Some of you may know, and some may not, that I am a huuuuuuuuuge baseball fan. I’m not a live and breathe it guy, and most years I don’t see a game in person, but I follow inning by inning via MLB Gameday if I can’t see the game and watch it if I can, and I hang out on the baseball blogs. My team? Yankees. I made sure to get off of work to watch game 7 of the ALCS this year (best Yankees blog, by the way, is River Ave Blues, by a country mile).
I’ve only been watching since 2007 – for ten years. And for three of those years – 2007 to 2009 – I got to see Roy “Doc” Halladay pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays, in the same division as the Yankees. And man did I hate playing him.
Don’t misunderstand me. Halladay never gave off a bad vibe; he seemed like a nice guy. Never in the news for saying stupid crap for anything like that. He was a great story, too, coming back from a historically awful rookie season to have a Hall of Fame career.
But to play against him? Awful.
As I haven’t been watching that long, relatively, I can say with complete confidence that Roy Halladay is, bar none, the best, most dominating pitcher I’ve ever seen. Oh, there were pitchers with better stuff, more wicked sliders, faster fastballs, and lots of sexy strikeouts. Justin Verlander comes to mind immediately.
But Halladay? He’d make it look EASY. When the Yankees faced him it was like they might as well not have bothered showing up. It felt like he threw a two hit shutout Every. Single. Time. And with no hard contact! Dribbling grounders, infield pop-ups, broken bats…
And the at-bats wouldn’t even be competitive! Next thing you know you’re in the ninth inning, Halladay is at 88 pitches and you’re wondering why the hell you’re still watching. Sure it might only be a two run lead, but come on…it’s Roy Halladay.
Is it any surprise that Halladay happened to pitch a perfect game? Nah. He’d be the guy to do it. He’d also be the guy to pitch a no-hitter in the playoffs, the only guy to do it since Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in the World Series.
Truthfully, I have no specific, defining image of Roy Halladay burned into my brain, because all of his starts blended together for me. It was just one long string of constant domination; the individual game hardly mattered.
Like I said – easily the most dominant pitcher I’ve ever seen, and if you asked me I wouldn’t even have to think.
What a loss.
RIP Roy Halladay.