27 Broken Faces
One of my favorite blogs (sorry, 'bolgs') is ZooWithRoy.com. It is written by a half-literate but lovable penguin whose sole mission in life is to convince Roy Halladay to join him on a trip to the Philadelphia Zoo. It’s a naïve, humble quest from the No. 1 fan of the best pitcher in baseball and it’s something every man and woman with a heart can get behind.
Through broken English and passable MS Paint skills, ZooWithRoy takes his readers on a childlike ride celebrating everything Halladay; from off-day workouts to awkward NL East-clinching quotes to insider verbiage for Roy’s signature pitch.
One of Zoo’s favorite phrases when Halladay is in the zone is “breaking faces.” It’s not necessarily a tangibly definable term (though, this pic might help), but if you watched Halladay’s first postseason appearance of his career Wednesday night, you now know exactly what it means.
The line: 104 pitches, 27 outs, no hits, one walk.
The second no-hitter in postseason history. Second. Ever.
My generation has never seen anything like this. We will almost certainly never see anything like this again. Roy Halladay just gave us all the best pitching performance we will ever see.
Whether we were one of the 46,411 at Citizens Bank or one of the millions watching on television, we knew we were watching something special from the outset.
How did we know? We knew because Roy’s stuff – all four pitches – looked nasty. We knew because his location was as close to perfect as any human being can ever get. And we knew by the look on the Reds’ faces as they walked back to their dugout.
Those faces … every one of them … were broken.
The Reds knew what they were facing. They saw what we all saw. They knew their resistance was futile.
"When you’re trying to thread a needle at the plate, it’s miserable," soon-to-be NL MVP Joey Votto told CSNPhilly.com’s John Finger. "It’s not fun up there trying to hit nothing."
"I think words would ruin the performance," Scott Rolen added. "[Halladay] just dominated the game. We didn’t give him too many good swings and we didn’t put too many balls in play. I wonder how many times I would have struck out if I would have kept going up there."
Doc threw 25 balls all night. 25 balls in nine innings. Edison Volquez threw 24 in 1.2. Of the 28 Reds batters that came to the plate, 25 saw first-pitch strikes.
There was only one hard hit ball all night. One. Pitcher Travis Wood of all people, hit Halladay hard the other way. Jayson Werth made a nice play. That was it.
There was one walk. One. Jay Bruce took an 0-1 pitch that could have been called a strike but was called a ball. Halladay lost a couple of pitches after that and walked Bruce. Nearly one-sixth of all the balls he threw all night he threw in that at-bat.
"It's surreal, it really is,'' Halladay said after the game. "I just wanted to pitch here, to pitch in the postseason. To go out and have a game like that, it's a dream come true."
"It was a lot of fun. It’s just one of those special things you’ll always remember."
That’s exactly right. That’s exactly the point.
For Halladay, for his teammates and for every baseball fan who witnessed it, this is a game we will all always remember. It sounds corny, but Halladay gave us a gift Wednesday night. These iconic moments in sports come around once in a generation. We all owe Roy for this moment. We owe him for a memory we will be telling our children’s children about.
In the movies, a supposed halfwit like ZooWithRoy always has an inner-genius. In the movies, the guy who appears slower than the rest of us invariably winds up teaching us a valuable lesson we were too blind or stupid to see. Forrest Gump taught us that life is an adventure. Raymond Babbitt taught us that there’s more to family than counting cards. Chance from Being There probably taught us something too, and when I see that movie I’ll let you know exactly what that lesson is.
Maybe ZooWithRoy has been put on this planet to teach us something too. Maybe Zoo is here to teach us just how lucky we all are to be able to watch a pitcher like Roy Halladay.
Halladay gave us something we will share with the people closest to us – fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, brothers, sisters and friends – for the rest of our lives. For that, we all owe him big time.
And hey, I can think of no better way to start paying back that debt than by convincing Mr. Halladay to let us all take him on a trip to the Philadelphia Zoo.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.
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