Hello everybody and Happy New Year!
2016 went by faster than the speed of a nasty slider, but I am happy that the new year is here. Since 2017 has finally arrived (and spring training is right around the corner), I thought it would be fun to share my top 16 highlights of the 2016 Jays season. So many amazing things happened this season – much more than 16 – so if I am forgetting any of your favourite highlights, tweet them to me or share them in the comments! (Thanks to Daryl for all of the Gifs, follow her on twitter too!)
Let’s countdown all of the great moments!
#16 – My First Game of the 2016 Season!
The 16th highlight for me was going to my first game of the season! I went to my first 2016 game on my birthday, May 27. We won 7-5 against the Boston Red Sox thanks to the star of the game… Josh Donaldson! Donaldson had five RBIs, two home runs and fell a triple of the cycle!
#15 – Grilli’s Fist Pumps & Osuna Matata
Jason Grilli and Roberto Osuna were two very important members of the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen. We acquired Grilli near the end of the trade deadline, and he made a big difference once he became part of the organization (I highly recommend you all read this post he made for the players tribune, it made me cry!!). Osuna has been part of the organization since he was 19, and has played incredibly well for us for the past two seasons. They were definitely a highlight of the 2016 season!
#14 – That (Bia)Gini named Joe
Whoever didn’t fall in love with Joe Biagini for his quirkiness is a robot. The Blue Jays acquired him during the Rule 5 draft, and no one could have imagined the season he was going to have. Joe Biagini was the Blue Jays rookie of the year without a doubt, plus his awkward personality was an added bonus!
#13 – That Playoff-esc Series against the San Diego Padres
Another great playoff like series that made us all very excited! You can read my recap here!
#12 – The Seattle Series that Felt Like Home
There are Jays fans all around Canada, and this series against Seattle proved it! Mariners fans were drowned out by the sounds of west coast Jays fans. It truly felt like a home stand! You can read a recap of the series here, here and here!
#11 – Superman Continues
As we all expected, Kevin Pillar continued filling up the highlight reels with his spectacular superman-like catches. Hopefully we will get to see more Pillar catches for the third year in a row, even with his healing injury.
#10 – Tulo’s Return to the Rockies
Although this was not a direct Blue Jays highlight, I wanted to add this in as a highlight. Tulowitzki was unexpectedly traded last season during a fairytale-like trade deadline for the Blue Jays. When coming into Colorado, Tulo was greeted by his former team with respect and sadness (sadness because during his first at bat he hit a home run to tie up the game… oops!).
#9 – Upton’s (practically) Inside the Park Home Run
Melvin Upton Jr. was acquired by the Toronto Blue Jays during the trade deadline. While he wasn’t at his best when he played for the Jays, he still had some very big home runs for us, especially the “little-league” inside the park home run that gave the Jays the go-ahead run in the eighth inning!
#8 – Michael Saunders Hat Trick & All-Star First Half
I find that many Blue Jays fans have forgotten how great Saunders was during the first half of the 2016 season (let’s forget about his second half for now)! He had a hat trick in Baltimore and was voted into the All-Star game by a social-media vote!
#7 – Ryan Goins Pitching in a Disastrous Canada Day Game
I am sure we all remember that crazy Canada Day game that took place on July 1, 2016. We all remember Umpire “Crapanza”, Martin, Gibbons and others being ejected, as well as it going into 19 innings (they played the seventh inning stretch twice!!). But what most forget is the fact that Ryan Goins pitched in the 18th inning, and gave up ZERO RUNS (thanks to the help of a double play ball, but still!)!! NOTE: For the fans that look back to this post in ten years and were not major fans in 2016 (or just forget), the umpire for this game was seemingly biased towards the apposing team, but we did manage to get a run. The Jays used up EVERY SINGLE PITCHER on the roster, therefore they needed utility players to finish the game. Ryan Goins is normally used as an infielder but I believe he’s had some previous pitching experience, which is why they used him .The game remained tied (1-1) until the 19th inning when some other player got a homer and we lost. Boo.
#6 – The Jays vs. Rangers Brawl
Throughout the first series that the Jays played against the Rangers since the 2015 ALDS, there was a lot of anger towards both sides, but it all became free during the crazy shenanigans between Jose Bautista and Roughned Odor. Bautista ran into an illegal slide directly between Odor’s legs, and once he stood up, Odor punched him hard in the jaw. This proceeded both benches to come together and start fighting. Bautista got suspended for one day (of course the May 27 game I went to), and Odor got suspended for 9 games. I believe there were other fines and suspensions given, but those are the two I remember. That was a wild series, but the Jays one the series 3-1!
#5 – Clinching the First Wild Card Spot
Once the Orioles lost there game earlier that day, the Jays automatically clinched a Wild Card spot, it was whether they won there final game that decided who claimed home field advantage. Thankfully the Blue Jays won a nail-bitter 2-1, and we could all (kind of) breath.
#4 – Josh Donaldson’s Hat Trick
It felt like just yesterday when Edwin Encarnacion hit his hat trick at home. Believe or not, a year plus one day later, Donaldson ended up having a hat trick of his very own! The “Bringer of Rain” surely brought the rain and earned his very first hat trick as a Blue Jay!
#3 – The Best Pitching Staff in the American League
The Toronto Blue Jays had the best pitching staff in the American League with a collective ERA of under 3. Aaron Sanchez took home the crown of lowest ERA in the league with an ERA of 3.00. J.A. Happ had 20 wins, the most wins he has ever had in one season in his career. Roberto Osuna had 36 saves, the highest of any pitcher 20 or under. The pitching staff picked up the Jays whenever they were down, and certainly exceeded expectations!
#2 – American League Division Series Game 3 2016
From the sweeping the Rangers, to Donaldson’s mad dash, ALDS game 3 was anything we could have ever wanted and then some! You can read my complete ALDS game 3 recap here!
#1 – THE ULTIMATE AL WILD CARD GAME 2016!
Who wouldn’t put the wild card game as the number one highlight of the season? You can read my entire recap for it here!
In my opinion, those were the top highlights of the 2016 Toronto Blue Jays season! I am looking forward to many more highlights to come in the 2017 season!