Smith blog: Thank you, Roy Halladay

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Photo - ILE - In this Oct. 6, 2010, file photo, Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay celebrates with catcher Carlos Ruiz (51) after throwing a no-hitter to defeat the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 during Game 1 of baseball's National League Division Series, in Philadelphia. Authorities have confirmed that former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay died in a small plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (Jose F. Moreno/Camden Courier-Post via AP, File)
ILE - In this Oct. 6, 2010, file photo, Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay celebrates with catcher Carlos Ruiz (51) after throwing a no-hitter to defeat the Cincinnati Reds 4-0 during Game 1 of baseball's National League Division Series, in Philadelphia. Authorities have confirmed that former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay died in a small plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. (Jose F. Moreno/Camden Courier-Post via AP, File)

I grew up watching the Phillies with my grandmother. She was infatuated with Tug McGraw and remembered the 1980 World Series like it was yesterday. She had his autograph on a crumbling little league poster framed, and hung above her bed.

And although I hadn’t been born when he registered that final out in 1980, I knew the immensity of his loss in 2004 because of what she taught me about baseball, and what it means to be a Phillies fan.

Today we mourn the loss of another Phillies pitcher who meant more to the city than words can describe.

Roy Halladay, who got his start on the diamond at Arvada West High School in Denver, was, for a lack of a better term, our hero.

Even though he spent a short time in Philadelphia, he changed our city.

I was never happier to be a Phillies fan than when he was on the mound. He had this sort of calming affect on fans, because when he was out there, nothing could really go wrong.
A majority of my memories from my freshman year of college are from watching that 2010 season unfold with my roommates.

I moved into my freshman apartment wearing my Roy Halladay jersey. I remember skipping class to watch Halladay’s no-hitter on my friend’s couch. And the night he was announced the winner of the 2010 Cy Young.

And I remember a year later watching him in one of the greatest rotations ever, alongside Cliff Lee - my grandmother’s other favorite Phillie - Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.

It was a great time to be a Phillies fan - despite playoff heartbreak - and it was all because of Doc.

I’m often asked how I can be so enamored with baseball, a sport that receives so much criticism for being ‘boring’. But the answer is simple -- Roy Halladay.

He made you fall in love with the game over, and over again. His devotion, drive, and pure fire on the mound was intoxicating. He was on another level, and he brought the game up with him.

Thank you, Doc. Rest in Peace.