Mammas, Don’t Let Your Beggars Grow Up to be Choosers.

Week 17 NFL Picks.

Week 17 NFL Picks.

It’s come to this, a week 17 game in Dallas for the season.  I often make the joke during an early season game, before a big play, “well, this is the season.”  That’s literally the case now, and an Eagles loss will be unacceptable, regardless of pre-season expectations.  They weren’t expected to contend under Chip Kelly this early, but the combination of Nick Foles magic, an improving defense and an atrocious division, changed the scale by which the team will be judged.  They’re a better team than Dallas, especially if Dallas is going to use the QB combination of Orton and Kitna. It’s a game they should win.

And, it’s a game to throw away petty personal feelings.  It doesn’t matter right now what I think about Nick Foles.  Do I deep down still find him to be a goof?  Of course, but I have no alternative right now.  They can’t tank for a draft pick, and they can’t lose this game–not to Dallas.  So, I’ll be watching Foles with good intentions on Sunday night. Unfortunately, as a fan, you don’t get to choose your QB–just your team.

***

Week 17 Beer: Lagunitas IPA

Lagunitas IPA is a bit like Sierra Nevada, in that it’s one of these “craft” beers that you can find anywhere, and it’s a common sight on tap in places that like to mix up their selection a bit.  It’s certainly more mass-produced than most of the beers I’ve tried so far, but like with Sierra, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a quality, and drinkable product.

Am I sorry I didn’t Get Sierra:  Not really.

The Lagunitas is a very traditional IPA, like the Smuttynose or the Ithaca, though maybe not quite as good in my opinion.  It has the familiar hoppy flavor, but drinks pretty easily for its 6.2 ABV.  It’s just a solid, if not obscure selection.

Top Ten Beers So Far:  

  1. The Alchemist, Heady Topper
  2. Ithaca Beer Company, Flower Power IPA
  3. Southern Tier, 2X IPA
  4. Smuttynose, Finest Kind IPA
  5. Bear Republic, Racer 5 IPA
  6. Shed IPA
  7. Lagunitas IPA
  8. Bell’s Midwestern Pale Ale
  9. Red H0ok Long Hammer IPA
  10. Casco Bay IPA

***

Big Dub, 41-32-3

Atlanta (+6.5) over Carolina.  I can just feel the letdown, or maybe I’m feeling something else.

Chicago (+3) over Green Bay.  Getting points in the biggest game of the season?  Seems too easy even though Cutler Face is back in there.

Cincinnati (-6)  over Baltimore.  I feel like they cover this number a lot at home.  Lots of feelings so far.

Seattle (-11) over St. Louis.  Blow out.

Dallas (-6.5) over Philadelphia.  Hopefully, this works out as a reverse jinx.

***

JCK, 35-39-1

  1. New England (-8.5) over Buffalo
  2. Philadelphia (-6.5) over Dallas
  3. Green Bay (-3) over Chicago
  4. San Francisco (PICK) over Arizona
  5. Seattle (-11) over St. Louis

***

Grossy, 42-34-4

New York Giants (-3.5) over Washington.  Look at those Giants, going out with a bang.  If Eli plays well, maybe they can trade him to Jacksonville for their 1st round pick.  Mike Shanahan might coach this game via Skype live from another job interview.

Jacksonville (+11.5) over Indianapolis.  Last chance of 2013 to pick the Jags.  I don’t think there is any more to say.

New Orleans (-12) over Tampa Bay.  Does this game mean anything?  I have no idea.  I can’t be doing playoff scenario research over Christmas break.  What I do know is that Tampa has been getting rocked–by everyone.  The Saints should win by 2 TDS even if Brees is throwing to Joe Horn.

San Francisco (PICK) over Arizona.  Great season by the Cardinals.  Some monster wins.  Now, they just need a better QB than Carson Palmer.  The Niners win very ugly.

St. Louis (+11) over Seattle.  The Rams have been the dogs of the year.  They’re 7-8 against the spread–respectable.

