Roy Halladay, you might be on B Squad, but you're the B Squad leader.
On Monday, Halladay likened playing for my perennial also-ran Toronto Blue Jays to being "like a little bit of Groundhog Day ...You want to talk about why we're succeeding, what we've done to help us get to the point of where we're at, and we just haven't done that ... It's hard to keep talking about the same thing."
To a diehard Jays fan, that's the equivalent of, in the last two hours, having lost your job, your apartment, your car and your girlfriend. And then depression set in. There's only one way to respond — with an open letter pieced together from Bill Murray movies. It's the best way to get inside this guy's pelt and crawl around for a few days.
Dear Doc,(* An amalgam of the Kevin Mench/Brad Wilkerson platoon, let us never speak of it again. Travis Snider, God's gift of sunshine, does look like he could stand go out to Las Vegas and crush a few pitches out of those high-altitude Pacific Coast League parks, though.
So it's true. A commenter on Drunk Jays Fans a while back claimed you'd been overheard wondering over dinner in a Toronto eatery if you were doomed to play your entire career in Toronto and never make the playoffs. It must make your lips numb just to think about it.
If this was coming from someone who isn't the god of ground-ball outs, people would be saying, right about now, his bladder feels like an overstuffed vacuum cleaner bag and his butt is kinda like an about-to-explode bratwurst.
This is a letdown. In the grand scheme of Blue Jays baseball, a high-dollar hurler betraying any trace of human emotion is really more of an A.J. Burnett thing. You're the Doc. You can chew your way through a concrete wall — or the New York Yankees' high-priced lineup, as you did with a two-hit shutout last Friday at Rogers Centre, the world's only 50,000-seat video-rental outlet — and spit out the other side covered with lime and chalk and look good in doing it.
As a bonus, you usually finish the job in less than 2½ hours.
This can be forgiven. You forgot that your cross to bear is putting up Cy Young-worthy stats while throwing for a team owned by Rogers Communications. Rogers' baseball philosophy: A hundred-dollar shine on a three-dollar pair of shoes. That kind of explains why the Jays have given 205 at-bats this season to Kevin Wench.*
You saying you're unhappy and "one thing I really want to accomplish in the rest of my time, is win a World Series," could mean Toronto is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions, real wrath of God type stuff — human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!
Up until now, the impression was that you were cool with being the best Roy Halladay you could be. That was enough for us, even if it never was with Mats Sundin during NHL season. You taking the mound every fifth day was one reason not to look at the long winter and see a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope — but enough about the Toronto Maple Leafs.
What else is there for a baseball geek in Canada, aside from fulminating at the brilliant bits of misinformation that periodically spew forth from GM J.P. Ricciardi, even if he's actually a decent GM? Since you pitch for a team that hasn't been anywhere near the playoffs since both of us were in the eleventh grade, the satisfaction of a job well-done is supposed to be enough to keep you happy.
Who knew? You're always so concerned about your reputation. Einstein did his best stuff when he was working as a patent clerk!
You're not alone in having a weak moment in Jays-land. In the spring, there's always the wild thoughts, imagining a real Cinderella story, came out of nowhere, to lead the pack in the cutthroat AL East. By the time summer heats up, it's usually obvious that even if you guys play so far above your heads that your noses bleed for a week to ten days; even if God in heaven above comes down and points his hand at our side of the field; even if every man woman and child held hands together and prayed for us to win, it just wouldn't matter because all the really good-looking girls would still cheer for the Red Sox and the Yankees because they've got all the money and for the Tampa Bay Rays because they have more brains, and those teams will go to the playoffs!
It just doesn't matter we win or we lose. It just doesn't matter!
You're needed in Toronto to take dead aim on the rich boys. Get them in the crosshairs and take them down. Just remember, the Red Sox and Yankees can buy anything — and the Rays have a much better drafting record** than the Jays have under Ricciardi — but they can't buy backbone. Don't let them forget it.
The pathway to salvation is as narrow and as difficult to walk as a razor's edge — which more or less sums up your team averaging only 3.8 runs in your starts this season.
That is your burden. If you could pitch in a hair shirt, you would. Having to have a World Series ring to be validated is some screwhead fetish. You're pitching for the doomed, otherwise known as diehard Jays fans. They're lost, they're helpless, they're somebody else's meal, they're like pigs in the wilderness.
They — we — need a leader every fifth day. An army without leaders is like a foot without a big toe. And you're always gonna be here to be that big toe for us.
Of course, you'd like a little something, you know, for the effort, you know. Oh, uh, there won't be any October glory, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.
So you got that goin' for you, which is nice.
(There are 17 quotes from Bill Murray movies buried in this post. How many can you find before resorting to checking IMDb?)
** Plus the Rays have one of MLB's best owners.)