With Roy Halladay landing on the DL (and in general looking very un-Doc-like), I am reminded some (now many) weeks ago when Curt Schilling streamed a commentary on a very disappointing Halladay Spring Training start. His concluding, and definitive, tweet is below:
“@gehrig38: Halladay threw 81 pitches and induced the Blue Jays to swing and miss only three of them that’s when I knew things had changed for me…..”
You can say a lot of things about Schilling, on the full spectrum of love and hate. Personally, I like the guy (his sports views, at least). One thing everyone can agree on with Lord Bloodied Sock is that he rarely pulls punches. Schilling speaks to what he sees, and he saw Halladay’s dominance slipping away before his eyes. As Schill points out, he would know. So I trust his assessment completely…
…That’s a lie. I refused to believe Curt Schilling. I have been a Roy Halladay fan since I first really dove into baseball. Truthfully, I’ve been a fan since I got a whollllle bunch of his rookie cards in the thousands and thousands of Topps cards I bought:
What did I expect to happen? Did I really expect Doc to throw 220 WHIP-of-one innings a year until he was 45? Maybe a little bit. I ignored Schilling for a while, drafting Halladay late in Mock Drafts over and over, assuming I was cleverly weeding out how long I could wait before snatching up a great fantasy value and, more importantly, a staple of my teams & fandom.
But as then the drafts approached a funny thing happened: I had a big-picture change of perspective. This certainly had something to do with the Patriot’s handling of the beloved Wes Welker (and in a larger sense, a realization that they truly stuck to their ‘better a year too early than too late’ principles). On top of this serendipitous timing, though, was a realization of something sort of horrible – it’s actually been quite a while since I was a kid.
I mean in no way that I am an old fogie. While I do love shuffleboard, I will refuse to use the saying ‘in my day…’ until I have truly earned it. What I mean is – it’s been a long time, in sports and fantasy terms, since the late 90’s/early 2000’s (my sports coming-of-age time). My favorites are aging. Their name often carries more weight than their bat or arm. Such is life.
So this raises the question – when do you give up on a proven warrior for you? For example, just how long can Lance Berkman be your binky? The easy answer there, for me, up until he went to the Yankees.
I have been pondering this all season. Another example; It makes sense for the Rangers to move on from Mike Young, as hard as it may have been. They have young players coming up to fill his spot in the next 2-3 years and, in the Rangers’ mind, he was no longer a cost-efficient part of their equation. For us fantasy owners? I sure as hell was not giving up on a 200-hit guy – especially on the cheap. But for every Mike Young redemption, there are two more aging favorites falling off the map.
Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Sometimes an elder statesman finds a second wind (with assistance or otherwise, Mr. Ortiz). Sometimes, as in the case of Doc Halladay, age brings a tearing at the seams.
I settled on this: Loyalty in fantasy baseball is admirable. I will hold on to an aging favorite, squeezing every last drop of productivity out of their skills until the crap out and I drop them. Loyalty in ‘real’ baseball, and in sports-business in general, is misplaced. Derek Jeter ought to be a Yankee for life – he means more than just his numbers to an entire city. But for most players, in most sports, someone like Roy Halladay, the hardest part (for both us as fans, and for the declining player) is often letting go.
Now that you are sufficiently sad about your aging favorites getting worse, I recommend that Bolton jam at the top of the page and some Ben & Jerry’s.