An Open Letter to Jose Bautista: Blue Jays Legend

Dear Jose,

I write on behalf of an entire generation of Blue Jays fans. I’m part of a group that never saw the World Series banner fly north of the border or got the chance to see Joe touch first, let alone “‘em all”. But it’s not just World Series glory this generation has missed out on; we never saw Roger Clemens take home his two Cy Young Awards, or got the chance to be captured by the magic of Carlos Delgado’s four homer game. Many of us are even too young to have appreciated Roy Halladay’s dominance of the American League for the better part of a decade. For us, you are Blue Jays baseball.

The night after the Jays were eliminated from this year’s American League Championship Series, I created a Twitter thread. It was a trip down memory lane, recounting some of your greatest moments in a Jays uniform. If anyone has any remaining doubt about your significance to this franchise, I encourage them to check it out. As I was creating the thread, I realized something important: The compilation required no research. I did not feel a need to crowdsource for forgotten moments, or look up intricacies on Baseball-Reference; I was tweeting memories from as far back as 2010, when I was just 11 years-old, and yet I needed no refresher whatsoever. You are the only player for whom I could do this. Most everything else from those seasons is a blur, and yet my memories of your play shine through with vivid, colourful detail.

In the eyes of my generation, you are more than just the Bat Flip. You made your mark in our hearts long before there were any banners to show for it. For half of a decade, you were our constant. No matter how dismal the team around you was, no matter how many Fred Lewises and Emilio Bonifacios were penciled into the lineup above you, we could always look forward to your electrifying plate appearances. Whether it was Usher’s “OMG”, or A$AP Ferg’s “New Level”, your walk-up music was a sign of good things to come. Even without the Bat Flip, you would still be the king of the “boss” home run. And hey, in case anyone forgot, according to the numbers, you’d still be the king of the home run. Continuing to look at the numbers, you’re also damn-near the king of on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and owning Steve Simmons.

The great thing is; we don’t have to take away the Bat Flip. That makes this all the better, because man, was it glorious. We’re more than a year removed from that moment, which means I’m approaching the point where I can speak about it rationally instead of spewing my heart out onto an unsuspecting keyboard. But I’m not sure if rational thought serves my point very well. Instead it’s probably best to return to the day after Game 5, when I could barely form a sentence, let alone a well-constructed article (shoutout to editors). This is what I managed to get down on a page:

“These were the feelings that create nostalgia. These were the feelings that create irrational thought, and I’ll fully admit to guilt of that right now. In 2030, when the “young whipper-snappers” on whatever social media platform that replaces Twitter are trying to convince me that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the greatest Blue Jay of all time after putting up historical numbers during a rebuilding phase, the chances are, I won’t even entertain it. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will never make me feel the way I felt on October 14th, 2015. You tell yourself that you’re never going to give in to the narratives, until you live through a narrative that is impossible to ignore.”

With one swing of the bat you went from my personal greatest Blue Jay of all time to the undisputed GBOAT. No one can ever tell me otherwise. Unfortunately, many people passionately disagree with me. They say you are simply a great player who was lost in an era of mediocrity. They claim that you were “no Alomar, no Fernandez, no Carter.” One swing of a bat completely dispelled that notion. That home run was the validation of the bond my generation shares with you. I’ve never been happier for a baseball player in my life.

Sadly, that validation appears to be wearing off. I’m seeing it happen even now, as I write this letter. “He and his attitude can go”, “I’m glad to part with him”, “He’s overstayed his welcome”. This misguided sentiment is precisely the reason why I needed to share my thoughts. The generation I speak for is still quite young; we don’t have a prominent voice in the fanbase. Those of us who write about the team are few and far between. We don’t call into the local radio stations, and our social media presence is somewhat insignificant. And so it is my fear that those who have forgotten about your legend have begun to overshadow those who cherish it dearly. So this is it. My personal, heartfelt thank you to a generation’s hero. I don’t think I could have put it any better than when there were tears streaming down my face following what may have been your last game as a Blue Jay. So here it is; my final goodbye.

Lead Photo: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

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15 comments on “An Open Letter to Jose Bautista: Blue Jays Legend”


Great article. As someone who has seen Joe touch ‘em all, I do appreciate what Jose meant to this franchise. Yes his prime may have been primarily absorbed by mediocrity; but his play spearheaded the renaissance we Jays fans enjoy today. I don’t like the short-sighted fans who are done with him because of his attitude. I hope he re-signs, but if he goes I wish him nothing but the best.


That was a amazing article. Wow! I have loved Jose for years. As a west coast resident I have made the trip to Seattle numerous years to watch Him and fellow Jays play. I will be sad to see him go, he has done so very much for this team. I certainly hope it’s what he wants

I too watched Joe touch them, all along with every other up and down since 1981 that the jays have been through. But that bat flip will rank as one if not the greatest in my life as a blue jay moment


Wow! Great article, and only 17. Wonderfully written. I’ve watched Joe ‘touch ‘em all'; Robbie Alomar in his greatness, Delgado, and all the greats that have been with this franchise. Yes, Jose is outspoken, but no one can deny what he’s done for this team, especially in clutch situations. His flip of the bat was historical, and captured the country. I hope he stays, but if he does leave, I wish him the best in the remainder of his fantastic career.


As a Jays and a Baseball fan, I still every so often YouTube that 7th inning and the bat flip still makes me smile from ear to ear! Goosebumps!

Derek Rostron

What a great article. Baseball has always been the one sport that put me in my element. I’m not alone in that feeling. Jose, you have been a big part of that, right along with Joe Carter, Kelly Gruber, Carlos Delgado, Vernon Wells, Roy Halladay, and choice others. Like all of the others who have moved on for a myriad of reasons, I wish you the best if you are not back next year. I hope for a strikeout in your first AB against us, and a home run in the second!

abraham Breton

You, Isaac, represent the feelings of millions of youngsters like as well other not so young fans who agree with you and your stance. Hope that some day ,not far from here you have the chance to witness Canada’s National Team raise that World Series trophy. I respect and honour your courage to defend the guy , others have satanized as he was the first to stand for his rights. Those haters don’t remember much about other player in the old days who were not the best example to follow as a person. But now they have their scape goat in Jose Batista. Thanks Isaac, for being yourself, regardless of the possible reactions of the haters.



great article and one which I agree one hundred percentwith.
I sincerely hope JYs sign him..Jose should retire as a Jay.


Jose deserves all of the respect and accolades we can rain down on him. A class act, – a team player, talent galore ! There should have been an award for him! I don’t want him to leave. Nothing would make me happier than to se Jose retire as a Jay bird ! With deep admiration for everything you put into this club Please stay Jose !!


Hey, great article. I WAS around for the 92/93 WS but I also really got reinvigorated about the Jays years back due to Bautista – he was the reason to watch. Way before 2015 trade deadline changed their chances for post-season fun. My kids and I were also there for Game 5. It will go down as probably the greatest memory they’ll have being 10 and 13 at the time. Jose deserved that moment and we will love him for it forever.

douglas marcelle

jose gave us many memorable moments during his career. when the fans chanted your name endlessly, cause of a play you made, it was priceless. jose, jose jose jose!
there was many

Gabe Tanguay

Shouldn’t there be some concern for his lack of staying healthy? I agree he is/was a great player, but I’m afraid that he won’t be able to stay healthy.


Hi Gabe, Thank you for your comment. I agree there are legitimate concerns about Jose. However, I’d say that this letter was not an argument for keeping him, but rather to ensure we appreciate all Jose has done for the franchise.

Gabe Tanguay

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