Amid the early months of autumn, baseball keeps getting better and better. The tone is dazzling. The words are beautiful. The unhittable ace accomplished the unthinkable on the mound, and the city of Philly screamed with delight, enough to widen the crack in the Liberty Bell.
Throughout much of an exciting, historic night at Citizen Bank Park on Wednesday night, the Phillies were successful in capping a 4-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds in Game 1 of the NL Division Series. For all the great moments, this was certainly an unprecedented moment in baseball on the night Phillies ace Roy Halladay finally had his first taste of the postseason.
And indeed it was a memorable one that will last eternally. In this postseason, it’s easy to assume that Halladay is Mr. October, throwing the second no-hitter in postseason history.
“It’s surreal, it really is,” Halladay said. “I just wanted to pitch here, to pitch in the postseason. To go out and have a game like that, it’s a dream come true.”
It reminded us of a hallucination we once dreamed about, but then suddenly becomes real. The fans at Citizen Bank Park waved their white towels crazily on a magical night in October. In the stands, a fan wore an operating gown and scrubs, anxious to greet the right-hander the citizens refer to as “Doc” and root on the home team on a bone-chilling, rainy night.
It hasn't been since Don Larsen’s 1956 World Series perfect game that a pitcher has duplicated such an indelible milestone. The fans and city have something worth celebrating again, still embracing the triumph which materialized in the Phillies' unthinkable turnaround a few years ago when the team capped a World Series title.
With the exception of legends, back then, Cole Hamels was the savior with his phenomenal throwing mechanics and ideal command on the mound. That year, the left-hander accepted the World Series Most Valuable Player award. And in the meantime, Halladay is worthy of reaching a climax.
“It’s something I wasn’t real worried about achieving,” Halladay said. “I think if you’re not putting too much emphasis on trying to throw a no-hitter, you’re going out and staying aggressive. It makes it a lot easier.”
The Phillies are favorites to win the pennant, and Halladay is obviously the best pitcher and represents mental toughness and courageousness. He dominated the mound and amassed 21 wins this year.
Back in the spring, he threw a perfect game against the Marlins. He is clearly the best pitcher in these playoffs. As the late innings loomed, the Phillies dugout stared nervously, and the frenzied crowd waved the towels and increasingly became louder.
Amazed by his dominance, he was unflappable in his first postseason appearance. Better yet, he attacked the strike zone early and fanned down the team that scored the most runs in the National League.
By the way, he had control of his pitches and never showed signs of weariness. By the way, manager Charlie Manuel wasn’t forced to summon a reliever from his bullpen.
Sure enough, Halladay is this year’s baseball story.