While spending the holiday weekend in my home state of Delaware, I reluctantly joined some friends of mine at Damon's to watch the Flyers battle the Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Had it not been for an opportunity to chow down on some barbecue ribs, I might have rejected their invitation. Now I must eternally bow before those ice boxing-obsessed knuckleheads for far more than a simple porkfest.
Gee, Roy Halladay, thanks A LOT.
For the rest of the season, I will be unable to speak a single negative word about the Philadelphia Phillies. That's at least four - and most likely five - long months of holding my virtual tongue after every blown lead, losing streak or Ryan Howard slump.
Halladay, you may not understand after all those years in Toronto, but do you know how impossible such restraint is for a Philadelphia fan?? You may as well banish all the cheesesteak vendors from Citizens Bank Park or take away the Phanatic's all-terrain vehicle. It just ain't natural.
You bestowed this ungodly task upon me with your historic performance against the Marlins last night. Never before had I witnessed a no-hitter of any kind, coming the closest in 1997 when I watched Mike Mussina - during his pre-traitor glory years - take one into the eighth inning for the Orioles. Roy, you have now provided me with a trifecta of baseball bliss by showing me a perfect game for my team by the best hurler in baseball.
My standing in the sports blogging universe will never be the same. Even a hint of criticism toward my guys, and it's, "Hey, shut up, fool. You saw Roy Halladay throw a perfect game. They won't even let Johan Santana stay in the game past 105 pitches."
See what you've reduced me to?
And what's worse is you toyed with those hitters, while making all of us sweat. Nearly half of your outs never made it out of the batter's box, and I swear all 11 of those strike threes were on different pitches. You probably set a record for 3-2 counts in a perfect game, and you didn't give in with a fastball on any one of them.
To top it all off, you followed your worst start as a Phillie with the best start anyone in the majors is going to have all season. While all of your teammates crowded around you in celebration after the final out, the Marlins' dugout and clubhouse was likely littered with the splintered remains of bats broken out of the frustration you caused. Someone who makes a lot less money than you had to clean all that up, and the sounds of weeping can be heard from the second-floor administrative offices of the Louisville Slugger Factory.
All good, old-fashioned ribbing aside, you dazzled, champ. That pile of dirt 60 feet, 6 inches from the plate that you've made an inviting home over the past decade is your launching ground of magic displayed not just last night but every fifth game of the season. Most of the people who packed into that sports bar in New Castle, Delaware, were supporting a different team in a different sport, but by the last few innings of your greatest achievement, they were all cheering for you. Baseball never fails to remind me why I love it so much, and you gave me one of the best examples ever. Thanks for 2 hours and 14 minutes I'll never forget.