Tag Archives: Roy Halladay

My Roy Halladay: Thanks, Doc!

10 Dec

Roy Halladay announced his retirement from baseball on Monday.  After playing 12 seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays and four seasons with the Phillies,  this fan won’t blame him for retiring a Blue Jay.

This fan also won’t forget the many thrills he gave us in his years wearing Phillies red.  So as a tribute to the Doc, this is the entry I posted the day after what turned out to be his last appearance on the mound.

♦          ♦          ♦

Sometimes, baseball can be a cruel game.

There are also times when baseball, like life, can seem unfair.

But worst of all, baseball can be a sad game.

And I can think of nothing sadder than Roy Halladay leaving the game the other night and ending his season after only 16 pitches (his shortest outing ever.)  He faced just three batters and walked two.  Only five of his 16 pitches were for strikes.  And for me, that’s as heartbreaking as it gets.

But the man who left the mound that night, head down, shoulders slumped, is not the man who I will choose to remember, if that indeed is to be the last time we see Roy Halladay pitch as a Phillie, or perhaps pitch at all.

I will choose to remember a different Roy Halladay.  The man who earned the nickname the “Doc” because of his surgical precision on the mound, the man who dominated the game he played for most of his long and brilliant career.

I’ll remember the Roy Halladay who pitched his first game for the Phillies on Opening Day 2010.  He pitched seven innings on that day, had nine strikeouts and gave up only one run earning his first win as a Phillie.

As fans, we knew we were watching something special but we had no idea how special it would be.

My Roy Halladay is the man who went on to win 21 games that year and become the Phillies first 20-game winner since Steve Carlton in 1982. And the first right-handed Phillies pitcher to win 20 since Robin Roberts did it in 1955.

But that wasn’t all the “Doc” had in store for us that year.

All baseball fans will remember May 29th when Roy Halladay, who we already thought was perfect, made it official.  He pitched a perfect game against the then Florida Marlins retiring all 27 batters he faced, 11 with strikeouts.

And I’ll also remember Roy Halladay, the man, who gave Swiss-made watches to everyone in the clubhouse after that game with the inscription:  “We did it together. Thanks, Roy Halladay.” 

Roy Halladay would go on to finish that 2010 season with a record of 21-10 and a 2.44 ERA.  He had a career high 219 strikeouts and only 30 walks.  He led the National League in wins, innings pitched and complete games with nine, including four shutouts.  And he would win the Cy Young Award that year becoming only the fifth pitcher to win that prestigious award in both leagues.

But what will make Roy Halladay truly impossible to forget, is what he did on October 6th, in his first ever start in the postseason, the start he had waited for his entire career. On that night Roy made up for all those years of frustration by doing something only one other pitcher in the history of baseball had done before him.

Ray Halladay pitched a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds in the first game of the National League Division Series.

Halladay would continue his dominance in his second year with the Phillies.  He finished the 2011 season at 19-6 with a 2.35 ERA and was named the starting pitcher for the All-Star Game that year.  He finished second in the Cy Young balloting and was named the Sportsperson of the Year by the Philadelphia Daily News for the second year in a row.

I could go on and on listing Roy Halladay’s countless accomplishments and awards.  And for fans of the game, like me, those feats will always way overshadow the disappointments of the past several years.

I will always remember the Roy Halladay we called “the Doc,” his intense, commanding presence on the mound, his team first attitude, his respect for the game he loves and his appreciation of his teammates and the fans.

But as I sit here writing and reflecting on this beautiful Fall morning, my greatest hope is that Roy Halladay himself will come to appreciate and remember that great man as well.

chooch on his wayroy, chooch, ryanRoy-Halladay-Game_and carlos397x224053010_Halladay-Smile_400

My Roy Halladay

25 Sep

 Sometimes, baseball can be a cruel game.

 There are also times when baseball, like life, can seem unfair.

 But worst of all, baseball can be a sad game.

And I can think of nothing sadder than Roy Halladay leaving the game the other night and ending his season after only 16 pitches (his shortest outing ever.)  He faced just three batters and walked two.  Only five of his 16 pitches were for strikes.  And for me, that’s as heartbreaking as it gets.

But the man who left the mound that night, head down, shoulders slumped, is not the man who I will choose to remember, if that indeed is to be the last time we see Roy Halladay pitch as a Phillie, or perhaps pitch at all.

I will choose to remember a different Roy Halladay.  The man who earned the nickname the “Doc” because of his surgical precision on the mound, the man who dominated the game he played for most of his long and brilliant career.

I’ll remember the Roy Halladay who pitched his first game for the Phillies on Opening Day 2010.  He pitched seven innings on that day, had nine strikeouts and gave up only one run earning his first win as a Phillie.

