Roy Halladay might not have always been a Phillie, but he gets Philadelphia. Today, Doc reminded anyone in Philadelphia who had forgotten why they had fallen in love with Doc, why Philly worshiped Halladay just a few years ago. Halladay, wasn’t asked, but rather Halladay went to the media, and told them that he had a a statement to make and it wasn’t for the media to have a field day with, but rather that Halladay wanted to speak to the fans who have supported him or even booed him as recently as last weekend.
“I’ve been thinking the last couple of days. I just felt like I should address the fans.”
“I know there is a lot of mixed opinions on pitching, not pitching, all that kind of stuff. I know there are people who are disappointed about how I pitched the last two years. I know there are a lot of people who are very supportive. So, one, I just wanted to thank them for their support. And my heart goes out to all of the people who spend all of their money and go out to the games and don’t get to see what they want to see.
“I know I’m not the whole team. There are still a lot of guys out there and it’s a fun team to watch. But I feel bad that I’m missing the time that I am. I feel bad for the fans that I’m missing the time. It’s tough. You feel an obligation to the organization, to your teammates, to the fans to try to go out and pitch. Especially on a competitive team that sells out. For me, that was a big factor. If I’m playing for a last-place team and there’s things going on, you maybe speak up. But we have a chance to go win a World Series and we have sellouts and fans have expectations. You want to do everything you can to try to make it work. Really, that was a lot of the reason I tried to keep going. Like I said, I never really felt the pain.
“I just wanted to reach out to the fans, thank them for their support and apologize to the ones who pay the money and show up in the second inning and it’s 9-0. I apologize to the fans that I won’t be out there for three months. I don’t feel like I have to apologize to the team because I think they know. I just want the fans to know that I’m thinking about them. I don’t take that for granted. I don’t take playing for Philadelphia for granted.”
After Halladay had the chance to get all of that off his chance, and win back any hearts that he lost in Philadelphia, Halladay was asked what led him to making such a statement, when in reality most player wouldn’t feel like they owed anything to the fans.
“It bothered me last year. It bothered me this year,” he said. “Any time you go out there and pitch poorly. First and foremost, I felt bad for my team. I felt I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing. And then you start to think about it and you think, ‘Man, all of these people are paying good money, they’re showing up and they’ve been so supportive over the years, and they’re not getting what they want either.’
“It’s just something you think about. Like I said, my teammates know I want to be out there. I feel like the fans are a very important part of it, too. It’s hard to explain how much you appreciate them when you come from places where you don’t have fans like that. I think it’s important to recognize them.
“I understand that some people are upset, and that’s fine, that’s a part of it. I’m not trying to sway their opinion. If they don’t like me, they don’t like me. That’s fine. I think they mean a lot to the organization, they mean a lot to Philadelphia. We couldn’t do what we do here without them spending the money to come see games. I think that sometimes gets overlooked in sports. They’re a big part of the team success.”
“If I paid $60 and the team was down 9-0 when I showed up, I wouldn’t like me. But my heart goes out to them. And to my team. I just wanted to make sure they knew they’ve been a big part of everything and I’ve always appreciated their support.”
And Doc our heart goes out to you. We will always love you in Philly, and it isn’t just because of your dominance in 2010 and 2011, but it’s because in times like this when things look bleak, Doc reminds us all how much of a winner he is. And I sat here for half an hour trying to think of a better way to phrase it, but Doc is just that, a winner. I don’t know whether Doc will ever be back at the level where we look at him as an ace, my guess is no, but my heart wants to see him succeed so badly. Either way after today’s statement, one of my kids names will be Roy Kelly.