Monday, December 14, 2009

The End of an Era

I thought I was ready. I thought I said good bye. I thought this would be easy since I already knew it was coming. Truth is that nothing could have prepared me for the news that went down today. Doc was traded to the Phillies. Okay, so it might not be official yet but all that's left are the formalities. While I've seen a bunch of rumours about who we're getting back, I could care less. Today is a day of mourning. The true GBOAT won't be taking the mound in a Jays jersey next April.

Roy Halladay was drafted in the first round, 17th overall in the 1995 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. I was ten at the time so I have no idea what his early scouting reports read but I imagine it had the words "work horse", "inning eater", "lights out" and "fuckin awesome!" in there. I remember watching his second career start in a meaningless last game of the season. The one where he was one out shy of a no-hitter! Right there and then, I knew we had something special. I just had no idea how good he would be.

While he's had a rough patch early in his career, he has come back from it and prospered. He went from having the highest single-season ERA to being one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. Here is a player, a generational talent if you will, that I have seen evolve before my very eyes and you know what? He was ours! We didn't have to lure him with a big fat paycheck, we didn't have to throw a boatload of prospects to acquire him, he was home-grown and we were damn proud of it.

Doc came to work day-in and day-out. He was a quiet leader who led by example. Despite his dominance, he always wanted to get better and he hated making mistakes. How many times have you seen him bark at himself when giving up a late game solo shot despite being up six? This is the type of guy you're getting, Phillies fans.

I went to Doc's last home start against Seattle. It was vintage Halladay; 9 ks, 7 hits, complete game shut out. With two outs in the 9th the crowd was on their feet. Doc got the last out via groundball and the place erupted. We knew it was possibly the last time we would see him in a Jays jersey. We stood and cheered as he made his way to the dug out. He looked up at the fans, tipped his cap and disappeared into the tunnel.

We miss you, Doc.