***

Kraft, 45-33-2

  1. Philadelphia (-6.5) over Kitna
  2. Arizona (Pick) over San Francisco
  3. Jacksonville (+11.5) over Indianapolis (Weekly obligation)
  4. San Diego (-9.5) over KC’s 2nd String
  5. Seattle (-11) over St. Louis

***

DC, 41-35-4

  1. Minnesota (-3) over Detroit
  2. New Orleans (-12) over Tampa Bay
  3. Baltimore (+6) over Cincinnati
  4. Arizona (PICK) over San Francisco
  5. Green Bay (-3) over Chicago

***

Nichols, 40-38-2

  1. Carolina (-6.5) over Atlanta
  2. Cleveland (+7) Pittsburgh
  3. Giants (-3.5) over Washington
  4. Cincinnati (-6) over Baltimore
  5. Kansas City (+9.5) over San Diego
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Post-Christmas Check-In.

Anyone Get A Car With A Bow?

Anyone Get A Car With A Bow?

Hope everyone had a great Christmas, or holiday season in general.  Still a week of slacking left before that cruel wake up call, January 2nd comes around.  Such a downer.  In the middle of enjoying gifts, packing on those last few pounds, here’s a quick update for the 6 people involved.

NFL Pick ‘Em Standings:

  1. Kraft, 45-33-2
  2. Big Dub, 41-32-3
  3. Grossy, 42-34-4
  4. DC, 41-35-4
  5. Nichols, 40-38-2
  6. JCK, 35-39-1

As you caq see, Kraft remains in control, as both Dub and I failed to take advantage of his 2-3 week.  DC making a late charge, and JCK needs a 5-0 to get everyone over .500.

The “Epic Christmas Light Display,” Pick of the Week:  Nichols, Indianapolis (+6)

Didn’t see this one coming.  I would have loved an “outright” call here for emphasis, but tis the season to make generous assumptions.  I’m sure Nichols was expecting this Colts romp.  Either way, better than any pick I made.

The “Fruitcake” Awful Pick of the Week:  Grossy, Chicago (+3)

Oh, dear.  Did the Bears cover that number?  The funny thing is, the scenario played out exactly as I thought it would.  The Cowboys won, making the game meaningless for the Eagles.  The Bears needed the game to clinch the division.  It should have been a layup.  Then the Bears came out like the Flyers in a game seven against Ottawa, the Eagles were clicking and pounding their starters and it was a blowout from the jump.  Didn’t help the Eagles in the standings, didn’t help me in Pick ‘Em.  Merry Christmas.  I stink.

***

3-PT D.A. of the Week:  Ryan Tannehill.  

10/27 for 82 yards.  Shutout by the Bills.  Yep, that’ll do, Pig.

After one week of the D.A. Finals, Doubleback Vineyards leads Eli Esses D, 27 to 5.75.

***

Arbitrary, Yet Definitive, Top-10:

  1. Denver, 12-3.  A reliable blowout team
  2. Seattle, 12-3.  Whoops.
  3. New England, 11-4.  Hilarious when Baltimore gets blown out.
  4. San Francisco, 11-4.  Hottest team in NFC.
  5. Carolina, 11-4.  Massive win.
  6. Kansas City, 11-4.  Massive Loss.
  7. Arizona, 10-5.  I officially feel sorry for the Cardinals.
  8. Indianapolis, 10-5.  Possible AFC spoiler.
  9. Philadelphia, 9-6.  Suddenly impressive at home.
  10. Cincinnati, 10-5.  Dalton the anchor.

Week 16 NFL Picks.

A Lot Better than Cowher Power.

A Lot Better than Cowher Power.

There could be a huge Eagles game tonight.  NBC “flexed” the game, and if Dallas loses this afternoon they’ll get the Eagles trying to clinch the NFC East in front of what should be a well-lathered mass of fans.  But, if Dallas beats the Redskins, the game becomes almost meaningless for Philadelphia and the fans will have spent upwards of eight hours tailgating for nothing.  Hey, at least it’s going to be 70 degrees.  Seasonal.  Personally, I think Dallas will win today, something I’d rather see anyway.  Let’s see if these Eagles, who have fans concocting Super Bowl scenarios can beat a mediocre team in week 17 to qualify.

