I'm still not sure I have words to describe what happened last night. You joke with friends about your team's pitcher throwing a no-hitter. You say things like, "the Reds will be lucky to get a hit off Halladay." You kind of mean it, but not really.
Roy Halladay did it. In a playoff game. And for those of you keeping score at home, that had only happened once before- 54 years ago. Jamie Moyer wasn't even an idea yet.
What's more amazing, obviously, is that Halladay has thrown two no-hitters this year. He came to the Phillies with the highest of high expectations. The Phillies sold the farm and their ace to get him. An ace, who had just turned in one of the greatest postseason performances of all-time. Roy was going to have to be good, real good.
From the first day of spring training, he didn't disappoint. He arrived at Bright House Networks Field at 5:45 in the morning to workout, inspiring some of his peers to do the same. Despite a $20 million a year salary, he remained genuinely humbled by the opportunity to play for a conteneder, in fact, that's all he seemed to care about- winning. He began the season as advertised, turning in dominant performance after dominant performance. And then, just two months into the season, he made history.
The city was captivated by an improbable Flyers Stanley Cup run. It was Memorial Day weekend, and every backyard barbecue and beachside happy hour was centered around Game 1 of the Finals. Doc was pitching that night too, but his progress would be monitored via cell phone score checks and brief intermission channel changes. But the city's focus quickly began to shift. Halladay, the guy we all expected to be perfect, was doing just that. He carved up Marlins one by one. The Flyers game, a Stanley Cup Fianls game, became the afterthought. It was Roy's night.
He was perfect. He actually lived up to unrealistic expectations.
Doc remained brilliant throughout the rest of the regular season. When he was given the chance to clinch his first ever postseason appearance, he threw a two-hitter. Not bad, Ace.
Now, it was time for the playoffs. He had never pitched in baseball's postseason, how would he react? In a small way, the other guy was still in the back of everyone's mind. Cliff Lee, who will never be mentioned again in this context on this website, just won another playoff game, striking out 10 and only allowing one run. If Doc disappointed, you knew what the conversation was going to be.
I wrote this last year (before the resurgence of Hamels and the acquisition of Oswalt), arguing that swapping Halladay for Lee didn't make the Phillies' postseason rotation any stronger.
Sure Halladay might be better over the course of the season, but the best he can be in the playoffs is Cliff Lee.
I was wrong. He could be better, he throws no-hitters.
This morning on Mike and Mike, our own Michael Jack Schmidt called it the greatest moment in Philly sports history- better than the 1980 championship he was a part of. That, if nothing else, puts last night's events into their proper context. And perhaps no other words need to be said.
Roy Halladay threw a no-hitter in Game 1 of the NLDS, his first ever playoff appearance. It was the greatest moment in the history of Philadelphia sports.
Watch the video, see the pictures, and get the t-shirt that benefits Phillies charities here.