Welcome to “The Big Three-Oh!” I’m turning 30 at the end of July and to celebrate, I am counting down my best/favorite sports moments in my lifetime. If you missed the kickoff post, check it out for the background for the series. We’re starting to get into the moments that include my teams today and I cannot wait to get started talking about this one…
#22 — Roy Halladay’s Playoff No-Hitter
In his first playoff start, Roy Halladay tossed a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds. I remember sitting in my sophomore year apartment watching this game from start to end on the edge of my seat. The acquisition of Halladay the previous winter had me incredibly pumped up. The cost of Cliff Lee going to Seattle and a number of prospects going to Toronto, the Phillies acquired one of the most dominant pitchers the 2000s saw. I also remember defending the move as Cliff Lee had quickly become a fan favorite in 2009 and people were sorry to see him go. Those probably didn’t watch too much of Halladay because of him playing Toronto, not only the opposite league but also the fact that the Blue Jays just didn’t get that much spotlight anyway.
Back to the no-hitter itself, Halladay mowed down a Reds lineup that actually faired decently well in the 2010 season. At first glance, Cincy’s lineup scored more runs than the Phillies did but pitching was ultimately the difference-maker. Halladay himself won 21 games, including a perfect game in Miami against the then-Florida Marlins, en route to the NL Cy Young Award. Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins were both vacuums up the middle and Halladay had every pitch locked in. Carlos Ruiz ultimately made the final play while nearly over-running the ball, and Doctober was officially in effect. The Reds were seemingly knocked out after Game 1 and the Phillies won the series in a three-game sweep.
So now, why only 22nd? Well simply, the 2010 Phillies didn’t win the World Series. The next round, a six-game loss to the Giants, was the reverse effect. Halladay and the Phillies lost a tight Game 1 at Citizens Bank Park where they only had four at-bats with runners in scoring position. While the bats came to life in Game 2, the Giants had the advantage going back to San Francisco both by taking home-field advantage and having the hottest bat, Cody Ross, and a dominant 1-2 bullpen punch in Sergio Romo and Brian Wilson. Watching that ultimately win the World Series was, admittedly, great considering how fun they were to watch in the NLDS and World Series, but it still stung. When I look back on Halladay’s no-hitter, it was an incredible night certainly deserving of a spot on this list, and it is a great lasting memory on a life cut tragically short. The fact remains that they fell short losing heartbreaking games that taint the memory.
Today’s Instagram Athlete
Nine years ago to count down the days until my 21st birthday, I posted a picture of athletes wearing the cooresponding number of day left to Facebook. While I did not have an Instagram account back in 2011, I have one now so I’ll be revisiting this idea in conjuncture with Top 30 Sports Moments. FOLLOW MY INSTAGRAM SO YOU DON’T MISS IT
Clayton Kershaw comes in at #22. One of my favorite pitchers in the Bigs, Kershaw has been a staple of the league since his debut in the late 2000s. I happened to see his first professional win in 2008 at Dodger Stadium so the memory of that certainly boosts his rating in my book. For those that are thinking it, the irony of me pairing Kershaw with a dominant playoff pitching performance is not lost.Follow @geordo9