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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Halladay Dominates Again

In some ways I wonder if Philadelphia fans, including myself, know how to react to what’s going on with the Phillies these days. As I read the blogs and listened to sports radio after Roy Halladay pitched a no-hitter in the first game of the opening round of the playoffs last night, I felt like people wanted more from the moment than they can really feel.

Don’t misunderstand me, I get how incredible this guy is on the mound. I don’t ever expect to see a Phillies pitcher, or quite frankly any pitcher, throw a perfect game and a no-hitter in the same season again.

The scary thing for the rest of the National League is that one game into the playoffs there’s a real sense that it’s a foregone conclusion that the Phillies are going to be in the World Series. Just listen to Orlando Cabrera whine about the umpire helping Halladay get the no-hitter, and it’s pretty clear that the Cincinnati Reds are done. They just got no-hit, they are crying about it, and, oh, by the way, they’re facing Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels in the next two games.

Good luck, fellas.

But back to my original point. The media is at least flirting with comparing this no-hitter to Don Larsen’s perfect game with the Yankees in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers – the only other no-hitter in post-season history. Mike Schmidt, a Phillies great and a Hall of Famer, called it the greatest moment in Philadelphia sports history.

Excuse me?

The Phillies have won two World Series, including the 1980 team Schmidt was on.

The Flyers have two Stanley Cups.

The Sixers have been World Champions twice.

The Eagles . . . err . . . ok, forget the Eagles. My point is still valid.

I even get that this was Halladay’s post-season debut and that the Reds aren’t exactly a garbage team. It’s one of the all-time moments in Philly sports history, and I think Halladay may have only of the best post-seasons ever. That is, if he gets to pitch enough games. Again, I don’t think he’ll see the Reds any more this season. The San Francisco – Atlanta series seems like an afterthought at the moment, with it being the last series to start tonight on the west coast. And neither team scares anybody right now.

In fact, I was almost bored by this game until the prospect of the no-no started to come alive. It was 4-0 after the second inning with Halladay on the mound. The man barely went over 100 pitches. It was over early.

We’re also in the opening round of the playoffs – the “wild card” round if you will. They didn’t even have that in Larsen’s day. It’s certainly not the World Series.

I absolutely do not mean downplay what Halladay did. He’s almost certainly the best Phillies pitcher in my lifetime for one season. It’s awesome. Historic. Bring on the Yankees.

Just don’t call what Halladay did better than a World Championship.

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