That's right. Few will have the courage to agree with me, but I'm sayin' it anyway.
In 2009, the San Francisco Giants' superlative right-hander, Tim Lincecum, won his second consecutive National League Cy Young award.
The East Coast establishment of Major League Baseball watched in horror as the Freak made it two-for-two—two full years in the Show, two Cy Youngs—and did so in dominating fashion:
2009: 15-7, 32 GS, 225.1 IP, 4 CG, 2 SHO, 68 BB, 261 K, 2.48 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 6.7 H/9, 10.4 K/9, .206 BAA, .271 OBPA, .290 SLGA, .561 OPS
2008-09: 33-12, 65 GS, 452.1 IP, 6 CG, 3 SHO, 152 BB, 526 K, 2.55 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 7.0 H/9, 10.5 K/9, .214 BAA, .284 OBPA, .303 SLGA, .587 OPS
The smoking cabals littered east of the Mississippi, like a curtain pulled from Boston to Philadelphia, decided that simply wouldn't do. Nope, can't have a West Coast rep demanding that much of the limelight.
So the wheels were oiled and set in motion; Roy Halladay had to be redirected. If Doc ended up with the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees, which is where the superstar types usually settle, the NL's left flank would be vulnerable yet again.
It's bad enough having Zack Greinke stealing the show from his spot on the Kansas City Royals' mound until he finds his way to New York, but another youngster chewing the scenery aaaaall the way in California?
For a franchise that can afford to keep him?
No. N-n-n-no, that's outrageous.
Slowly but surely the plan came together. Today, we behold the glory of its culmination.
Halladay is officially a Philadelphia Phillie, and Lincecum's two-year reign as the Senior Circuit's best pitcher will face its most sobering challenge in 2010.
All by design.
Think about it. What better way to yank attention back where it belongs than to ship a guy who's been suffocating the Bigs' best division off to a fat, Eastern NL market?
Fans of the diamond across the country saw what American League East exiles Brad Penny and John Smoltz did when they found soft landing where real baseball is played.
For those who missed it, Penny went 4-1 with a 2.59 earned run average and a .960 WHIP while throwing for Los Gigantes.
Smoltzie wasn't quite as stellar for the St. Louis Cardinals—1-3 with a 4.26 earned run average and a 1.18 WHIP—but he was still very good, and the NL Central was/is a tougher place to hurl. It also bears mentioning that both got obliterated wearing a Boston uniform, but John-boy took putrid to another level (8.32 ERA/1.70 WHIP).
Imagine what Roy Halladay will do.
I won't bother listing them all because, well, there's simply too much data and it can overwhelm the eye.
If you're a brave soul, check out Doc Halladay's résumé. At the very least, take a gander at his career marks amassed over parts of 12 seasons: 148-76, 287 GS, 2046.2 IP, 49 CG, 15 SHO, 455 BB, 1495 K, 3.43 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 8.8 H/9, 6.6 K/9, .255 BAA, .299 OBPA, .375 SLGA, .674 OPSA.
Keep in mind the glittering numbers came courtesy of a schedule pock-marked with regular outings against some of the best teams the Majors had to offer in those years.
Make no mistake—Roy Halladay has been the best starting pitcher in professional baseball for a while. Maybe even the entire decade. The numbers don't appear to indicate it, but that's only because they haven't been adjusted for level of difficulty, and for good reason—they'd lose any effective meaning in the wake of such an adjustment.
It'd be like learning that the sun's core temperature is 28 million degrees Fahrenheit. The information is too profound to have any articulate meaning in the brains of mere mortals (28 million, huh? What am I supposed to do with that? It sounds...I don't know...hot?).
And now, Doc's bringing his act to the Franchise's empire. He's been sent by the shrouded East Coast power brokers to find out just how dandy those clothes really are.
The specter of a Roy Halladay no longer encumbered by baseball's most rugged offensive division is a truly frightening one.
But so is that of a motivated and focused Tim Lincecum.
Let the countdown begin.