Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Midsummer Classic More than Just Good Baseball

Lastnight’s All Star Game between the American and National baseball leagues as been long thought of as a showcase of the best players from both leagues.

Players and fans vote for their choices as to who gets to play ball. But aside from popularity contests, the winner or even the loser, last night’s ball game was about something more.

America’s first black president, Barack Obama threw out the ceremonial first pitch – and he didn’t do all that shabby for – as he often refers to himself – a “southpaw.”

TORONTO - APRIL 6:  Roy Halladay #32 the Toron...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Despite all the media hype surrounding the lead up to the game, including Monday night’s batting contest, the announcement of the starting line-up, and even having President Obama open the game with his lefty-arm, the real story from last night’s All Star Game was about one lone player.

Toronto Blue Jay Pitcher Roy Halladay was the starting pitcher for last night’s game. This was his sixth All Star Game, but his first as a starting pitcher, which really put the pressure on the potential Cy Young candidate.

Putting even more pressure on Halladay, perhaps was Halladay himself – not just because he was the first pitcher to toss out a ball for the American League, which traditionally wins these matches (the American League has won 11 of the last 12 All Star Games), but also to sell himself to his future team.

DETROIT - APRIL 02:  Starting pitcher Roy Hall...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Trade winds are blowing across the baseball diamond, and Roy Halladay’s name is top on the cards of all those placing bets. When asked at a press conference prior to the All Star Game what he thought his chances of being traded out of the Toronto Blue Jays franchise, Halladay estimated it was “50-50.”

The Toronto right-hander told a gaggle of reporters prior to the All Star Game that his team just doesn’t have what it takes to win.

“I think as a player, there’s that will to win, that will to do it in October and basically that’s what all of this has been about,” he said. “I would like that chance, I’m not saying it won’t be Toronto. You’d like to be three games up in first place and not have to deal with it.”

Halladay’s comments hint that the Toronto team just isn’t in a winning mood and that may be what is costing them wins. As of the All Star Game, the Toronto Blue Jays were in fourth place in the American League, and just came off of their second worst away trip, losing 12 of their last 15 games on the road.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Toronto this year. For the first two months of the season, the Toronto Blue Jays were number one in not just the American League, but taking their statistics into consideration, they were the best team in all of baseball.

Injuries sidelined a number of their staff, including another ace pitcher – B.J. Ryan. Ryan was let go by the Blue Jays prior to the All Star Game, simply because he wasn’t playing like he used to before all of his injuries.

But unlike Ryan, the ball is in Halladay’s glove – he is the one who will have to vet through all the possible offers, and see if Toronto is the place he’ll remain.

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