Tomorrow, July 2, 2011, Roy Halladay of the Toro...Philadelphia Phillies will make his long-awaited return to Toronto. Fresh off a Cy Young campaign that saw him pitch a perfect game in the regular season and a no-hitter in the playoffs, The Doc is assembling yet another monstrous season.
As a life-long Torontonian and die-hard Blue Jay fan, this reunion will be, to say the least, bittersweet.
I equate it to running into your old high school girlfriend and finding out she's engaged and has a fantastic new career.
Meanwhile, you're still single, getting fatter by the day and stuck in a dead-end job.
Oh yeah, her fiancé (you know, the guy who replaced you) is way better looking than you are. That bulge in his jeans is a little disconcerting as well. Awesome.
Anyways, here's my letter to a lost but never forgotten friend.
I remember when we first met. It was September 27, 1998 and the Detroit Tigers were in town. Mutual friend Gord Ash (then Blue Jays GM) had finally decided to invite you to the party.
I've always eschewed clichés as I found them to be silly euphemisms for even sillier people. But on this day, I got very silly; for if first impressions are the most enduring, then 09/27/98 made a very lasting one indeed.
After 8.1 innings of no-hit ball, known puppy-hater and Satan worshiper Bobby Higginson decided to pee in the cornflakes of Blue Jay Nation; he took your fastball over the left field fence to ruin your debut.
Nonetheless, a complete game one-hitter is a great first date.
Over the next few seasons, our relationship had its typical ups and downs. Some friends of mine even tried to persuade me to break it off, telling me you were overrated.
I knew better.
Then in 2002, you decided to take our relationship to the next level. Love was in the air throughout the summer, and it culminated in a 19-7 record with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.
Just when I though it couldn't get any better, the very next year you surpassed all my lofty expectations.
22-7. 266 IP. 3.25 ERA. 1.07 WHIP. 204 K's. 32 BB's. Cy Young Award.
Roy, you're much too humble to care about personal stats, but allow me to put this season into perspective.
Using the following benchmark: 220 IP, 20 W, 200 K (min), 40 BB (max), do you know how many pitchers have ever had such a season?
The answer is four. Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Pedro Martinez and you. They all did it once, but in 2008, you did it a second time (246/20/206/39).
Inexplicably, you didn't win the Cy Young that year, even though you had more strikeouts and led the league in complete games, shutouts and WHIP.
Not that you needed to impress me, you had me at strike one.
However, all good things come to an end.
Last spring, we broke up, and you moved to Philly for a new start. I understand why we split and I'm not bitter. We didn't give you what you wanted, and even though we still love each other, you deserve that ring.
It just breaks my heart that you'll get it in a different jersey
I wish you all the best Roy. Long may you run.
Love, Jeff (on behalf of Jay fans everywhere)
P.S. I heard Bobby Higginson was spotted mopping the floor of a peep show in Flint, Michigan. Weird, huh?
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