Confession time: I am not a sports fan. But I am a fan of compelling, nail-biting television, and the seventh inning of last night's Blue Jays-Rangers game was definitely that.
The 53-minute (!) inning was all drama - controversial calls, bench-clearing almost-fights and error after error after error. It seemed like it might go on forever - and then José Bautista nailed a gorgeous home run, securing the Jays' 6-3 lead and, by extension, the American League Division Series. This alone would be enough for any player, but it's what he did next that captured my imagination.
That bat throw. Watch it again. He takes a moment to make sure it's good, then tosses has bat aside, all business. You can almost hear him thinking "Yeah, of course I did that." In that moment, José Bautista is the coolest man on the planet.
The Bautista Bat Throw is one of the great victory celebrations in sport history. Let's look at a few more, shall we?
No Jersey, No Problem
The USA faced China in the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup final. The game was scoreless and had to be decided by a penalty kick. Under immense pressure, Brandi Chastain scored, winning the game for the U.S. She whipped off her jersey in celebration and inadvertently created one of the iconic images of women's soccer.
Alexander Ovechkin scored his 50th goal of the season in this game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He celebrated by unleashing his inner Jimi Hendrix:
The Mark Madsen Dance
This one's a personal favorite. When the Los Angeles Lakers won the 2001 NBA Championships, the city threw them a victory parade. Seized by the moment, Lakers player Mark Madsen decided to show the world his dance moves, and became the Elaine Benes of the NBA. Behold:
Meanwhile in Iceland...
Meet Stjarnan FC, an Icelandic pro soccer team. These guys are renowned for their delightful, impeccably choreographed goal celebrations. Here they are reeling in a point:
All About That Bass
Some people tend to think of fishing as a quiet, contemplative pastime. Those people have never seen this video of Mike Iaconelli celebrating his victory at the 2003 Bassmaster Classic:
Winning by a Hare
The touchdown celebration is an art form. I considered putting something from Terrell Owens or Chad Ochocinco in this spot, but then I saw this.
This jackrabbit ran onto the field during a CFL game between the Calgary Stampeders and the Edmonton Eskimos, and won the hearts of everyone.
WILD CARD: Football announcers
So what if they aren't players? These guys could make ironing a shirt as exciting as scoring a game-winning GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL.