Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Long Goodbye

So they've traded Roy Halladay.

Now, we wait for the official announcement, and we wait to watch Halladay pull on another team's uniform and smile for the cameras and talk about how excited he is to be in Philly. As much as we've been prepared for this for months, and as much as we've eagerly anticipated the conclusion to this endless saga, it's still going to hurt like hell to see Roy Halladay in another team's uniform.

As our colleague quite aptly noted yesterday, the affection that Jays fans had developed for Doc went far beyond his statistical value. There was a level of reassurance in knowing that Halladay would be there, and even if the rest of the pitching staff blew up, you knew that you'd get a great pitching performance once every five days. You knew that you had a Strong Foundation, a bona fide Ace, a Number One Pitcher, and a Cornerstone. You had what almost every other team wanted, and he was inherently yours.

Now, that's gone. Now, we have to learn to live with the chaos and uncertainty of a starting rotation in constant flux. And we'll have to appreciate and savour the occasional great pitching performances from Jays starters that we'd come to take for granted from Doc.

Now, we move on.

Living in Oblivion
There was something vaguely Rip Van Winkle-ish about the past two days, as we found ourselves generally cut off from the up-to-the-second rumouring and reporting of the conclusion to the Roy Halladay trade saga. From Friday morning through until this morning, we had no TV, no internet connection, a BlackBerry with a nearly dead battery and a crappy sports radio station to which we couldn't subject ourselves, much less Mrs. Tao.

When we checked our Twitter account sometime on Sunday and instantly saw cryptic references to the Halladay trade going down, we flipped out for a few minutes and scoured around in a panic to find any information we could. Finding solid information on Twitter was quite a challenge, as every wisenheimer that we follow was more interested in making funnies about which local delicacy was being shipped to which city, or whether if the mascots were to be involved in the trade somehow. (Which is totally and patently ridiculous. Because the Phanatic is an elite level mascot, while Mariner Moose has never been the same after crashing into the outfield wall and snapping his hind leg.)

If there was a positive aspect to being mostly isolated from the news of the trade, it was that it gave us some time to reflect on the news, rather than reacting to each bogus report or scouring the Baseball Cube to tally up the relative value of this prospect and that one and whether if this is a good or bad move, or what have you.

(It also allowed our good pal The Ack to shine like the crazy diamond that he is. Great work this week, dude. Now take a breather and have a Fort Garry Ale. You've earned it.)

There will be plenty of time to assess the relative merits of this move. Years, even. There's probably no good sense in trying to declare winners and losers at this point, so we'll probably hold off on the instant analysis of the deal for at least another couple of hours.


Tao of Stieb said...

Signs that Jays fans are beside themselves over the trade: Two hours and not one comment.

(I can hear the calls of "Bring back the Ack!" ringing in my ears.)

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

I like to think that in the end, for once, we didn't take someone like Doc for granted. From what I've been reading, he was appreciated. But the Lord only knows how much he will be missed. Life After Doc will definitely not be pleasant.

I think the fact you were "living in oblivion" while the trade was going down is interesting. It lets you look at it from a different perspective than most of us. I think in 5 years, we'll be able to look back at this deal. I wonder if we'll all still be blogging, and commenting, when that time comes.

And kudos from my end to The Ack as well. As per his Twitter account, he's taking a day of bereavement after watching Doc sign autographs for Philly fans. Chin up, mate. The only way left to go is up.

Tallet's 'stache said...

Fuck waiting years to see how the prospects turn out before judging this trade. I know he had to go, was going to leave anyway, etc., but how about only having to wait until August when we've tanked and there's no Doc to watch.

KP said...

I am numb.

The idea of an opening day lineup card with a pitcher other than Halladay starting is almost chilling.

We had a special thing for a lot of years. I'm going to relish the memory of every fist pump after an inning-ending K, every cold hard stare down towards home plate, every tipped cap, every complete game and every painted corner.

Jays fans group hug anybody?

The Ack said...

I'm around. Wallowing in self-pity. Dreading the presser where Doc pulls on the Phillies cap, smiles broadly with wifey and the boys by his side, and proclaiming his excitement at being a part of a winner.


Nobody gave a shit when it was AJ. He was never really our guy. This one is different. It's fucking stinging me right now to read Phillies fans waxing nostalgic over the loss of Clifford the shitty red dog Lee for "minimal" upgrade Roy Halladay. Fuck off!

You know what would be cool? If Doc took out one of those one page ads thanking Jays fans for their support over the years. Doc's way too low key for that bullshit, though.

I'm going to go home and watch the Jays/Sox game still on my PVR where Doc drills Papi in retaliation for Papeldouche's bullshit. Fuck this.

Tao of Stieb said...

Jesus, KP. Are you trying to make me cry?

The thought of someone other than Halladay toeing the rubber on Opening That feels like a gut punch.

Peter DeMarco said...

How about U2's Numb, for a rock out Friday song.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

Who's it going to be, Ricky Romero?

If Doc does take out an ad, that's when my tears will flow like a river.

I think I'm going to plan a road-trip to Philly. Watch Doc pitch. While wearing my Jays jersey.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

Also, Jeff Blair's right; Doc tied our hands:

This will be sacrilege in these parts, considering the unconditional love for Halladay, but it must be said that he and agent Greg Landry did the Blue Jays no favours when they made it known publicly that, once he reported to spring training, Halladay was prepared to exercise his no-trade clause as a means of shutting down any trade activity.

In the case of other ballplayers, the temptation would have been to roll the eyes and say, "Yeah, whatever." To treat it as a shot across the negotiating bow.

Yet Halladay is so singular in his approach to the season and so insular once it begins that few people around the Blue Jays saw it as anything other than being dead serious.

Tao of Stieb said...

I'm not even ready for people complaining about this trade.

