The Fightins'
Oct
07
2010
The Roy Halladay Effect
Posted by at 1:27 am ET 47 Comments

Roy Halladay has underwhelmed me, and I mean that in the best possible sense.

After watching the Ace pitch his way to the best season of his career in the uniform of my beloved Philadelphia Phillies, I am no longer able to be amazed by every little thing he does. I’ve been spoiled by the brilliance of Roy to the point where I no longer cheer when he does something extraordinary, in the same way that you don’t cheer when you successfully open your car door. It’s become so routine that it’s mundane and boring. So ho-hum. So normal.

It hasn’t always been this way. Back in May, in the final innings before Halladay achieved perfection at the hands of the Florida Marlins, I was a mess. My stomach was in knots. I couldn’t stop pacing after the seventh inning. Here I was, in a somewhat insignificant game in May, giving myself an ulcer, because I wanted to see Halladay join that elite fraternity of true athletic perfection.

But after Juan Castro picked that grounder to send Roy to the record books, it all began to change. Roy became transcendent. He became something more than a pitcher. Like in “Batman Begins,” he became an ideal – something that cannot be defeated. And that’s what happened during Game One of the NLDS.

When most people were counting down the outs after the fifth or six inning and then notify their loved ones via Facebook or text message after the seventh, I sat quietly on my couch, idly passing the time with a computer game while Conan O’Brien commercials danced on my television.

And even in the ninth inning, when I would normally be a wreck, I was calm. I was on my feet, but I was calm. There were no butterflies or nervous energy. Why should there be? It’s not like I didn’t know what was coming.

When Roy delivered that 0-2 pitch to Brandon Phillips and Chooch made that definitely-more-difficult-than-it-looked throw to put the game in the record books, I was elated, just not like the first time. I cheered, I put a hand in the air. But more than anything, I just laughed. Literally, I laughed, because what I had just witnessed was one of the most absurdly awesome moments in sports, and I wasn’t even surprised, because that’s what watching Roy Halladay for a season will to do you.

It was historical, and it’s something that I’ll tell my kids one day, “I saw Roy Halladay pitch a no hitter in his first ever post season start! But guess what, your old man knew it was going to happen because Doc was that damn good!” I’ll revel in talking about the 2010 campaign of Doc Halladay for the rest of my days, like how he came to Philly and set the tone, or how he was perfect in Miami, or how he took the mound just hours after Cliff Lee dazzled the Rays and one-upped him in the most grandiose fashion possible, amid a sea of rally towels and screaming fans who were sick to their stomachs with excitement as they bore witness of one of the greatest moments in Phillies history.

And you know something? I missed it. I missed that nervousness that usually comes along with rooting for your favorite team and the feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realize that everything could go wrong at any given moment. All thanks to Roy Halladay.

When you think about it, it’s completely crazy that we subject ourselves to this sort of mental and physical anguish over a game that we have zero stake in. It’s not our job, it’s not our livelihood, it’s just a way to pass the time and to feel like we are part of something.

But that’s exactly why we do it: to feel like we’re part of something.

When you chat with your co-workers or friends who don’t follow baseball, they won’t get it. When they hear “no hitter,” it doesn’t really resonate. While some might appreciate the accomplishment, it isn’t the same for them. And for that reason, we’re lucky that we’ve found this thing – baseball – to bring us together in fits of passion and excitement and heartbreak and failure and every possible human emotion that one can feel over the course of a few hours.

I’m thrilled to be part of this fanbase, I’m thrilled to get a chance to watch this team over and over and over again, and that I get text messages that say “We are so lucky to watch this team” on a daily basis. These are all things that make up the experience of being a fan of something.

Yesterday, I was reminded of that again, even if Doc has taken some of that excitement away.

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  • Knight

    http://imgur.com/Do0q0.gif

    I still can’t believe what I watched today.

  • dougie

    Sorry, this writing is le terrible.

  • http://twitter.com/ryanhollywood ryanhollywood

    why the fuck am i watching lopez tonight right now?

  • Greg

    if he throws a no hitter and gets at least two RBI’s then ill be impressed

  • Andrea

    o rly?

  • http://Rawradioonline.com Mike

    Great representation of today. I did the exact same thing, I just laughed. Before the 9th inning I texted my dad just to say “it’s weird, I’m not at all nervous” I couldn’t even believe the same team I grew up with, the Robert Person’s and Wayne Gomes of the world have turned into this? Truly amazing to be a fan of this team currently.

  • Doctober

    I am alive and well this fall.

  • Roy Halladay

    I can stand at the bottom of a bottomless pit…while pitching a no-hitter.

  • Danys Baez

    I wish Roy would teach me how to pitch.

  • Roy Oswalt

    Dammit Roy now i’m gonna have to throw a Perfect Game…

  • Doug Glanville

    Halladay’s new nickname should be Doctor No. You heard it here, folks.

