Friday, March 5, 2010

Spring Training 2010 - I Shall Call Him...Doc Roy Toy

[Brief editorial statement alert] Doc isn't enough. You have to make up for the fact that there was such a huge feminine fan uprising after the sex symbol that was Cliff Lee. [End brief editorial statement]

Yesterday afternoon gave baseball fans the show of what's to come in April and beyond. Hugely hyped RHP Roy Halladay made a 2 inning start against the World Series Champion Yankees, and he shut down their offense during his short time on the mound. There was only one baserunner in those two innings, and that was so because of a throwing error by another Phillies acquisition (rather, a returning Phillie) Placido Polanco. Recording three strikeouts, he looked like a monster.

I would like to take this time to tear into a tiny piece of the Phillies' starting rotation. This was a bit of an issue in the 2009 postseason, and I'd like to make some points.

Picture it: Philadelphia, 2006
The Phillies organization announced the name Cole Hamels. With all of the talk of his intimidating pitching style, everyone was indirectly thrown the Hamels Hype and were insanely excited to see this guy pitch in the majors for a team that hadn't made postseason in nearly 15 years. After making it into the majors a few months later, he made an average rookie showing. In 2007 and 2008, he had even promised to work hard enough to win the NL Cy Young award.

Okay, fast forward a little bit. Picture it: Philadelphia, July 31, 2009
Four key prospects from the Phillies farm system were traded to the Cleveland Indians to acquire OF Ben Francisco and LHP Cliff Lee. Lee, a 2008 AL Cy Young award winner, had a load of hype behind him and threw die hard baseball fans into a frenzy. The Phillies were looking for a repeat--the first time a NL team would do so since the Reds in the late 70's. Cole Hamels, having a below-average season along with minor ankle problems (he took a nasty step off the hill to field a ground ball one game...I forget against what team) had a massive flame lit right under his fanny. "Oh no! An ace! B-but that's my job!! Must...impress...morrrre!!!" He didn't actually say that, but a lot of Phillies fans could tell that something was up with him during the last 3 months of the season.

Anyway, let's take a walk through the 2009 postseason. Good 'ole Cliffie, in his very first postseason appearance, practically glowed in his two starts with Philadelphia. For good measure, he actually stole a base in Game 1 of the NLDS. I laughed heartily [correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't he pinch run in Game 2 in the 9th inning as well? We'll find out why now]. Cole, on the other hand, didn't have a clean mind with his start. Should he have been more focused on the game, or more focused with his wife Heidi who went into labor about halfway through the ballgame? Well, anyway, the Phils lost that lone game of the series.

2009 World Series: Remember Game 1, how Cliff Lee made the two nonchalant plays without panicking on the mound? Yeah. They were awesome. Game 5 was almost as fun despite Lee slipping a bit as the game went on. Alright, let's go back a wee bit to Game 3 on Halloween Night. Rainy night, nice and chilly, and those annoying brats from that show Glee sang the National Anthem. Can't really tell you what happened to Hamels that night, but people were pretty angry about his outing. Don't really blame them either. He looked like his head was in an egotistical fog or something. It was thicker than pea soup--no, it was thicker than that. It was thicker than a brick, and that's pretty thick.

Okay, here we are back in the present. Cliff Lee is only a legend now in Philadelphia and now we have the statistically better Roy Halladay in the #1 slot in the Phillies pitching rotation. Wouldn't you think this is a bigger flame under Hamels' behind now? I think so. Frankly, it makes me laugh a little. No, I'm not anti-Cole Hamels, but he's a hardcore whiner. After he won the 2008 NLCS/World Series MVP, he got so many commercial deals and so many public appearances it made some people dizzy. I just feel like he had a massive ego trip throughout 2009 and had to learn the hard way as to why that is never good in a professional sports environment.

I seriously hated the Lee/Halladay trade when it first happened, but it is what it is, and I'm slowly beginning to accept it. Halladay looks like he's in the best shape of his life, and he's going to get a lot of attention in Philadelphia. After all, if you're in Philly, you're clearly going to tell whether you're liked or not. Philly fans just happen to be like that. I mean, look at how they tore into JD Drew, Billy Wagner, and Scott Rolen. The fans are in a world of class on their own.


EDIT: I was told about this blog last night by a few friends, and I have to share this with you since it pertains to Halladay. Kudos to Jim and Mike for this link.

1 comment:

MrsJenB said...

I love the picture. I love, love, love the picture.