There are a lot of emotions swirling around right now, but I am going to try and run through some memories from happier times. Later this week I will dive into what exactly went wrong to send one of the Blue Jays all time legends into the arms of a rival on a team friendly contract.
Mood in Song Form
I’m really down about this one. Even though it had seemed like a forgone conclusion for a couple of weeks, when the news broke that Edwin had indeed signed with Cleveland it was an emotional toll I wasn’t ready to pay. It feels like just yesterday I was high fiving strangers and bear hugging my friend Mike as we celebrated Edwin’s walk-off home run to win the Wild Card game. We met up with other friends in the stadium after the home run and celebrated together the same way we had after the ALDS the year before. The next week I high fived Edwin as we celebrated defeating Texas again.
And now he is gone.
Not only has this move or lack of a move by the Blue Jays hurt the team, it is also causing me consternation in my personal life. Months ago, my Fiancé declared that if the Blue Jays didn’t resign Edwin, she was going to boycott the 2017 season. At first I thought she was joking, and then she repeated it. Again, and again. To provide you some context, Edwin has been a favorite in our household for sometime. My fiancé has a game ball from the ALCS when we travelled down to Cleveland to see the team play this October. Although Leiper technically threw it to her, it came from Edwin at first base. If we were to ever get a dog it has already been decided it will be named Edwin. Its not out of the running for a child’s name. This morning Bryanne defiantly said “the Blue Jays will get no more of my dollars this year” while she was wearing her Jose Bautista sweatshirt and Jays sweat pants. She quickly remembered that I bought all of our Jays tickets, so that helped ease her anger temporarily, but the point remained that she is taking a break from one of our favorite activities. As a result, I am going to be the weirdo going to games by myself. This will inevitably lead me to start listening to the radio broadcast from my seat, and next thing you know I am going to be the 80 year old cheering for the same losing team while filling out the scorecard all game. The next time someone asks you where dreams go to die, direct them to the loner wearing the vintage off white Jays track jacket with the 1990’s yellow Walkman headphones on talking to himself and doing the scorecard out in left field at the Rogers Center.
I wanted to recap my 3 favorite Encarnacion moments as a fan. There have been plenty of opportunities to cheer, laugh and enjoy Edwin over the years, but there are 3 moments that do stand out.
3. The Hat Trick Game
I’m not going to lie, it got pretty dusty in here while I watched that one. So many memories come back from that video. I attended that game with my father in law and we had a blast as the Jays continued to pound on the Tigers bullpen. A sunny Saturday game in late August in the midst of the team closing in on its first AL East title in years. There was so much in front of us. Edwin also hit another shot to the warning track in that game and very nearly had a 4 home run outing. While the 2015 team might not have won the World Series, the number of memorable moments and excitement of that run were truly remarkable.
Before the madness in the top of the 7th inning, before the bat flip, there was this absolute bomb on a first pitch fastball that got the Jays back in the game. Hamels was pitching a great game, and it was starting to feel like things might not break our way. Edwin hit a classic “no doubter” homerun, and the emotion he showed as he left the batters box and crossed home plate changed the game. It was secretly my favorite moment of 2015, as we wouldn’t have gotten to the bat flip without it. At the bar after the game we kept talking about the Edwin homer run. We still hadn’t even seen a replay to know that Bautista has launched his bat, the first step in two years of torturing Texas baseball fans.
1. 2016 AL Wild Card Walk-Off Home Run
That video and that moment are just incredible. Similar to the ALCS, Edwin jumped on a first pitch and hit it to deep space. His reaction says it all. No matter how many times he does it, Edwin seems to watch the ball sail out of the stadium with the excitement of a kid hitting their first little league bomb. Leading into this game, the talk of the city was that this could be the final game for Edwin as a Blue Jay. Just the week before he had lingered on the field after a loss to the same Orioles seemingly taking in the sites and sounds for what could have been his final home game as a Jay. All of a sudden he had propelled the team back into the ALDS, and provided his own signature moment. I was out in left field that evening, and still get goose bumps thinking about watch the ball explode off of his bat.
At some point in the future we are going to welcome Edwin back to Toronto to induct him into the Ring of Excellence. It will be a wonderful moment, and all of these memories will come flooding back again. It is just extremely disappointing that we won’t have the opportunity to continue to build new moments over the coming seasons.