The Greatest Of All Time (1977-2017)

Oof. Man…I wasn’t ready for this. But who was?

I had expected to get a chance to celebrate when he would visit the SkyDome again and have his named added to the Level of Excellence as the greatest Blue Jay of all time. And then I had expected to get a chance to celebrate when he was voted into the Hall of Fame, becoming only the second player to be inducted as a Toronto Blue Jay. And then again when they would announce #32 would be retired, just like Alomar’s #12 when he was inducted.

But now he won’t be there when those things happen, we won’t be able to see him smile and wave to the crowd and drink up the loud, deafening, concrete-reverberated cheers of 50,000 people packed into that stadium to watch him do it. And that’s a tough thing that a lot of people, like me, are going to have to come to terms with this week.

I was watching the Dodgers two weeks ago in the World Series, and thinking about how they had such a grand, enjoyable history. In Game 1 at home they brought out Jackie Robinson’s family to throw out the first pitch. In Game 2 they had Vin Scully, Steve Yeagar, and Fernando Valenzuela. In Game 6 they had Orel Hershiser and Tommy Lasorda. In Game 7, Dodgers pitching legends Sandy Koufax and Don Newcombe. That’s a lot of Hall of Famers. And I kept thinking about how if the Jays ever made the World Series, we would eventually finally have our own Hall of Famer pitcher to bring onto the field in order to mooch off his mojo.

I typed up some words about Roy Halladay years ago when he retired, but I don’t really think it’s appropriate now to talk about his statistical accomplishments as a baseball player. The biggest single thing I remember about Doc was that he was always there. And he was always there. As long as his name was penciled in on the roster, there was some glimmer of hope for the season. For an absurd amount of innings every year, for a straight decade. He was there every four days, either extending a streak or busting a slump. And he was there on the mound for Opening Day to celebrate a new, fresh baseball season every year. For all those times we caught a game with those Star Passes after school and had the fortune to catch a brief, vintage two-hour long pitching clinic. He was a very bright spot on a team that didn’t collectively didn’t accomplish much during that time, which means he should be treasured even more. He was an unstoppable, emotionless, feared baseball playing robot.

And in retirement, turned out to be as much of a goofball as he was a terminator during his playing days.

And now…he’s not here any more. I’m not good enough of a writer to properly articulate this loss for this city and its fans. I’m not sure if anyone is really, although there have been a lot of nice articles these last two days written about him.

It was a sad day yesterday. And it’s a sad day today, and it’ll be sad for a bunch of days to come still.

It is impossible to express what he has meant to this franchise, the city and its fans.

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Destined to fight the world's evil, The WAMBAG endures massive battles involving impossible stunts, races on horse-pulled carriages, and the desecration of enchanting medieval castles (all done with dizzying computer graphics). Not only does the eye candy keep on coming, the tongue-in-cheek writing and deep Transylvanian accents perfect the film with a dose of dark humor.

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