Last year, when the Phillies were awful I wrote about how the team resembled a dying dog:
You know how you have that aunt and uncle that you see maybe, like, three or four times a year? You probably go over to their house for the Fourth of July, birthdays, and maybe Thanksgiving or Christmas, depending on the year.
You know how they have a dog? And whenever you go there, you play with the dog, and you are like, “Hey, Rover, go fetch!” And, usually, you play with the dog in order to avoid repeatedly talking about the same awkward bullshit with your extended family members.
For instance, you may say something like:
“Yeah, I know, Uncle Jack. Andy Reid will never win a Super Bowl because he doesn’t know how to use a timeout. You’re totally right. Yup, he’s fat, too. I know. Yeah.”
Or maybe the subject will be about your personal life:
“Yeah, we’re still dating. Uh huh, yeah, I don’t know how she puts up with it me either.”
Then you let out a real loud and obnoxious laugh and add, “Probably because of my monster cock.” And then you all go in for the fist pound and everyone leaves you out to dry. Fuckers.
Anyway, you never see this day coming, but you go over to your Uncle Jack’s house for your usual family bullshit and slip off to play with old Rover. And suddenly it hits you–this dog is old as fuck.
He’s throwing up shit and wheezing and walks with a limp. And it’s depressing. And you’re all like, “Okay, Rover. We’ll chill. I’ll just sit here and pet you.” And that would be just fine, but even that doesn’t even work because the dog has all these weird lumps and shit underneath its coat. And you don’t want to touch the dog anymore because his skin flakes on you. It’s fucking depressing and sad. And despite how much everyone likes the dog, it’s obviously time for the vet to put the little fucker down.
I mention this because it’s pretty much where we’re at with Roy Halladay right now. I love the guy and respect the hell out of him. I don’t want his best days to be behind him. I don’t want to believe last year’s drop in velocity was all about his shoulder injury–that he will bounce back and regain the form as one of the game’s top pitchers. Or at least a guy capable of piecing together 15 wins on pure balls. And maybe he will. But I see 85 on the gun, no command of a once devastating cutter, and a guy who sounds like he’s trying to fool himself into believing he’s still great, throwing out excuses about being “lethargic” and shit. But knows deep down you have to wonder if he knows it’s over.