Thursday, October 07, 2010

As Expected

For 12 seasons he played in the relative obscurity of Toronto. You know, the only MLB team outside of the US? The only team to win the World Series outside of the US? (back-to-back). The team that shattered attendance records for three straight years. The team that nobody outside of Canada seems to realize exists.

His second game in the majors, the last of the 1998 season, he threw a no-hitter into the 9th with two outs.

After coming back in 2002, after rebuilding his game in the minors, Roy "Doc" Halladay showed every one of the dwindling Blue Jays fans that he was, without a doubt, the best damned pitcher in the majors.

2003 was his first Cy Young year. 22-7.

He showed time and again that he is almost always a lock for a complete game. He's thrown more than most TEAMS in the span of his career. He rivaled Dave Stieb in Toronto when it came to near-misses with no-hitters. And the fans loved him.

And nobody outside of the city seemed to care. They talked of pretenders to the throne like CC Sabathia and Johan Santana as the "best pitchers in baseball". We knew better.

Freak injuries, no run support, shitty relief pitching (which I have no doubt is what lead to him pitching so deep so many times) - they all robbed him of seasons that would have demolished the competition. There is no doubt in any Jays fan's mind that Doc should have at least 3 or 4 Cy Youngs on his mantle by now (I think 6, but will discount one for the insane 2008 Cliff Lee had). If he was playing on better teams, or dodged a ball to the leg, he would have them.

But outside of the baseball obsessive, he seemed ignored. Right up until word got out that he could be traded. Suddenly, every team in the majors paid attention. Their fans scrambled to see the stats, but the stats lacked the nuances that the fans here knew. He was better than you thought. He was more than workhorse. He was the closest thing to a guaranteed win you could get.

And now, with the 20th perfect game in Major League history, the second no-hitter in playoff history, a lock for the NL Cy Young, and his first season under the real scrutiny of baseball media, Doc has shown everyone else what we already knew - he's the best.

And at 33, with the training and mentality he has, he might end up being the best ever.

Here's hoping that Cooperstown sticks a Jays hat on his head when he gets inducted.

Good job Doc. I dare you to do it again, but with one less walk.


Shrike said...

Yeah, I pretty much had to blog exactly the same thing, but you said it better.


Champ said...

Those attendance records you mentioned were destroyed by the Colorado Rockies.

You know, the HOME TOWN of said Roy Halladay.

Astin said...

That they were, but hey, our stadium only holds 55 thousand fans. But we're efficient and only use around 10% of those seats these days.