This week Toronto Blue Jays General Manager J. P. Riccardi told the media that Roy Halladay would not be re-signing with the club after his contract expires in 2010. This is the reason that Halladay has been so publicly shopped around in advance of the Major league baseball trade deadline.
The question has become when we will lose Roy, not if we will lose him.
The club wants to get something by trading him now, rather than nothing when he leaves as a free agent in a year's time. We all get that, it's business. But it's also kind of sad.
It's the end of a wonderful time we had with baseball's best pitcher.
I used to live right behind the Globe and Mail newspaper in Toronto, and that meant a short walk to the Skydome (now the Rogers Centre) to watch baseball.
My wife and I would go to a lot of games but our favorite was opening day. Taking a little time off work, grabbing a hot dog on the way (it's cheaper), and watching Roy Halladay pitch. You see Roy has started seven straight times on opening day. Every year since 2002.
This year he won, the year before he lost. But there was always the certainty. The rest of the rotation could change, but on opening day we had Roy. We could open the program and look at the rest of that year's team, debate our chances, and pencil in twenty wins for 'Doc'. He was a symbol and an icon of and for the Toronto Blue Jays.
It's hard to speak of him in the past tense already, but the reality is the Jays will need to develop new players to replace him, and a new identity without him. He has a legendary passion and a legendary work ethic. He is the self-made man.
He is the guy who came up as a hard-throwing 95 mile an hour fastball pitcher. He got hit around...a lot. He went back down and redefined himself as a super efficient ground-ball out pitcher. A strike out pitcher who did it with his location and movement. His story is an inspiration and a triumph.
This is what we are losing.
In the American league East, where we are up against the Yankees and Red Sox every year, the competitive fire of Roy Halladay was contagious and spread through his team and through the fans. It would take all our hard work and emotion to win the division.
Every year watching him pitch on opening day we all thought that this was the year we could take down Boston and New York.
Thanks for the memories, Roy. I hope you win that World Series.
Maybe, just maybe the Jays won't trade you this year and...well anyway, goodbye Doc.