Posted by: Asher Roth | November 24, 2009

Some (slightly ir)Rational Doc Balk

A short while ago, I mentioned that a spare room in my house was being reserved for a candle-lit vigil, which will be held the day that the Jays dispose of the best pitcher in franchise history. I decided to set up a candle for every win he has collected in the major leagues. I’ve been told this is a severe fire hazard, but I don’t really care.

But recent news has made me much less sympathetic towards Doc Halladay. Apparently, Doc announced that he will not re-sign with the Blue Jays once his contract expires. Well, what nerve of him! I mean, when I heard tell that his winning timeline did not match that of the team’s, I supposed, well, naturally, the team is going to bend over backwards to build an absolute contender around him, to match HIS winning timeline. My fantasy conversation would go something like this.

Paul Beeston: Doc, we have a plan in action to put the team in building mode. We need to clean up the mess that JP Ricciardi left us, build up our prospects, and we’ll contend in a few years. What do you think?

Roy Halladay: Paul, you ignorant slut! I’m 32 years old! I’m at the prime of my career! I can’t waste away on rebuilding team after rebuilding team! JP Ricciardi promised wins years ago! I need to win now!

PB: Roy, good sir, we’re not RE-building, we’re building. We can build pieces around you and Hill and Lind, but you need to be patient.

RH: SCREW THAT! Build the team around ME! I am the franchise, we’re owned by the biggest cable network in the country, you guys can afford it!

PB: By gum you’re right! Why didn’t I think of that??

There you go. Perfectly reasonable. After all, we all know that all it takes to resolve an issue, in any personal relationship, is to talk it out. Roy wants to win now, so Beeston, who naturally didn’t know this already, is going to bend over backwards to build a contender around him.

Ok, seriously, though…

Is anybody else incredibly sick of reading story after story, informing us that Doc Halladay, in slightly different words each time, does NOT want to return to the Blue Jays? I know that on alone, a site that I check regularly, on the Jays page, two headlines sit back to back: “Report: Halladay not interested in re-signing with Blue Jays” came out on the 21st, and “Beeston says situation has not changed with Halladay” came out 2 days later.

This makes me wonder, is the sports media in Toronto lacking headlines this much? Isn’t there enough going on in hockey (Leafs are doing swell), basketball (Raptors are too), football (AAAAAAAARGOOOOOS), or soccer (TFC BABY!!!)? Is there some quota in the media, where it’s necessary to have a certain amount of headlines about one team/sport? And what irks me, too, is that between these two stories, which each generate nothing but negativity about nearly everyone’s favourite Jay, is that these pieces are written anonymously. So it’s not as though one story was the news of Doc announcing he wants out, and the other was analysis. No, these are just stories, with the latter one recapping previous quotes from the summer, even ones by JP Ricciardi. And what ticks a Jays fan off these days more than reading anything said by JP Ricciardi?

Now, call me paranoid, but this sounds like a developing media bias, a classic case of “shit-disturbing”. Why can’t the media let sleeping dogs lie? What is their motive here? Why feel the need to constantly remind the fans that Doc wants out??

To me, it seems as though they are trying to make us dislike Doc. Where is the media story if there’s no controversy? As things were, nobody could possibly ever have reason to hate Doc Halladay. He’s the definition of a gentleman, of a hard worker, of a guy that wears his heart on his sleeve, each and every game. So, I’m sure these media outlets are thinking, well, how boring is it going to be if Doc goes to a team like the Yankees, and he plays in Toronto, and gets a standing ovation? Look at how awesome it was when AJ Burnett did as any practical individual would do, and left for more money, and then came to play in Toronto in May. He got booed before every pitch. He got cheered every time he missed the strike zone.

So I suspect the media’s plan is, if we pump out enough hot air, reminding people that Doc is like any practical athlete, and would rather cap off his fantastic career with a championship or two than stay in a city with a dying market, and little to no chance of short-term success, then the fans will start to grumble. “Hey, we’ve been good to him! Why the hell would he want to leave?? WHAT A TRAITOR!!”

Well, fans, here’s some common sense, assuming you don’t possess it already. Doc Halladay is the best pitcher in Blue Jays history. He’s given us roughly twelve years of entertainment. Think about it. I attended his second major league start on the last game of the 1998 season against the Tigers. He had a no-hitter through 8 and 2/3 innings. The guy is a hall of famer, and it’s taken him years to finally express that he’s tired of the BS and would like to win. Even when JP Ricciardi shopped him on the open market this summer, he didn’t complain. Even when he watched Carlos Delgado get shoved out of town, only to watch Corey Koskie get signed to a long-term deal, he didn’t complain. Even when AJ Burnett, a pitcher with arguably more raw skills, but 1/4 the guts, got signed for MORE MONEY than him, he didn’t complain. He has watched some great players leave, and he has pitched for some pretty bad teams. Yet, he’s still here. For now.

So mass media, if you’re reading this, leave the poor guy alone. We all know he’s leaving town, this is not news. Ok, so it’s been said out loud that he doesn’t want to sign here. Great. Even if he did, would the team sign him? It’s clear that AA has wanted to trade him since he took over, we have heard the “winning timeline” quote 3 billion times. Time for some new material. You’re not going to sway true Jays fans from loving Doc Halladay, no matter where he goes. We know the politics, we know how uneven the playing field is in baseball. But life sucks, and then you die. Optimism has been raised by the Anthopoulos article below. We know Doc is leaving. Move on. Shut the hell up until you’ve got some actual news to report, like THE DAY DOC IS TRADED.

To the fans: I hope you get the message here. Don’t get distracted by all of the BS. Remember the good times Doc gave you, don’t be bitter about the present or future. It’s not personal, it’s business. Doc gave Toronto 12 years to build a contender around him. Various problems arose, we failed him. It’s not like he tanked every year until he was fighting for a contract. Doc wore his heart on his sleeve for us each and every year. Don’t forget that, and don’t let the mass media distract you into disliking Doc for wanting to win. You and I both know that if you were in his shoes, you would do the exact same thing.

In the mean time, when the time is ripe, my vigil shall be by invite only. Please bring a fire extinguisher if you plan on attending, as I believe we don’t have one.




  1. Dear AMGR,

    I like your “fire” and passion. Finally you have a forum for your personal “subjective” style! I like your support of Halladay and agree that the media display is just that – no substance and all for show. Look forward to your next BALK.

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