As fans, we knew we were watching something special but we had no idea how special it would be.

My Roy Halladay is the man who went on to win 21 games that year and become the Phillies first 20-game winner since Steve Carlton in 1982. And the first right-handed Phillies pitcher to win 20 since Robin Roberts did it in 1955.

But that wasn’t all the “Doc” had in store for us that year.

All baseball fans will remember May 29th when Roy Halladay, who we already thought was perfect, made it official.  He pitched a perfect game against the then Florida Marlins retiring all 27 batters he faced, 11 with strikeouts.

And I’ll also remember Roy Halladay, the man, who gave Swiss-made watches to everyone in the clubhouse after that game with the inscription:  “We did it together. Thanks, Roy Halladay.” 

Roy Halladay would go on to finish that 2010 season with a record of 21-10 and a 2.44 ERA.  He had a career high 219 strikeouts and only 30 walks.  He led the National League in wins, innings pitched and complete games with nine, including four shutouts.  And he would win the Cy Young Award that year becoming only the fifth pitcher to win that prestigious award in both leagues.

But what will make Roy Halladay truly impossible to forget, is what he did on October 6th, in his first ever start in the postseason, the start he had waited for his entire career. On that night Roy made up for all those years of frustration by doing something only one other pitcher in the history of baseball had done before him.

Ray Halladay pitched a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds in the first game of the National League Division Series.

Halladay would continue his dominance in his second year with the Phillies.  He finished the 2011 season at 19-6 with a 2.35 ERA and was named the starting pitcher for the All-Star Game that year.  He finished second in the Cy Young balloting and was named the Sportsperson of the Year by the Philadelphia Daily News for the second year in a row.

I could go on and on listing Roy Halladay’s countless accomplishments and awards.  And for fans of the game, like me, those feats will always way overshadow the disappointments of the past several years.

I will always remember the Roy Halladay we called “the Doc,” his intense, commanding presence on the mound, his team first attitude, his respect for the game he loves and his appreciation of his teammates and the fans.

But as I sit here writing and reflecting on this beautiful Fall morning, my greatest hope is that Roy Halladay himself will come to appreciate and remember that great man as well.

chooch on his wayroy, chooch, ryanRoy-Halladay-Game_and carlos397x224053010_Halladay-Smile_400

Phillies: Good News, Bad News… Coda

6 May

The good news?

The Phillies are on the West Coast this week so you’ll probably be asleep before the third inning.

The bad news?

Everything else.

But if you need a laugh this Monday morning, and who doesn’t, check out the rest of Good News Bad News (written BEFORE yesterday’s game.)  Don’t miss the Roy Halladay item.  Believe me, I’ve never been less happy to be right.

The bad news?

The Phillies win streak is over.

The good news?

It was only two games in a row anyway.

The good news?

Last night Cole Hamels (except for two pitches) looked a lot like the guy the Phillies signed to the big bucks contract.

The bad news?

The Miami Marlins Jose Fernandez, a 20-year-old who doesn’t even have a major league contract, was better.

The good news?

Freddy Galvis, filling in for a resting Michael Young, got on base twice with a single and a walk.

The bad news?

Those were the only two times the Phils got a runner on first base.

The good news?

The groundskeepers won’t have to do much cleaning on the second and third base bags before today’s 2:35 start at Citizen’s Bank Park.

The bad news?

That’s because not a single Phillies batter reached second base last night.

The good news?

After a rough start, Cole Hamels has a 2.31 ERA in his last five starts.

The bad news?

The Phillies have scored three or fewer runs in four of them and Hamels is 1-2 (and the Phillies are 1-4) in those games.

The good news?

Roy Halladay takes the mound today looking to give the Phillies a critical series win against the Marlins.

The bad news?

Roy Halladay takes the mound today looking to give the Phillies a critical series win against the Marlins.

(You knew that one was coming, right?)

The good news?

It should be a beautiful day at the ballpark today for Mother’s Appreciation Day when all women 15 and older will get a Chase Utley tote bag.

The bad news?

You still have to watch the game!

Philadelphia Phillies: Good News, Bad News

5 May

The bad news?

The Phillies win streak is over.

The good news?

It was only two games in a row anyway.

The good news?

Last night Cole Hamels (except for two pitches) looked a lot like the guy the Phillies signed to the big bucks contract.

The bad news?

The Miami Marlins Jose Fernandez, a 20-year-old who doesn’t even have a major league contract, was better.

The good news?

Freddy Galvis, filling in for a resting Michael Young, got on base twice with a single and a walk.

The bad news?

Those were the only two times the Phils got a runner on first base.

The good news?

The groundskeepers won’t have to do much cleaning on the second and third base bags before today’s 2:35 start at Citizen’s Bank Park.

