I thought about it a lot. I mean a lot. Up to the day it happened I could not stop thinking about it. I was nervous, sure, but also very excited. This was going to be my first time. And going out on a limb I am going to say it was probably your first time as well. Maybe you weren’t as nervous or excited as I was, but you could feel it.
But you didn’t show it. You just went out there and acted like you had done it before. And let’s be honest, I knew you had. Yes, I am talking to you Roy Halladay. This wasn’t your first Opening Day. Hell this wasn’t even your first Opening Day on the road. It was, however, your first in a Phillies uniform.
We came from far and wide to see this game. I know I drove from Virginia Beach with 15 of my closest friends to watch this game. Phillies Nation brought bus loads of fans from Philly. We made Nationals Park a home game for our beloved Phillies. It was incredible. Even President Obama showed up to see Halladay in action. Well, that, and to throw out the opening pitch.
Oh right, the game. It was Opening Day in baseball; a day I have long petitioned for to be made into a national holiday. The build up to this day was excruciating. The Phillies went out and got the man they had been pining over since the 2009 trade deadline. Halladay came to the Phillies at the cost of Cliff Lee, a topic that was highly debated all season long. As we all know, those discussions are finally over.
Halladay did not disappoint. He worked beautifully through the Nationals line up going seven innings allowing one run on six hits while striking out nine.
This was Halladay’s eighth Opening Day start. The previous seven had all come while wearing a Blue Jays uniform. When asked about starting for the Phillies, Halladay said it was a lot different.
“It’s been fun for me. Nothing against Toronto, but it kind of gives you renewed energy coming over here. It’s a team that wants to win and can win.”
It was the first Opening Day for the Phillies in five years. Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco hit home runs. Polanco had three hits including a grand slam and six RBIs on the day while every Phillies starter had at least one hit. Halladay even had a hit and RBI. It was a great start to the season.
The PN tailgate festivities started the day off properly and Halladay finished it as only he knows how. With a win. His first in a Phillies uniform on his way to the Cy Young.
After the game MLB Commissioner Bud Selig attempted to make sense off the massive amounts of Phillies fan in DC for the game.
“I think it’s great for the sport, I really do,” he said. “There’s enormous interest, obviously, in Philadelphia and the fact that people travel as much as they do now. … It’s only a testament to this game’s popularity.”
Popularity for the game, yes. But Philly fans in general are about as passionate as anybody in the sports community.
Welcome to Philadelphia Roy Halladay.