MIKE TOTH

Why Doc Halladay leaves me cold

Posted By: Mike Toth · 12/10/2013 9:10:00 AM

When Toronto fans discovered Roy Halladay was leaving the Blue Jays four years ago to chase a championship in Philadelphia, a lot of them wailed...."Say it ain't so, Roy!"  (A blatant reference to the epic 1984 baseball movie "The Natural"......Google it, you lousy kids.)

But my reaction to Halladay signing a one-day free agent contract to officially retire as a Blue Jay?

"It ain't a big deal. Roy."

To be honest, these one-day symbolic sports contracts have always struck me as a little phony.

Let's face it.

If Doc had really wanted to be a Blue Jay for life, he never would have helped engineer his own trade. You can understand his desire to pitch in the play-offs, foreign territory in Toronto, but either you're a Blue Jay for life or you're not and regardless of the fuzzy feelings at this week's Halladay news conference, the fact is good ol' Roy jumped a sinking ship.

Secondly, how much do we really know about Halladay? 

Sure, he's a solid, hard working guy and a good family man.

A young pitcher who came close to quitting after the Jays sent a struggling Halladay to the low minors early in his career, before bouncing back in Cy Young award fashion; that's definitely an inspirational tale.

We know he's got all the numbers; over 200 career wins, a perfect game and a sensational no-hitter for the Phillies in the 2010 play-offs.

But Halladay never won a World Series, the ultimate goal when he left the Jays, and he's also as boring and bland as vanilla pudding.

One of the worst interviews in professional sports, Halladay kept his thoughts on most issues to himself and never let media or fans get too close. To his credit, Halladay was a tremendous competitor who was always prepared to pitch. But if I'm going to cheer for a pro athlete, I need to be emotionally invested and Doc always left me a little cold.

Let's compare Halladay to another Hogtown sports icon, Wendel Clark, who was also a great player on some bad Toronto teams. Clark, however, wore his emotions on his blue and white Maple Leaf sleeves, hitting and fighting everything that moved and making it very easy to root for him.

I understand baseball is a much less emotional game, but it wouldn't have hurt Halladay to let people get to know a little more about the guy behind the steely glare.

These days, Wendel is still a man of the people; running restaurants around the GTA, acting as a goodwill ambassador for the Leafs, and even marching in the Burlington Santa Claus parade decked out in his famous number 17 jersey.

Somehow, I can't picture Halladay slapping on his number 32 Jays uni and marching in a Holiday parade. Like most American athletes, Halladay was a Toronto guy only during the baseball season before bolting back over the border for the winter.

Now that's he's hung up his pitching cleats, there's talk of Halladay becoming part of the Blue Jays organization in some capacity.

So who knows?

Perhaps in retirement, we'll finally get to know the good doctor in a much more personal way.

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  1. Rob Ford posted on 12/14/2013 11:35 PM
    I completely agree with you on this Mr Toth, DH was just chasing his own self serving dream, which is typical of any ambitious athlete. Oh sure now that his career is over, he wants to now align himself with the team that gave him the chance in the first place.
    OK, now that its over we can just forget about him and move on to the next star.
  2. Walter posted on 12/15/2013 11:30 AM
    I take the exact opposite view.

    Some of Toronto's best stars (Sundin, Keon) were quite quiet. Maybe if you do not have the talent, then you need to be flamboyant to be noticed. I prefer people whose actions speak for them.
    1. Mark7 posted on 12/16/2013 12:08 PM
      @Walter Keon was a great, Sundin was a bum.
  3. Krystin posted on 12/17/2013 01:56 PM
    I completely DISAGREE with this article. Toronto needs more classy athletes like Roy Halladay and I was thrilled to hear he would be returning, even for a day, and even more happy when talk of him working here started.

    You don't need to have a World Series ring to be an amazing ball player. And Roy Halladay was an amazing ball player.

    If my job was in sports media, I suppose I could understand why one would whine about him not being as accesible as other athletes. This isn't hollywood and he isn't a celebrity. He showed up everyday, played hard and helped others excel. He gave me as a fan someone to believe in. That's what matters.
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