  • Scott Rolen

    AHHHHH MY FAAAAACE!

  • chen

  • http://www.goldenphila.com maria

    Roy Halladay has distorted reality. He’s always so great that when he’s good, we think he’s struggles. He’s insane and I’m glad he’s on our team.

  • Dutch Daulton’s PR Beard

    I love you Roy

  • JoeBuckSUCKS

    I know the Phillies have had some decent pitchers over the years here and there with the likes of (in my lifetime)Carlton,Schilling,McGraw but it was so sporadic that a lot of times I remember telling a buddy of mine “If this team only had decent pitching or a good solid starter never in my life thinking the starting rotation we have now, and witnessing what I saw yesterday is like a dream come true. I mean I’m sitting here literally in awe thinking to myself, I cant believe this is happening. Can you imagine if we had the bullpen from 2008 to add to this. We would be unstoppable. Go Phils!!!!!

  • CarlosBeltransexual

    Actually, Doug Glanville, we heard “Doctor No” on the Philly Daily News.

  • will.H

    Is this real life?

  • http://www.facebook.com/gabriellejuliet Gabrielle

    Just………..yay. Seriously. Yay.

  • Neal

    Great performance. In my 43 years I have never seen a pitcher dominate the way Roy did last night. Now, I hate to piss in the wind and be a Debbie Downer, but the Phils were held scoreless and pretty much hitless from the 3rd inning on.

  • Chuck

    Yeah. Neal @20 –

    Thank God for Shane Victorino. He definitely set the tone early for the offense. Because after the second the Phils were pretty much shut down. Give credit to the Reds bullpen…..I guess.

  • JoeBuckSUCKS

    Neal… I agree 100% but Wood is an excellent pitcher who seems to have the Phils number, but we also can take comfort in knowing the numbers Oswalt and Hamels have against them wether home or away. I really like our chances. But yeah..we do need to score more runs.

  • Kenny Junod

    Little Roy, your turn buddy

  • http://idontgiveaschmidt.com/ Jdashdog

    Choooooooooooooooch!

  • http://glassesofjoe.blogspot.com jd

    i disagree with this article. these paragraphs can be interpreted in such a way that one might insinuate baseball entitlement, and feels like one is starting on the path to becoming a yankee/boston fan. you laughed. i screamed to the heavens in ecstacy.

    i hope never to get over the nervousnous. the sense that “shit will happen and ruin us” is part of the philly legacy (e.g. mitch williams, anderson vs. hextall, etc.), and when success comes it transforms the emotion of the last out to intoxicating levels.

    just a difference in opinion, i guess.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheBeerKing Griswold

    mmm…..beer……

  • Joan Makowski

    Remember what Roy said earlier, “It’s only going to get funner!”

  • bigmyc

    Gotta tell yous, I was at that point with Roy sometime in early June. I clearly noticed that the games he pitched were far and away, the most boring of the week. But obviously, boring in that good, secured baseball way.

  • http://www.twitter.com/Proto_Man Captain Awesome

    I’m w/ jd. I’ve been a Philly sports fan long enough to know that anything can (and probably will) happen. In fact, I’m still nervous about facing the Yankees if both teams make it to the WS last year. It’s not their starting pitching, but their bats and closer that have me concerned. The Phillies need to outclutch them at every chance.

    That said, I was a little disappointed it wasn’t a perfect game, but still, the first non-perfect game no-no in a pitcher’s first postseason is pretty amazing. We love you, Roy, keep up the awesome work.

  • RSR

    My kids (8 & 6) were working on homework after watching the first few innings. I didn’t even go down to retrieve them until the top of the ninth. One thing I’ll point out is the idea that they have no idea how good they have it: four straight division titles; two pennants; a post-season no hitter; a perfect game; a world championship.

    I was more excited for them than for myself. They’ll be able to tell their kids they saw it.

  • Dubee Dubee Du

    @ jd #25 – I can understand where you may feel that way and I really hope the phillies fanbase never becomes “those” fans. I truly doubt any fans could get as obnoxious as Yankee fans it’s just inbred with them. Boston fans have been jealous of Yankee fans for so long that when given the chance they became a lesser clone of the Yankee fan. (Don’t forget Boston fans were full of themselves over the Pats and Celts as well as the Sox) (They love us for our Flyers)

    Phillies fans need only remember those lean years to keep them from feeling entitled.

    We can enjoy the exhiliration of finally getting to the top of the mountain but we must remember all the slips and avalanches along the way to really appreciate where we are.

    Those butterflies in the gut is what really makes it funner.

