oscar first donned the beard "three or four years ago." It all started when Benn had grown out his beard, and his daughter pointed out that he looked a little like Bautista. So, he and Oscar went as the "Bautista brothers." Though Benn didn't keep up with the alter-ego, since then, "every game we've been to, [Oscar's] been in the beard."
Oscar, who is a Bautista fan because he likes how "he's a big slugger" (which Oscar "tries to be" when playing Little League), said that the right fielder is a fan of the get-up, too. Putting on a faux-deep voice, Oscar quoted Bautista's friendly remark upon seeing his faux facial hair: "Nice beard, bro."
But he's not the only one in the family who dresses up. According to Benn, Oscar's brother Jasper "has been Mini Lawrie, then Mini Norris and now he's Mini Tulo -- every time there's a Trade Deadline, he has to pick a new favorite. And my daughter wants to be the first female MLB pitcher, so she has been attached to Dickey since he started. She loves the knuckleball."
And after Game 5, the family got a chance to celebrate with Josh Donaldson for a perfect cap to the evening:
So, be prepared for more Mini moments when the Blue Jays start the ALCS against the Royals on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX. Though it starts in Kansas City, they'll be back in Toronto for Game 3 on Monday.