Posted tagged ‘Roy Halladay’

Unreal: The Marcus Stroman Era

July 30, 2019

Where to begin?

June 2012: I’m driving home, listening to Jays Talk. It’s the night of the MLB Draft.

Mike Wilner introduces the Jays’ first round pick and proceeds to interview him. This was my introduction to Marcus Stroman; my introduction to Height Doesn’t Measure Heart.

The bravado and confidence instantly hit me. This kid had a chip on his shoulder and a desire to be the greatest pitcher ever. My attention was caught.

I fell in love with his swagger that night. And to this day, I still love it.

There’s certainly a group of fans who loathed that Stro swag. I like to think those individuals represent a segment of Toronto sports fans who expect every single athlete to perform, say little and stay in their lane. Believe me, there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you expect everyone to follow that example then a) you’re going to be disappointed more often and b) it dulls things up.

Whether you liked him or not, baseball is much cooler with Marcus Stroman. You need a strong personality like his. It enhances the drama and adds flavour to the narrative. Take that out and while the sport maintains a level of fun and excitement, it looks robotic. Even the not-so-subtle jabs he’s thrown at Mark Shapiro and Russ Atkins on Twitter have been entertaining.

We should talk about all that “commotion.”

Stro’s greatest asset and his greatest flaw is that he cares a lot. What he specifically cares about is for another article. Make no mistake though; he is PASSIONATE. That passion is beneficial in some areas and causes problems in others. That’s why you won’t see him hanging out with Shapiro and Atkins at a New York City nightclub in the next decade or so.

Similar to a lot of Blue Jay fans, perhaps Stro didn’t want to let go of 2015-16. Can’t blame him at all. It’s hard coming down from that mountain. Some accept and embrace fate. Some do it kicking and screaming. Of course, we’ll never know what actually happened or what was said. Our personal biases will simply fill in the blanks.

When it was evident the Jays needed a rebuild, I hoped Stro would be one of the few players from 2015-16 still on the roster when things turned around. But once the rebuild was in full effect, I made peace with the notion that keeping Stro would hinder the team’s growth.

It’s a classic battle of head vs. heart, with my noggin coming out on top.

I would love it if Stro was signed to a long-term deal. However, my biggest fear is that his best years would be while the team was still rebuilding.

Hate to say it, but it would’ve been counter-productive to keep Stro. If his stock is high, it was worth trying to obtain some younger talent in exchange. It’s similar to what happened with Roy Halladay ten years ago.

We all wanted Doc to stay, but while his productivity was at the top, the Jays as a whole were sliding to the bottom and needed to rebuild. It wasn’t fair to Doc who – at that point – had never tasted postseason action and ultimately requested to be traded. Keeping him would’ve slowed the team’s growth.

It’s great how Stro embraced the city, but he should pitch for a winner. And yes, the team he was traded to is hanging on by a very thin thread. Nevertheless, I certainly wish him the best of luck with the Mets and thank the heavens he’s not wearing Yankee pinstripes.

HDMH will always have a significant place in Toronto. From his debut, to the freak injury, coming back from that injury, being part of the magic that was 2015-16 and being one of the few bright spots during seasons of transition and development. Marcus Stroman’s narrative was simply unreal. He fell in love with the city and the city – at least a good portion of it – fell in love with him.

ER

Retro Blue Jays – 2002 Time Capsule

June 29, 2018

Posted by Balsamwoods.

Thanks to social media, it’s now hard to recall a time when following the Blue Jays was a lonely experience.

This random item I recently found on YouTube captures that feeling.

It’s home video of the poster’s trip to Toronto, which included in-stadium clips of – based on the footage – the May 27, 2002 match between the Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox.

The in-game experience has certainly changed at Skydome over the years. This is evident in the video when one sees the original scoreboards, fireworks after homeruns and the bright green AstroTurf. The J-Force dancers have a completely different look, not to mention Ace and Diamond.

The video is also a time capsule and reminds us how little attention was given to the team at the time.