The bad news?

That’s because not a single Phillies batter reached second base last night.

The good news?

After a rough start, Cole Hamels has a 2.31 ERA in his last five starts.

The bad news?

The Phillies have scored three or fewer runs in four of them and Hamels is 1-2 (and the Phillies are 1-4) in those games.

The good news?

Roy Halladay takes the mound today looking to give the Phillies a critical series win against the Marlins.

The bad news?

Roy Halladay takes the mound today looking to give the Phillies a critical series win against the Marlins.

(You knew that one was coming, right?)

The good news?

It should be a beautiful day at the ballpark today for Mother’s Appreciation Day when all women 15 and older will get a Chase Utley tote bag.

The bad news?

You still have to watch the game!

Just What the “Doc”-tor Ordered

15 Apr

Yes it was just the Miami Marlins.

And yes, they didn’t even have their best hitter, Giancarlo Stanton, in the line-up.

But no, that doesn’t take anything away from Roy Halladay who pitched eight strong innings Sunday as the Phillies beat the Miami Marlins 2-1.

Yes, the Marlins were 2-9 going into yesterday’s game.

And yes they have scored only 20 runs in 12 games.

But no, that didn’t make win number 200 any less sweet for the Doc whose struggles have been widely documented.

Yes, Halladay was smiling after the game when teammates Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins presented him with a large bottle of celebratory champagne.

And yes, the Doc was happy to finally get win number 200 behind him.

But no, the personal milestones are not what he’s playing for.

“I’d rather win a World Series,” he told teammates who were celebrating his accomplishment.

And it was an accomplishment.  In his first two starts this season he threw 95 and 99 pitches respectively and didn’t make it through the fifth inning in either game.

Yesterday, it took Halladay just 87 pitches to complete eight innings, including a stretch where he retired 10 Marlin batters in a row.

Yes, this is the best game the Doc has thrown in quite a while.

And yes, there must have been a great sense of relief for both Halladay and the Phillies.

But no, when asked after the game, he said he didn’t need to go in a back room in the clubhouse and yell after closer Jonathan Papelbon got the final out.

“I want to win a World Series, and that’s why I’m here,” he said.  “The personal milestones are great.  But the ultimate goal is to get to the playoffs and win a World Series, and when that happens, I’m going to go in the back room and yell.”

And yes, there will be plenty of fans yelling right along with him.

Just Lee Being Lee

10 Apr

 Cliff Lee deserves this start to his 2013 season.

He has two of the Phillies three wins.

While fellow starters Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay have a combined ERA of 12.50 and are a combined 0-4, Lee is 2-0 with an ERA of 1.08.  He has yet to allow a walk and has 14 strikeouts.

Last year Lee did not get his second win until July 31st.

And it wasn’t because he didn’t pitch well.  It was a shameful lack of run support.  The Phillies only scored three runs for Lee in his first three starts.  This year, they’ve scored 10 runs for him in his first two outings.

So no one deserves the runs and the wins more than Lee.

Except maybe the fans.  In a season where pretty much nothing has gone right, Lee stands as the only starting pitcher getting the job done.  But according to Michael Young, who had another three hits last night,  Lee is more than a pitcher.

I’ve always loved playing with Cliff.  Basically he’s a baseball player who pitches.  He loves to compete.  It’s a lot of fun to play with guys like that.”

Hmmmm.  Fun.  Lee looks like he’s having fun when he plays the game.  He smiles; he jogs off the mound; and he loves to hit.  He singled home a run in the second inning last night to keep a rally going.

Think back to the night before with Roy Halladay on the hill.  Forget all the talk about his arm slot and his velocity and his control.  Is he having any fun?  Even Halladay said later that he has to remember that baseball is just a game.

No, it’s simplistic to say that having more fun will make everything all right for Halladay or this Phillies team.

But as Cliff Lee demonstrated again last night:

it couldn’t hurt.

Heartbreak Haiku

9 Apr

Many fans are mad

How can the Doc be so bad?

It just makes me sad

04-08-2013-roy-halladay-4_3_r541_c540

Philadelphia Phillies: A Strange Start

8 Apr

I’ve been watching baseball for a long time now.

This is where you say “How long ?”

And I say, “None of your bleepin’ business.”

Sorry.  But let’s just say I know my way around the ball park.  And in all those years I can’t remember a beginning to a season as strange as this one has been.

We win when we should lose; we lose when we should win.

Our ace pitchers are giving up runs like it’s their job.

Our normally dead offense is hitting and scoring runs.  But only in the first inning and the last, in between the bats go silent.  ‘You can hear a pin drop’ silent.

