Sunday, September 21, 2014
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The 2013 Roy Halladay narrative

The story of Roy Halladay's season has already been written. Both of them.

The 2013 Roy Halladay narrative

Philadelphia Phillies´ Roy Halladay in action during a spring training exhibition baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Wednesday, March 6, 2013, in Clearwater, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Philadelphia Phillies' Roy Halladay in action during a spring training exhibition baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Wednesday, March 6, 2013, in Clearwater, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

It can already be written -- about the Phillies, and Roy Halladay, and the 2013 season. After what happened on Wednesday, when Halladay threw behind Washington’s Tyler Moore in retaliation for Stephen Strasburg hitting Chase Utley with a pitch, the narrative was set up -- and the narrative rules.

So it will go one of two ways.

This way:

ATLANTA (September 29) -- It was a cold and windy day in the middle of a cold and windy spring, a nothing day that Roy Halladay turned into forever. Not since 2007, when Jimmy Rollins said that the Phillies were the team to beat in the National League East, had a leader on this team announced that leadership to the world in such a memorable way.

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When Halladay threw that fastball behind Washington’s Tyler Moore, minutes after teammate Chase Utley had been hit by a Stephen Strasburg pitch, it was more than a single pitch that got away on a blustery day -- and everybody knew it. It was a call to re-focus for a franchise. It was a message designed for widespread distribution, yes, but mostly for internal consumption.

It was obvious. And yesterday, as Halladay used a t-shirt to wipe the spraying champagne from his eyes, he acknowledged, “I love this group, and I love its professionalism, and I just wanted to say something to everyone about what I believed we were capable of, and what it would take. I decided to say it with a pitch...”

Or, it will go this way:

WASHINGTON (September 15) -- Jayson Werth was the hitter, Roy Halladay the pitcher. It was 90 degrees, another hot day in an endless capital summer. Halladay’s 93rd pitch of the game was a fastball. After Werth got done with it, and the ball landed somewhere near Bethesda, Phils manager Charlie Manuel fired his gum into the dirt and began the slow walk to the mound.

If he had looked over his left shoulder at the scoreboard as he walked, Manuel would have seen the reading from the radar gun:

87.

It has been the issue all summer for Halladay, who has worked as hard as anyone to get by on guts and guile and professionalism. With 2 weeks left in the season, and the Phillies still 11 games behind the Nationals in the National League East and 6 games behind in the NL wildcard race, Halladay has been the face of the franchise: proud, aging, determined, but just short.

On a blustery day in March, Halladay had announced that determination to the world when he threw a pitch behind the back of the Nationals’ Tyler Moore, in unspoken retaliation for an earlier pitch that had hit teammate Chase Utley. The story, proclaimed loudly, was of that pitch and what it meant.

Quietly, though, the real story that day was being told by another radar gun.

86.

88.

87.

87...

You see? It works either.

Narrative is a beautiful thing.

See you in September.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
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