TORONTO -- I'm on the scene at Rogers Centre for a game I've had circled in my mind for two years. It's the return of Roy Halladay to Toronto to meet the Blue Jays as the Phillies are in town for a 1:07 first pitch. This was, remember, supposed to happen last year but the teams' interleague series had to be moved to Philly because the G-20 Summit was in Toronto and the ballpark was within the security perimeter.
So MLB, in a wise move, granted the Jays' wish of a rematch series against the Phils. To top it off, they gave it to them on a holiday weekend. So more than 45,000 packed the park on Canada Day for yesterday's 7-6 Phillies win and a similar throng should be in the house today.
Halladay got a huge ovation (see the MLB.com video here) and doffed his cap as he took the lineup card to home plate yesterday. There was a video tribute and the whole thing was done at the Blue Jays' request. He should get plenty of rousing cheers again today. While many ex-Jays have heard it here when they returned, Halladay was a beloved figure and almost no one blamed him for asking out in 2009 to try to get on a winner.
Halladay went 21-10 for the Phillies last year and then, of course, threw his playoff no-hitter against the Reds. He's 10-3 with a 2.40 ERA this season.
In the National Post, Jays pitcher Ricky Romero said, "He was the face of this franchise for such a long time,” Romero said. “He deserved a standing ovation. But as of [Saturday] I think he’s our enemy."
In the Toronto Star, veteran columnist Richard Griffin tells fans they should definitely stand and cheer when Halladay takes the mound.
In the Toronto Sun, Hall of Famer-to-be Bob Elliott has a neat read on several folks earliest recollections of Halladay.
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