Week 16 Beer:  Ithaca Beer Company, Flower Power IPA.

I went to Ithaca once.  Scenic.  Hilly.  I definitely had a few beers during the excursion, but I don’t recall dancing with this local flavor.  Chances are the name and the Scooby Doo writing on the bottle might have slowed my enthusiasm.  But, I grabbed one of these with my variety pack a while back, because why not?  The label had been steering me wrong in recent weeks–time for a change.

Am I Sorry I didn’t get Sierra–NO.

I knew I liked this beer from the first sip, before I had looked into it at all and found out it was a very highly regarded IPA.  The flavors are intense.  The hops are strong and so noticeably citrus that even a dumbsh*t like me can easily identify them.  This wouldn’t be the IPA I would give someone who I was trying to ease into the genre.  It’s too much, that hint of bitterness would probably turn some people off.  But, after a week of being sick and slogging through some real muck, it was exactly what I needed.  Atta boy, Ithaca.

Top 10 So Far:

  1. The Alchemist, Heady Topper
  2. Ithaca Beer Company, Flower Power IPA
  3. Southern Tier, 2X IPA
  4. Smuttynose, Finest Kind IPA
  5. Bear Republic, Racer 5 IPA
  6. Shed IPA
  7. Bell’s Midwestern Pale Ale
  8. Red Hook Long Hammer IPA
  9. Casco Bay IPA
  10. Anderson Valley Hop Ottin’ IPA

***

Kraft, 43-30-2

  1. Miami (-3) over Buffalo
  2. New Orleans (+3) over Carolina
  3. Oakland (+10) over San Diego
  4. Philly (-3) over Chicago
  5. Jacksonville (+5.5) over Tennessee

***

JCK, 32-37-1

  1. New England (+2.5) over Baltimore
  2. San Diego (-10) over Oakland
  3. Denver (-10.5) over Houston
  4. Dallas (-3) over Washington
  5. Seattle (-10.5) over Arizona

***

Big Dub, 39-29-3

  1. Seattle (-10.5) over Arizona
  2. Cincinnati (-7) over Minnesota
  3. Kansas City (-6.5) over Indianapolis
  4. Tampa Bay (+5.5) over St. Louis
  5. Washington (+3) over Dallas

***

Nichols, 36-37-2

  1. St. Louis (-5.5) over Tampa Bay
  2. Indianapolis (+6.5) over Kansas City
  3. Cincinnati (-7) over Minnesota
  4. Tennessee (-5.5) over Jacksonville
  5. New York Giants (+9) over Detroit

***

DC, 38-33-4

  1. Buffalo (+3) over Miami
  2. Cleveland (+2.5) over New York Jets
  3. Cincinnati (-7) over Minnesota
  4. Denver (-10.5) over Houston
  5. Seattle (-10.5) over Arizona

***

Grossy, 40-31-4

New England (+2.5) over Baltimore.  The Patriots are severely depleted and looked sluggish last week, but Miami has always been the place where they play the worst.  Can you blame them?  Miami is awful.  I think we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves with this line, though.  Let’s not confuse Baltimore for a top-level team.  It’s going to be ugly again, but this time New England squeaks it out.

Dallas (-3) over Washington.  The Redskins showed some life last week!  That was against a team that may be the worst in the NFC and has long given up on their season.  If Kirk Cousins can’t rally for that win, he’s not going to rally for any wins.  Dallas is a mess, has a historically bad defense, and is poorly coached.  But, I don’t think they’ve given up.  They ruin the day for the Eagles’ fans.

Chicago (+3) over Philadelphia.  Speaking of which, I’d like to see this game matter for the sole reason of seeing how the Eagles handle the Bears’ offense.  Can’t believe I’m saying that, but the Bears have a ton of weapons.  The Eagles have secondary issues: see Matt Cassel’s explosion, so Marshall and Alshon could spell disaster.  When the D holds it together, the Eagles win, when they don’t–loss.  Don’t see them containing the Bears.

St. Louis (-5.5) over Tampa Bay.  The Rams have become decent?  They play tough at home.  It looks like Tampa is back into a spiral.  Perhaps they thought, you know what?  We don’t think we want Schiano around next year.  Let’s go ahead and make sure he gets rat-canned.  Can you pick the Rams to blow someone out?  I just did.

