Sept. 27, 2003. That was the date of my favourite sporting memory. Roy Halladay was pitching for the Blue Jays against the Cleveland Indians at SkyDome.
The Toronto right-hander tossed a complete game that Saturday afternoon for his franchise-record 22nd win of the season, an eventual Cy Young campaign for Halladay.
For a guy too young to remember the Jays’ World Series years, that game was the closest I’d come to a playoff atmosphere. Only 21,504 fans saw Halladay’s final start of the season, but they were hysterical by the time he got Jhonny Peralta to ground out to second base to end the game. Being in the Dome that day really felt special.
But life moves on, and over the past few years I’ve grown away from the Jays. Now I look at the team more objectively, and with that, a lot of my passion for the club has faded.
Even so, the June 25-27 series against the Phillies at Rogers Centre this year was one I was genuinely looking forward to. I was excited about going to a Jays’ game in a way that I hadn’t been for a while.
Though it still stings to see Halladay in a uniform other than Toronto’s, like a lot of people, I was planning to go and cheer for him.
Now that moment won’t come — at least in 2010. Because of security concerns around the G20 summit, the series will be played in Philadelphia. But regardless of the reason, relocating the series is a fastball to the ribs of Jays fans.
With all the talk of record-low attendance at Rogers Centre this year, coupled with the fact Toronto is rebuilding — sorry, “building” — after trading Halladay, this is shaping up to be a sorry season.
The Blue Jays estimated 90,000 fans would turn up over the three games to see Halladay and the Phillies. Now, instead of being able to say “Thank you, Doc,” we’re left with “Maybe next year.”
– David Singh is a copy editor at Metro and former reporter for MLB.com
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