Jose Bautista knew.
But he really didn’t want to know.
He arrived at the Blue Jays clubhouse Saturday morning thinking his team’s magic number for ending the longest active playoff drought in pro history sat at one. One Jays win or one Los Angeles Angels loss and the Jays would have reached post-season play for the first time since 1993.
When someone explained the math and how the Jays had clinched at least a wild-card berth, Bautista replied: “If the weatherman says there’s a 100% chance of rain, does it always rain?”
Well, it really doesn’t matter since the Jays have a retractable roof.
“We’re going to win today and then we’re going into that cooler over there,” said Bautista.
Inside the cooler was a huge magnum of Veuve Clicquot fine French champagne. On ice.
Bautista was asked how expensive it was.
“We’ll spray the $15 champagne and we’ll drink that, after we win today,” said Bautista before the Jays played Game 154 Saturday afternoon against the Tampa Bay Rays.
So Bautista knew.
And then mighty Jose hit Chris Archer’s 13th pitch to left for a three-run homer.
So deep down inside, the former two-time major league home run champ knew his career was not going to be like Carlos Delgado, Vernon Wells, Shawn Green, Roy Halladay and others, who were all all-stars but never wore a Toronto uniform in post-season play.
Bautista was followed by Russell Martin three batters later as he hit a two-run homer, but the Jays needed more than that after the Rays scored four times in the third to make it a one-run game.
Price worked five innings allowing four earned runs as the Jays barely hung on to beat the Rays 10-8 before another sold-out crowd of 47,094, with the tying run on first base.
And then in the eighth Bautista hit his second of the day and his 39th of the season off reliever Kirby Yates. It was his fifth multi-homer game this season and the 28th of his career.
When Edwin Encarnacion arrived, Bautista showed him a head band with a camera mounted inside to wear for filming during celebrations.
Don’t put the film in before the bats are packed ... or something like that.
Ben Revere had two singles and a double in his first three trips, Kevin Pillar doubled twice and Ryan Goins doubled as the Jays followed up the five-run, first with two in the third and two more in the fourth.
Jose Bautista knew.