San Francisco (-12) over Atlanta.  Counting on Atlanta not mentally making this road trip.  The Niners are on roll. The two words coming to mind are ugly and early.

 

Tuesday Morning Self-Esteem Check (Speed Round Edition)

No Jinx.

No Jinx.

I’ve got to get moving here, because I don’t have much time, but I also am in a bit of pain about a .3 point fantasy semi-final loss last night.  I know no one cares–but it still hurts!  Anyway, I’m just going to say, I don’t believe in the SI cover jinx.  Jordan seemed to do fine after his 50 covers.  If you want to think your team, or player got jinxed?  Go ahead, it probably just means they aren’t that good–or that anything can happen in the NFL, including bumbling into the Metrodome and getting knocked around by Matt Asiata.

NFL Pick ‘EM Standings:  

  1. Kraft, 43-30-2
  2. Big Dub, 39-29-3
  3. Grossy, 40-31-4
  4. DC, 38-33-4
  5. Nichols, 36-37-2
  6. JCK, 32-37-1

***

The “Christmas Cookie Platter,” Pick of the Week:  Big Dub, St. Louis (+6)

The Rams have haunted me all year to the point that I finally came around and picked them a few times.  If I had been feeling really frisky, perhaps I might have gotten this game, but I was awash in a sea of lesser dogs.  It was a nice pick for Big Dub, to get a winning week and to stay in the hunt.  Kraft is in good shape with 10 picks to go, but still some challengers lingering.  It’s amazing how some teams play so differently home and away.  The Saints are an extreme example.  They go to ANOTHER DOME, but still look like they’ve never even practiced together and get hammered.  Beware the Saints on the road, it’s coming in the playoffs.

The “Creepy Mall Santa,” Awful Pick of the Week:  Multiple, Jacksonville (+2)

As Kraft said, how exactly did the Jags become the darlings of the handicappers here?  Is this still earth?  How did we all get so carried away?  The Jags were hot* and the Bills are terrible in their own right, but there is always an inherent amount of stupidity in picking Jacksonville, because they are Jacksonville.  Nothing could surprise you with the Jags.  If next Sunday they forfeited because only 20 players showed up for the game, I wouldn’t be THAT surprised.  Oh, those dysfunctional Jags.  Picking the Jags is like skulling a wedge into the green.  It is always embarrassing, just some of the time, you line it into the false front and it pops up and lands softly.  That didn’t happen this week.

***

D.A. of the Week:  ELI MANNING!!!!!

Great Job Eli.  Go read about Eli’s sexy five picks and the huge impact it had on the D.A. Semi-Finals.  Decemeber is when D.A. legends are born.

***

The Definitive, Yet Arbitrary, Top-10:

  1. Seattle, 12-2.  Fairly convincing win.
  2. Denver, 11-3.  We’ll call it a short-rest hiccup.
  3. San Francisco, 10-4. High water mark.
  4. Kansas City, 11-3.  Jamaaaaal Charles, One a for every TD.
  5. Carolina, 10-4. Because they aren’t as bad on the road as…
  6. New Orleans, 10-4.  Ugly, ugly game. Speaking of which…
  7. New England, 10-4.  Could be in trouble without Gronk.
  8. Indianapolis, 9-5.  Not a good team, but…
  9. Cincinnati, 9-5. Neither are the Bengals.
  10. Miami, 8-6.  Or the Dolphins.

Week 15 NFL Picks

In the Original "Medicine" Flavor.

In the Original “Medicine” Flavor.

Q: What do you make of people who prop up their windshield wipers the night before it is supposed to snow/ice?  