Like...what the fuck did people think we were going to get?

We got two first rounder picks who have developed fairly nicely and a supplemental round pick who has had a good start to his career.

That's a better return than we would have received if Doc had walked, and there was no way that he was coming back, even for all of the money in the world and all of the additional resources poured into his supporting cast.

mike runs said...

FWIW, the guy that Elliott Gould spent the entire movie searching for was played by Jim Bouton.

Good pitcher, great writer, but had the acting range of a piece of lumber.

Christopher Jones said...

Our rotation is going to be brutal this year.


Who am I missing?

Lot of potential; but little else. We gotta hope for a big year from Marcum and that Romero avoids the sophomore slump.

AA has to add another pitcher though trade or free agency, right?
The bullpen is going to be taxed this year.

KP said...

Can we worry about the rotation and bullpen in January??

I need the next two weeks to grieve.

I'm with Ack. Fuck the Phils fans who honestly believe that Halladay is a "minimal" upgrade over Cliff "Couple of good seasons and a Cy Young based on win totals and run support" Lee. What unmitigated horseshit that is.

Random D-bag said...

Rogers Centre in the dog days of summer will be a great place to get away from it all and be alone with your thoughts.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

Am I off my rocker for thinking the Jays can win 75 games in 2010 A.D.

Darren Priest said...

The Jays now have Lance Broadway to go with John Buck. Those are some sweet porno names. If only we still had Buck Coats.

Anonymous said...

60-70 Wins seem more reasonable.

Tao of Stieb said...


I don't think you're off your rocker at all. I think that the 2010 Jays, without Doc, are a 75 win team at this point.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

Now that Doc is out of the American League, this paves the way for Shaun Marcum to win his first Cy Young.

And according to the always trustworthy Bob Elliot, someone's failed their physical.

Ian Hunter said...

I'm with eyebleaf - Shaun Marcum is the new saviour of this team.

Peter DeMarco said...

Counting on Marcum is a scary proposition. We don't know if he will ever be the same yet.

Tao of Stieb said...

Shaun Marcum is going to shave your nutsack this year.

Just you wait.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

Peter, don't be such a downer. North of Steeles will come back even better, with more heat, and still a devastating change up.

plain_g said...

i think it's time to go back to the clobbering jays. wells bounces back, hill and lind repeat, snider breaks out, ruiz continues his 10Ab/HR streak for more than 100 ABs, E5 rediscovers his swing with a strong wrist, buck finally achieves his potential. this year can still be fun.

The Ack said...

Presser coming up. I'm going dark. I can't let you guys see me this way.

Darren Priest said...

Don't go to, Ack. You'll be seeing red. Literally and figuratively.

Joe Latino said...

Ugh why did I go to That hurt. But you know, as much as this whole thing sucks, at least he didn't end up going to the Red sox, or the fucking yankees. That would have been a low blow.

KP said...

Arrrg... I'm staying away from all sports media outlets for at least the next 48 hours...

Anybody know where I can get a time machine on the cheap?

Jay Hill said...

Go check out AA's obviously pre-fab q&a on What annoys me about this - on a day that I was dreading for years now, this apple pie faced motherfucker made me excited about the future. I hate that...hate hate hate hate. I wanna mourn damnit! Stop being so charming and upbeat!!!!!!

On another note, AA did well in this trade. Philly did well in this trade. The M's....well, I hope they smoke the AL this year, because they've mortgaged a lot here for just 2010.

REAN said...

Agreed with the following...
-Jays could win around 75.
-AA got a good haul. Waaaaay better than if Doc walked. (-cough-Burnett-cough-Scutaro).
-This is a lot less painful than it would have been to see him in a Yankees cap.
-lance Broadway and John Buck are total porn names.
-Doc & his agent tied their hands.

I'm just glad the great swap is over with and we didn't get raped.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I was sad when I first learned (way back when) that Doc would be leaving. Over the months, and especially through the summer, I accepted the fate, and began to warm to possibilities of the returns. I wasn't sad, I was excited. Then... saw him in the red pinstripes today. AND I WAS SAD.

Cheers to you, Doc! You made every fifth day worth watching, even when there was little else to watch.

For a chuckle...

October 2010. Brett Wallace hits a ninth inning walk off home run to win the world series. Off Roy Halladay. The camera zooms in on an incredulous Doc, whose mouth can clearly be read to say, "You've got to be fucking kidding me..." Halladay falls to 2-1 in the series. Drabek gets his first win in the fall classic with two no decisions ("Damn you Halladay!" we all shout, with a remembering smirk in the corners of our mouths). And somewhere, far away, a nation hears JP Riccardi chuckling to himself.

Anonymous said...

it sucks for sure but i reckon we'll see halladay in a jays uniform again for a final year - we have done it before. just imagine: when his contract runs out, we may just be contenders and having him on that team would make it even more special.

dave said...

How about a big pat on the back for J.P. not taking a lesser deal? Showed the Jays weren't going to be pushed around, helped get Drabek.

That presser was just, wow. I Honestly felt a little sick. All I could think about is Doc's windup in a Phillies uni. Looked so wrong.

Tao of Stieb said...

Probably too early to get into what Doc might do in four years' time, but I really kinda doubt that he ever comes back. I think he's done with Toronto and I think his family is done with Toronto.

He's moved on.

That's it, that's all.

Chris Aggas said...

Someone in St. Louis, a monster awaits his greatest challenge.

I can't wait.

Anonymous said...

Fuck off! I'm the best mascot. It took two of them to replace me, then I 86'd Diamond - the bitch!

Fuck off and die, asshole Ace!

Anonymous said...

I'm B.J. Birdy by the way! Phillie Phanatic can eat my shorts and the Mariner Moose can suck off his antlers!