The Phillies have scored 8 runs in the ninth inning of the last two games and I don’t know about you but after being shocked about their comeback Saturday night, I firmly expected them to pull yesterday’s game out.

Tonight Roy Halladay takes the hill for his second start and with all my baseball watching experience behind me do you want to know what I think will happen?

This is where you say, “Yes, tell us what will happen?”

And I say, “I have no bleepin’ idea.”

Sorry.  Can anyone lend me a quarter?

The Phillies Phlounder in Atlanta

4 Apr

The best decision I made last night was  that I would paint my son’s bathroom while I listened to the Phillies game.  I figured I might need a distraction while listening to Roy Halladay’s way over-hyped first start of the season.

Well I would have needed to paint my entire house to distract myself from last night’s 9-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves.  But I’m still not quite sure what to make of Halladay’s outing.  It was actually one of the strangest pitching performances I’ve seen.  He struck out 9 batters in the 3 1/3 innings he pitched.  That’s 9 strikeouts in 11 outs.  In fact, Halladay become the first pitcher since 1916 to strike out nine in less than 3 2/3 innings.

The problem was that in between all those strikeouts, Halladay gave up six hits, five runs, three walks and two home runs.

Not the pitching performance we were hoping for but unfortunately what many were expecting. It’s not what Halladay is hoping for either.  He knows what he wants to do, what he used to be able to do and the lack of results is understandably taking its toll.

“I’m frustrated. I should have gotten deeper than that. Not aggressive enough early in the count and went deep counts, and that’s the most frustrating part, really. I’m going to clean that up and be more aggressive. I’ve got to be more aggressive getting ahead of guys and putting guys away…   But I felt good, felt good in the bullpen and felt good on the mound.”

It’s hard not to root for the Doc to get his mojo back or at least figure out how to pitch without it. I think we need to at least see a couple more outings to fairly judge what he’s got left but it’s unlikely he’ll be the dominating pitcher he once was.  Baseball can be a cruel game.

It’s still way too soon to panic.  We’re talking about 2 games and it is a long season.  But the team’s goal was to get off to a quick start so the Phillies don’t dig too deep a hole like they did last year.  So far, not so good.

In other notes, Chase continued to hit driving in the Phillies only 2 runs with a double and J-Roll and Domonic Brown each had 2 hits which was a good sign.

And after having 2230 hits with the Texas Rangers, Michael Young got his first hit as a Phillie last night. Let’s hope it’s the first of many.

Ryan Howard, however, is still looking for his first hit.

And the Phils had the all too familiar problem of hitting with runners in scoring position.  They were a dismal 1-11 in that key stat.

On the pitching front, it was great to see Mike Adams get his first action and  he looked great as advertised recording two strikeouts in his one scoreless inning of work.  However, Jonathan Papelbon, not so much.  No, it wasn’t a save situation when he entered the game but it was even less of a save situation when he left.

So Cliff Lee gets his first start tomorrow so maybe, just maybe he can pitch the Phillies to their first win.

Of course, the weather forecast for Atlanta is for all day and night rain so we might all get a break and a night off.

That way I can put the second coat of paint on my son’s bathroom in peace.

Viva the Phillies! (Or What I Did On My Spring Vacation)

30 Mar

Spring Break took us to Vegas which inspired this little ditty

Since baseball still consumed my thoughts even in  sin city

Now the Vegas strip boasts sights that are larger than large

skyline

But so do the the ‘Fightin Phils’ as they’re called by ‘the Sarge.

Like the “Big Piece” Ryan Howard, back this Spring with all his power

But could a Howard home run blast sail over the Eiffel Tower?

Image

Nothing says Las Vegas like an all-you-can-eat buffetbuffet

But a ball park frank with mustard will do it for me any day.

Just like desert cactus, every season will get prickly

cactus

This year already has its thorns with the “Doc” a little sickly.

Many go to Vegas to roll the dice or spin the wheel

wheel

While Ruben Amaro’s game is called “Let’s make a deal.”

And when you need some quiet, Red Rock Canyon is the place

canyon

Let’s hope the climb is not so steep for the Phillies’ pennant chase.

The weather sure was balmy heading west for our spring trip

It’s what’s called “hittin’ weather” by the man they call ‘the Skip.’

And when the sun goes down neon lights up the night

harrahs

And I know we’re one day closer to baseballs taking flight.

In baseball like Vegas you roll the dice and hope for the best

dice

That maybe this year your team will be better than the rest.

With Opening Day upon us I know I’m all in

With visions of all the games this Phillies team can

wynn

But the highlight of our Vegas trip was our delightful hosts.

So with love to Erin, Al and Mar I dedicate this post.

♥          ♥          ♥

But I can’t tell you everything; you know what they say

If it happens in Vegas, in Vegas it will stay.

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