A:  I think this might be one of those things that spread slowly and no one knew why they were doing it–is that possible?  You see your neighbor do this and you think, there must be SOME reason for it, and so the next time they call for a dusting you give it a try and it goes from there.  I don’t know the point of doing this, really.  I guess it’s to make snow removal easier, but how hard is it to clear the windshield?  When it comes to the scraper you either are putting in work, or your aren’t.  It’s going to quick, or it’s going to take a while.  It’s not like you turn over your engine and your car shakes the snow off like a wet dog.  So, maybe while you are clearing the rest of your car, you pump your defroster full blast and the windshield is no worries.  Anyway, the only two practical reasons for windshield wiper arousal in my mind: First, if you live in a college town this provides a target for drunken goons and they will rip your wiper off, possibly passing over your side view mirror (a much costlier fix).  Second, if it’s going to snow two feet and you often forget where you park, you can look for the drift with the two dipsh*t wipers sticking out of it–CAR FOUND.  That’s all I’ve got.  Stop seeking out such minor victories in life and keep your wipers flat, like nature intended.  

***

Week 15 Beer:  Nyquil.

I’m a bit under the weather.  I haven’t had a beer all week.  A real shame.  Real cold bug going around.  When I’m not sick I like to make wild claims about never getting sick, but it usually happens at least once a year.  Soldier on, but without alcohol.  I haven’t had any Nyquil either, but I did know a kid in high school who would chug Nyquil to get drunk.  I think I’ve told that story before.  Anyway, maybe they should make cough medicine that tastes like beer?  Of course, medicinal flavors always miss by a mile.  I have memories of “bubble gum” floride at the dentist’s office that would make a scavenging dog hurl, and I honestly can’t believe the flavor cherry hasn’t sued Nyquil among other companies for brand defamation.  Back to the rankings next week.  How about some cool, sleek, winners?

***

Big Dub: Record, 36-29-3

  1. Cleveland (+1) over Chicago
  2. Dallas (-7) over Green Bay
  3. Miami (+1) over New England
  4. Seattle (-7) over New York Giants
  5. St. Louis (+6) over New Orleans

***

Grossy, 38-28-4

Washington (+7) over Atlanta.  This could be the worst game ever played.  It has that potential.  I spoke just days ago about the Redskins giving up on the season, but now that Kirk Cousins has been put into the lineup, I feel like they are going to be injected with a dead cat bounce.  Plus, what this situation needs is MORE controversy.  How about a great game from Cousin Kirk against another team that has given up?  Feels right.  Outright win for the ‘Skins.

Jacksonville (+2) over Buffalo.  Could the slate be any worse this week?  It’s a minefield of suck.  Here’s a comical line. The Jags have FOUR wins.  Most of them coming recently.  That’s relatively good for this matchup. EJ Manuel is trying to finish out the year worse than Charlie Manuel.  Another absolute layup, outright dog winner here.

New England (-1) over Miami.  Pats, and Tom, notoriously bad in Miami.  No Gronk.  Feels like I should be leaning toward my third straight outright dog, but sometimes the dumb money is right and this is the case here.  Shane Vereen may have 23 catches in this game.  Watch it happen.  The Pats have had some strange endings this year, I’ll take another one here if they can win by a FG.

Detroit (-6) over Baltimore.  Seems like a bit of a Detroit line.  You rarely see them favored by more than a FG against any team with name recognition.  The Ravens had their hands full with the Vikings last week and their DB (who apparently isn’t related to the kicker) is mouthing off about Megatron.  Great idea.  If Belichick was coaching the Lions, he’d throw 11 TDs on this mutt’s head to make a point, hopefully Schwartz can draw up a few in the dirt.

Minnesota (+5) over Philadelphia.  Special request from Eagles fans far and wide.  Keep picking against the Birds. This is a letdown/trap spot for the Eagles.  Are they impervious to such perils?  Does it have something to do with the smoothies?  It doesn’t matter if AP plays or not, this is a total one of those weird NFL things.  Also, I’m so demented, I kind of want the last game against Dallas to mean everything.

 ***

Kraft, 40-28-2

  1. Indianapolis (-5.5) over Houston
  2. Jacksonville (+2) over Buffalo
  3. Kansas City (-4.5) over Oakland
  4. Baltimore (+6) over Detroit
  5. New England (-1) over Miami

***

DC, 34-32-4

  1. Kansas City (-4.5) over Oakland
  2. New Orleans (-6) over St. Louis
  3. Indianapolis (-5.5) 0ver Houston
  4. Miami (+1) over New England
  5. New York Jets (+11) over Carolina

***

Nichols, 34-34-2

  1. New Orleans (-6) over St. Louis
  2. Cleveland (+1) over Chicago
  3. Indianapolis (-5.5) over Houston
  4. Jacksonville (+2) over Buffalo
  5. Baltimore (+6) over Detroit

Tuesday Morning Self-Esteem Check.

