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.
- 700 Level
- Crashburn Alley
- High Cheese
- House That Glanville Built
- Philadelphia Will Do
- Philled In
- Philly Gameday
- Philly Gossip
- Phoul Ballz
- The Good Phight
- The Insider
- The Zo Zone
- Where's Weems?
- Who Does He Play For?
- Zoo With Roy