During the late 90s and early 2000s, the Jays were very low on the totem pole of Toronto sports. The Leafs, Raptors and Rock were putting together strong playoff runs from the fancy, new Air Canada Centre.

Showing interest in the Jays was met with disdain. Free tickets or a chance to go to a game were scoffed at.

The team’s overall performance on the field didn’t help either. This was especially the case in 2002. At the time of this particular match, the Jays were 17-30 and Manager Buck Martinez was days away from being fired.

Having said that, don’t treat this video as a cruel reminder. It has some lovely aspects to it as well.

Roy Halladay was the starter that night. Though it wasn’t his best performance, Doc was in the midst of his breakout season. You’ll also see some familiar faces like Carlos Delgado, Raul Mondesi, Nomar Garciapara and Ugueth Urbina. You might even enjoy the two Leaf fans who run on the field and troll the crowd.

[Was “troll” a term used in 2002? Maybe I should’ve gone with “punk’d.”] 😝

ER

Roy Halladay: The Professional’s Professional

November 13, 2017

A wife lost her husband, two boys lost their father and we all lost an incredible role model and pitcher.

Obviously, this is a difficult article to write. Like you, I am still numb and devastated. Forget for a moment that he was a major league pitcher. We are grieving for a man who was only 40 years old; taken away so suddenly and horrifically. Painfully, we are reminded that life is not fair.

Roy Halladay was a Toronto Blue Jay. During a period of futility, he was one of the few bright spots. The Jays struggled in the standings, attendance fell and they had become an afterthought to some. It was a tough time, but at least we had Roy Halladay.

A lot of wonderful articles have been written about Doc’s impact. For me, I am reminded of an interview former U.S. President George W. Bush gave to Politico.com in 2008.

Bush – the one-time owner of the Texas Rangers – was asked about putting together a team if he were to hypothetically return to the sport and every player was available. The President’s number one choice for a pitcher: Roy Halladay.

The most powerful person on the planet (at the time) and the leader of the free world wanted our guy to be his ace hurler. That said something.

Halladay was a professional’s professional, with an inspiring rise to greatness. He started his big league career with a bang, fell apart and was sent down to A-ball. But he overcame the glaring setback with a hard work ethic and a flawless mentality.

As someone who chronically overthinks, I am envious of that “next pitch” mindset. The ability to block out the past, ignore any worry about the future and just focus on the moment at hand is hard to achieve. Roy Halladay achieved it and that’s why he was one of the best and will one day (hopefully) have a plaque in Cooperstown.

We must take as much time as we need to grieve. One day, the sadness we are all feeling right now will be replaced with happy memories. Until then, I join those on social media and call on the Blue Jays to retire Doc’s uniform number and add his name to the Level of Excellence.

More importantly, let’s remember that he was a son, a husband, a father, a teammate and a fan favourite. From all accounts, he was also an incredible human being. It was an honour to watch him apply his craft every five days.

May his memory be a blessing.

ER

Retro Blue Jays – The Line Up

February 14, 2015

Posted by Liam Greenlaw / Snudge Bros.

The Blue Jays have produced many commercials over the years. Some were hits; others were misses.

And this one was definitely a miss.

Some marketing guru decided two annoying marionette puppets would be great spokespeople for the 2005 season. They always seemed to have nice things to say about the Jays. But they sure as hell couldn’t convince the casual fans to buy tickets.

In this promo, they feed interrogators questions for Corey Koskie, Roy Halladay and Orlando Hudson. We learn Koskie swings a mean bat, Doc can throw a “frequent flyer” and O-Dog has quick hands.

Ironically, those three players got hurt in 2005.

Corey Koskie – the big off-season signing that year – injured his hand sliding into second base in Minnesota. That spelled the end to his time in Toronto and ultimately led to Aaron Hill’s debut.

O-Dog – in front of my own eyes – pulled something while rounding the bases after hitting a homerun against Oakland. The trot turned into a walk around the bases, with George Poulis by his side.

Finally, Doc was looking like a strong candidate for another Cy Young. But then he took a Kevin Mench liner off his shin, causing a fracture and ruining everything. Doc and Mench ended up being teammates three years later.

ER


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