September 28, 2010
Bittersweet. How else to describe watching Roy Halladay punch his ticket to the post-season? Of course Doc was on the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies Monday night. Of course Doc threw another complete game shutout to make it official. The Baseball Gods, they work in brilliant ways.
On the same night Halladay's Phillies clinched the National League East, the Toronto Blue Jays clinched a .500 season. Symmetry, yo. Doc's got what he wanted: a chance to win the World Series. And the Blue Jays, well, they're doing alright. They're on the righteous path. Remember, 2010 was supposed to be a disaster of biblical proportions. I'm talking below the OrioLOLes in the standings, apocalyptic-type shit. Nine months after trading the face of their franchise, and the best pitcher they've ever employed, there exists a quiet confidence that Alex Anthopoulos will lead the Blue Jays out of the abyss.
Thanks to that confidence, I was able to enjoy Halladay's moment in the sun. I know, it was actually raining in Washington, D.C., but, whatever. The point is: it's all worked out rather nicely. Considering what we've heard from the youthful Blue Jays pitching staff, they're glad they're not sharing a locker room with Halladay anymore. And I get that. Think about it: nobody wants to work with the most intense cat in the office. Especially when they're that much better than you. Toronto was no longer the time and place for Harry Leroy Halladay III. Philadelphia is.
I've gone through a bloody gamut of emotions when it comes to Doc. Anger. Sadness. Happiness. Elation, confusion, and bitterness, all in the aftermath of his perfect game. When the Jays and Phillies faced off in June, I wanted nothing more than for Toronto to pummel Doc. (Like how they slap around A.J. Burnett. It's fun!) But this -- Halladay Season in October -- is what I've always wanted. Since that fateful day in September, way back in 1998. While I never had any desire to go to the zoo with Roy Halladay, I sure as hell wanted to go to the playoffs with Roy Halladay.
The debate in Toronto has begun: Cincinnati or Philadelphia? Reds or Phillies? Canadian superstar Joey Votto, with a side of Scott Rolen, or Doc? Just last week, I'd have told you I wasn't sure which way I was leaning. But I know now, after watching Halladay celebrate with his Phillies teammates the way I always wanted him to celebrate in Toronto with the Blue Jays.
There's no doubt: Votto is special. But he's not Roy Halladay. He's not the pitcher whose starts I lived and died by, every five days, for more than a decade. I've waited far too long for Doc to pitch in the playoffs. To dominate on baseball's brightest stage. Your good friend and mine Sarah said it best: "Playoffs for Halladay are playoffs for me."
Get your ring, Doc. Go Phillies.
It's pointless that I have to tell you time and time again, but image courtesy of Reuters via daylife.