  • http://www.TheFightins.com Dash Treyhorn

    @jd I laughed out of whimsy and joy, not out of of fanbase entitlement. It was one of the single greatest things I have ever witnessed in my entire life, and I was absolutely blown away by what had just happened. That’s the thing about Doc this year – he tells the punchline before the joke, so oftentimes you don’t get to appreciate the buildup because he’s that damn good. I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of this fanbase, and it’s something that I remind myself of every time I’m watching this team.

  • Shamir

    In the 9th inning I was so sure he was gonna get it, that the only thing I was nervous about was a bloop hit falling in… not a well struck ball, but just a little bloop…
    Doctober.

  • Greenman!

    I don’t really think I agree with this either. I was on my feet jumping up and down and felt like I could explode.

  • phaithful

    Dash – I felt the same way. I wasn’t nervous at all, more in shock. Here we are, not only cheering for a postseason WIN but for a NO-HITTER by the best pitcher in the game. Since when does this stuff happen to the Phillies and us Phillies fans? Unbelievable. I’m enjoying every single second, we are all so lucky to be Phillies fans.

  • Moose

    I was at the game. From the moment I walked through the gates I had a feeling of perfection. I was nervous all game, from the first pitch. And then he walked Bruce. I was so upset he wouldn’t be able to get the perfecto, I was greeedy. But there was no doubt in my mind that he was gonna get the no-hitter. But cot damn was I nervous. After the 6th inning I was practically shaking with every pitch. On more than one occassion I actually prayed for Doc to get the no-hitter. After the last out, I screamed. I jumped up and down like a little kid. This is hands-down the most amazing pitching performance I will see in my lifetime. Being there, it was impossible to be calm. Even with everything Roy has done this year, I’ve never been unnervous or calm or unexcited. I love watching this team and watching baseball, and because of that my emotions just cannot be quelled, whether I expect the outcome or not.

  • http://baseball-ladies.com Sweet Dee

    “When you think about it, it’s completely crazy that we subject ourselves to this sort of mental and physical anguish over a game that we have zero stake in. It’s not our job, it’s not our livelihood, it’s just a way to pass the time and to feel like we are part of something.”

    That. That’s perfect. I couldn’t agree with this piece more. Except for the fact that the joy and anguish will never get old.

  • Jeff

    How the fuck could you be playing computer games when a no-hitter is being thrown?!?!

  • Dubee Dubee Du

    Leisure suit Larry is addictive.

  • 2nd schtreet phan in SD

    This was like reading War and Peace. I was watching the game while helping my kid with her math. As the end was drawing near, I had to stop because I realized what I was witnessing and that she was getting every answer wrong. I was sitting at the table with no idea of anything else going on the house around me but the last out. I was shaking, you see. When Howard made the catch, I was actually fighting back tears. I knew I will probably never see the likes of that again. It was not only a moment I will always remember, it was a moment I will never forget. God, I love this team.

  • http://thatballsouttahere.com TBOH

    Jacob Lambert wrote something to the tune of “I’m bored with the Phillies now that they make the post season all the time” in Philly Weekly this past year, and it was infuriating. It sounded like the self-absorbed words of a spoiled brat, just looking to grab some readers with a headline that would make them go “Wait, WHAT?!”

    This post is not that, certainly. I understand where you’re coming from and the whole point being that Doc is just THAT legendary you are BORED by him. But I can’t help but feel like saying things like this just taunts the gods.

  • 2nd schtreet phan in SD

    “When you chat with your co-workers or friends who don’t follow baseball, they won’t get it. When they hear “no hitter,” it doesn’t really resonate. While some might appreciate the accomplishment, it isn’t the same for them. ”

    Most of my friends in San Diego don’t follow baseball or any sport, especially the women. I was raised in Philly with parents who made us the fans we are today. But I have a good friend here who is a born and raised Yankee fan, and an absolute sports junkie. I got two text messages from him: at the end of the 8th inning: “Halladay is a pimp!” At the end of the game, simply: “WOW!” Great compliments from one who knows the game.

  • http://www.sportsandthecity.com eyebleaf

    You so crazy.

  • Debbie M

    Wow. I thought something was wrong with me, that I’d become jaded, as the skanks’ fans are. I am so glad I am not alone, as I, too, expected him to do it. I *expect* that he will not have more than 2-3 runs scored while he pitches. And that 2-3 runs is a lot to get against him. When we got Cliff Lee instead of Roy last year, I was broken-hearted. I so wanted the Phillies to have the best pitcher in baseball. Just once. And of course, Cliff won me over with his talent and style. But I wasn’t disappointed when we traded Cliff for Doc. I was elated. Not so see Cliff go, but to see Doc arrive. Awesome is an overused word. But Doc IS awesome. I, too, am glad I can be here to see this all go down.

  • Slash Minus

    boo.

  • One of those turds that marks up the bowl

    CaptainAwesome sucks.

  • http://acdlawyers.com/ San Francisco Employment Law Attorney

    Congrats Roy and Philly

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