On a cold, rainy night in Atlanta, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay was a reflection of the weather. He was miserable.
His face said it all. Here was a man who looked somber, pensive and highly irritated. If the pitching mound had suddenly sprouted legs, it would have run the other way.
Halladay’s approach to the infield hill had always been assured, steady and determined. However, on this night, his stride to the mound was menacingly slow and painfully deliberate.
This was not a man having fun, not even close.
The game became almost secondary to Halladay’s struggles, as the Atlanta Braves put it away relatively early and cruised to a 9-2 win. Halladay lasted only 3 1/3 innings, gave up five runs, including two home runs and struck out nine.
Most assuredly, the Phillies’ coaching staff will search for positives in Halladay’s performance and will point to the impressive strike out total. They will say things like his “mechanics” were sound and his velocity, although not stellar, was within an effective range.
What they won’t say is that Halladay’s demeanor has degenerated from one of confident, quiet leadership to that of someone likely to kick the cat and yell at the kids when he returns home from work.
He’s angry and it shows. It appears that nothing suits him.
Rather than focus on the location of his pitches he glared at the dirt wedged into his spikes. Instead of reaching inside himself for strength and poise, he not-so-subtly disagreed with the umpire’s calls.
Frankly, he acted like a spoiled child who doesn’t get everything they want, or think they deserve. It’s an act that grows old quickly.
Halladay has been blessed with special physical talents that have vaulted him to the pinnacle of the professional baseball world. Let’s hope we soon see the return of his pitching prowess and the winner’s attitude that took him to the top.
Without him, the Phillies rotation is a lot less formidable.