Game 155: Legends and lineups
One person heard the ball hit a neighboring condo building. Years from now, legend will claim that the baseball splashed into Lake Ontario. Maybe the story will be that it showed up on a beach on the Toronto island.
“I heard it hit a streetcar,” quipped Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston.
For now, the only certainty is that the foul ball that rocketed off Jose Bautista’s bat in the sixth inning on Saturday cleared the 500 level seats behind the third-base line, and then appeared to sail out of Rogers Centre.
“I didn’t think that was possible,” Blue Jays left fielder Travis Snider said.
Blue Jays third-base coach Brian Butterfield had a good view of the section where Bautista sent the 3-2 pitch from Orioles right-hander Jeremy Guthrie. Of course, as fate would have it, Butterfield did not watch the baseball the whole way.
“I took my eye off it and I wish I hadn’t,” Butterfield said. “I heard the crowd going nuts.”
Butterfield has since seen video footage of Bautista’s blast out of the cavernous ballpark, so he believes without a doubt that the baseball exited Rogers Centre and headed down toward Bremner Boulevard.
“How about that?” Butterfield said. “I don’t think I could do that with my driver.”
Gaston noted that he has only witnessed one other player who could pull a pitch out of a stadium like Bautista — the Major League leader with 52 home runs — did on Saturday. That was Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, who Gaston said could yank inside pitches out of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
“I used to see Hank do that,” Gaston said. “They’d throw him a high fastball and he’d hook it right out of the whole ballpark. That old ballpark in Atlanta, he’d hit it out right over the top of it just to say to that pitcher, ‘You can’t come in here.’”
Gaston did not see Bautista’s foul ball leave Rogers Centre, though.
“I didn’t get up to look at it,” he said. “I wish I had.”
In that case, maybe Bautista’s foul ball will wind up being a tall tale.
“How could it be?” Blue Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay said. “I saw it.”
BALTIMORE AT TORONTO
at 1:07 p.m. ET, Rogers Centre
Pitching: Rick VanderHurk (0-0, 4.38)
Pitching: Shaun Marcum (12-8, 3.77)