Poor Megatron.

Poor Megatron.

This is what could happen at the Super Bowl, people.  It could snow and you’d end up with a wildly memorable game that all the fans who were there can’t stop talking about.  What a disaster.  The snow games this Sunday produced some sloppy football at times, but most of them also ended in crazy, back and forth fashion.  As far as bad things that can happen at a Super Bowl, snow is way down on the list.  

NFL Pick ‘Em Standings:  

  1. Kraft, 40-28-2
  2. Grossy, 38-28-4
  3. Big Dub, 36-29-3
  4. DC, 34-32-4
  5. Nichols, 34-34-2
  6. JCK, 32-37-1

The “Two-Hour Delay,” Pick of the Week:  Collective, Kansas City (-2.5)

I just wanted to focus on the Redskins for a moment.  What a terrific disaster.  Things looked so promising for those few weeks at the end of last season, but then RG3 got hurt again, the team went spiraling into the toilet and that’s when the fingers start to get pointed and stories start getting leaked.  If your franchise, or locker room is leaking stories–your season is over.  They’ve either given up on a coach, a QB, a combination of things, but you certainly aren’t getting any effort.  It’s every man for himself.  Players will try to save their own hide, Shanannahan is setting himself up to try to get another coaching job, and I’m sure Dan Snyder is planning his next crazy move.  The Redskins are pleased to introduce Lee Corso as the new head coach!  Anyway, no such thing as a trap line against Washington. They’re done.  

The “Wintery Mix,” Awful Pick of the Week:  Kraft, Dallas (+1)

The Bears did not punt last night.  Zero punts.  That’s the second time that has happened this year against Dallas.  It’s the most amazing stat I’ve heard all year.  Maybe this was a hedge by Kraft in honor of the Eagles, but other than that, not much to like about this pick.  You could probably drum up some support for “never lay points with a McCown,” but the Bears’ WRs are so filthy that it doesn’t appear to matter who is throwing them the ball.  Best WR tandem in the league.  In Chicago.  Unreal.  

***

3PT D.A. of the Week:  EJ Manuel.  

Oh, EJ.  This was a master class.  Kellen Clemens threw a pick-6, took a safety, lost, got sacked all day and he wasn’t even really considered.  This was one of the better D.A. games of the year and it came in crunch time.  You won’t believe what happened in the playoff race.  Go ahead and check it out.  

***

The Definitive, Yet Arbitrary, Top-10:

  1. Seattle, 11-2.  Have trouble in SF, but won’t return there this season.
  2. Denver, 11-2. Looks like Peyton’s OK in the cold.
  3. New Orleans, 10-3.  Nice bounce back for the Saints.
  4. New England, 10-3.  No Gronk.  High-Water mark?
  5. Kansas City, 10-3.  Beating the Redskins is like tie.
  6. San Francisco, 9-4.  Finally a decent win.
  7. Carolina, 9-4.  Not Ready for the Big Time.
  8. Cincinnati, 9-4. Your AFC Divisional Round loser.
  9. Philadelphia, 8-5.  Eagles have snapped off 5 in a row.
  10. Arizona, 8-5.  Life on the fringe.  

Halladay’s Retirement Triggers Case of Baseball Sadness.

Roy Retired as a Blue Jay, Despite Confusing Hat Placement.

Roy Retired as a Blue Jay, Despite Confusing Hat Placement.

I don’t know anyone who really wanted Roy Halladay to pitch for the Phillies in 2014.  But, I also don’t know anyone who wanted Roy to retire.  Retirements are major mileposts in the life of a sports fan.  When a player you are connected to retires, you can’t help but think about how quickly time passes.  The boys who watched Roy come into the league are now men and a generation of fans will no longer be able to watch one of their defining pitchers. Athletes get plenty of grief for getting emotional at their retirement press conferences, but it often happens abruptly and at a relatively young age.  The realization must be jarring and I think the fans feel that to a certain extent as well.  If Roy Halladay is getting old, that means I’m getting old too.

