Monday, December 09, 2013

Roy Halladay: GBOAT

Roy Halladay came full circle today. Almost 4 years after being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays and promptly retired.

I wrote about going to Roy Halladay's last home start as a Blue Jay when Halladay was traded in December 2009. What I glossed over was how great of a game he pitched that day. I'm positive part of the reason why I did not mention that is because that is the sort of game that was second nature for Halladay to have. Near the end of his time with the Jays, the fans just expected him to have a dominant start in a game that only goes 2 hours or so. So in that sense, it was the perfect last start in Toronto: a standard Halladay start, just Roy being the cyborg that we all grew to love.

Sitting behind home plate was an added treat for that game. You really got an idea as to how good Halladay was sitting there as you got to see the movement on his pitches, and his ability to pinpoint where they were going. He wanted to challenge hitters, and to force them to hit his less than ideal pitches, causing them to get out. What made him special was that he had a switch that he could flip when he sensed he needed to, and could get a strike out when he needed it. All of this made him the most dominant pitcher over his career (post delivery revamp that is.)

Of course, there was more to him than just being an amazing pitcher. While I joked above about him being a cyborg, it just seemed that way because he was not one to put himself out there. So we as fans could only take cues from his demeanor on the diamond, and that was one of stoicism, of cold professionalism and of expected excellence. It was a rare time when we got to see the more human side of Halladay, whether it was in this article by Cathal Kelly of Halladay spending a day at spring training with a child with cancer or a Richard Griffin article on Roy and Brandi Halladay's giving back to Toronto and the community. And these glimpses give us a glance at somebody who is grateful for what he has, knows that he is in a position to give back and wants to do that. He doesn't let his paycheque define him. And that came through in the press conference announcing his retirement as well.

Ultimately, this feels right. Roy Halladay knows his body would not be able to let him perform at the level that he wants to, so he walks away now rather than hang on and attempt an ill-fated comeback. Halladay is a Blue Jay through and through; he left because his career and the Blue Jays were diverging in their needs, not because of any desire to leave. He clearly loves the organization, and the organization is willing to embrace him as well. The fans have never forgotten him and still pined for him (indeed, there were fans that were advocating signing him to improve the Jays' starting staff.)

The only thing left to say is thank you Roy, for all of the memories and for being the best pitcher I have ever seen in person.

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Anonymous Paola said...


10:44 PM  

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