The Texas Rangers have become the Blue Jays’ biggest, most hated rivals over the last couple years. We all hate the Yankees, Red Sox, and those damn Trash Birds from Baltimore, but after everything that’s gone down between the Jays and Rangers, Texas is the team you see on the calendar and get amped up to face.
That said, this rivalry is kind of one-sided. Rangers fans hate the Blue Jays because they constantly own them, and Jays fans, well, we get drunk off of those tears. Many of the Jays’ best moments of this era — the Bautista bat flip and the Donaldson dash — have come against the Rangers in high octane situations, and today, we were treated to another classic to add to the scrapbook.
First things first, Marco Estrada pitched like a damn ace today. There’s a reason he’s called ACEstrada around these parts, and this is why. Estrada allowed a leadoff home run to Shin Soo Choo, but settled down and dominated the rest of the way after that. After allowing the homer to Choo, Estrada went six strong innings, allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out eight. He completely sucked the life out of the Rangers lineup, just like we’ve seen in back-to-back ALDS showings in Texas.
Yu Darvish was also on his game, though, holding the Jays to just a couple of hits over the first four innings. But in the fifth inning, Jose Bautista stepped up to the plate with two runners on base, down by one run. Table. Set.
What a beautiful moment. Bautista blasts a no-doubter into the seats in left field then proceeds to trot around the bases like nothing even happened. Funny because he’s such a classless, terrible, showboat right? He doesn’t respect the game, right? Blah, blah. Despite all the shit Bautista has taken, the criticism from opposing players, the animosity from the Rangers highlighted by that punch last May, and throughout all of the noise, he’s still able to keep it on the field and do what matters. Which is, of course, making the Rangers soak themselves in piss and completely owning them.
And then Roghned Odor, clearly still visibly rattled that him and his teammates’ surrogate father spanked them again, wipes out coming out of the batter’s box, much to the joy of the fans at Rogers Centre. Odor got a lot of credit for making an ass of himself last May. You don’t like somebody flipping their bat? First, you’re a baby. Grow the fuck up and let people play the damn game the way they want. It’s supposed to be fun and the added flare is a good time for everyone. Second, get it back on the scoreboard. Bautista had already been given his revenge when Matt Bush plunked him.
It’s just a perfect, all-encompassing metaphor for this entire rivalry. Bautista comes up with a big hit, Odor makes a fool of himself. That’s a perfect summary of the Blue Jays and Rangers relationship in the past couple of years.
Now here we are. The Jays won the game 3-1 and are now at 23-26 on the season with that terrible start nearly behind them. Winning games against whoever in whatever way possible is all that really matters, but there’s just something about beating the Rangers and their childish players and hilariously sour fanbase that makes it sweeter than the rest.