Roy Halladay coming to Philadelphia may have been the absolute peak of the Phillies franchise.  Smack in the middle of an unprecedented run of success, Halladay made it known that Philadelphia was his ideal destination and he wasn’t particularly interested in signing a player friendly extension.  I don’t know off the top of my head another time, in any sport, where Philadelphia was THE free agent destination.  But that’s what it became after Halladay was acquired and not even shipping off Cliff Lee could change that…

There’s another thing that Halladay’s retirement is a sad reminder of–the Phillies are no longer a team in demand. The money and the wins have dried up a bit since the 2009 off-season.  From Halladay and Cliff-mas to Jeff Manship and Will Nieves in four short years.  Ouch.  

For me personally, Halladay represents some of the highest peaks I’ve ever experienced as a pure fan.  His 2010 season was extraordinary.  I got multiple text messages on the night of his perfect game before the third inning talking about the chances of Roy pulling off the feat that night.  That isn’t normal, but that’s how quickly he made everyone believe he was different.  And he was different, just not invincible like he appeared in those initial months.  

Being in the stands for Roy’s no-hitter against Cincinnati in the playoffs will be something I always remember.  I went back and read my post from the next day and I admitted to starting thinking n0-no in the 4th inning this time around. The other thing that got my attention was that I was feeling incredibly good, but the game still felt like part of something bigger that was happening.  I can tell that I wasn’t saying it then, but I was clearly expecting the Phillies to win the World Series that year.  

That’s what all the fans were expecting, if not in 2010, then certainly in 2011 when the Phillies dominated the entire regular season and Cliff Lee was back to ride shotgun.  Those two seasons ended in similar fashion.  In 2010, the Giants out-pitched the Phillies and Roy himself was bested and then injured. In 2011, Halladay started the final game of the season and lost 1-0 to Chris Carpenter.  Halladay gave up a leadoff triple in that game, the Cardinals went ahead 1-0 and that was the end of a 102-win season.  After that painful loss there was discussion about whether you could expect more of Roy than losing 1-0, and the answer from a lot of people was that you could–Halladay trained people to expect to be on the other side of that 1-0 final.  The Phillies didn’t have the best pitcher that night and Halladay was never the same.  

Ultimately, I will remember Halladay’s short tenure in Philadelphia as a time where things didn’t align, where bounces and fate turned the wrong way.  For me, he’s now in a category with Eric Lindros.  When the Flyers got Eric Lindros I expected they would win a Stanley Cup and I expected the Phillies to win a World Series with Roy Halladay. Halladay himself expected it, so how could you curb your own hopes?  Injury, bad timing, missed opportunities or any combination of factors can quickly derail expectations and the lack of titles produced by moves like acquiring  Halladay or Lindros is a reminder of just how many things have to go right to end a season with a championship.  Halladay ultimately came up empty, and while even the most cynical fan wouldn’t place much blame on Roy’s shoulders the bottom line was there was something missing.  

The lack of a title will somewhat cloud how Roy is remembered in Philadelphia.  After all, we’re just talking about two great seasons.  Had the Phillies won a title with Roy leading the way, he would have moved up alongside a player like Pete Rose, or maybe Tug McGraw.  Not homegrown, not a career Phillie, but forever put on the highest pedestal. Without the ring, Halladay’s memory will probably be dictated by how successful the Phillies are in the coming years, and perhaps by how Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels close out their careers.  Can Lee, who has always been equally beloved, get what eluded Halladay?  If Hamels were to win additional championships would he finally endear himself to the fan base?  

None of these pitchers is ever going to get to Steve Carlton, but as the memory of Carlton fades, who will be the pitcher who replaces him as the de facto ex-Phillies great?  We know now it won’t be Halladay and there’s some regret there, but never any regret for jumping in with all that optimism the day he came to Philadelphia.  His dominance was rare and will be missed.