It has been a difficult week for Phillies fans, the baseball community as a whole, and anyone who discovered the horrifying news of Roy Halladay's death. The author of two no-hitters in 2010 touched the lives of people in a way that unfortunately only really uncovers itself in the wake of such a tragedy. Countless writers have shared their thoughts on the career and life of the man known as "Doc."
This will not be one of those such posts. The focus here is on the family of Harry Leroy Halladay. His wife Brandy lost her husband. His two sons, Ryan and Braden, lost their father before they truly got to know him. Roy was just 40.
I hoped in the subsequent days following the crash that we would discover evidence that Halladay miscalculated a dive, a sudden burst of wind caught him by surprise, or he spilled hot coffee on himself and lost control of his aircraft. Something, anything, that would explain away the accident as just that, an an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly.
The truth, unfortunately, was quite to the contrary. TMZ, in the interest of serving nothing but their own interests, shared a video taken by boaters who recorded Halladay’s plane performing dangerous stunts and flying much closer to the water than the recommended minimum of 300 feet.
One eyewitness wondered out loud for TMZ whether Halladay had been “showboating.” Another said, “That can’t be legal.”
Michael Felger, a Boston radio host, also shared his thoughts. “It angers me. Someone, who, I don’t know, is so cavalier about life and just doesn’t appreciate the tenuousness of life and is willing to screw around with life and death? Especially when you have children, or a family?”
Felger, an obvious attention hog, did not stop there, continuing to chastise the two-time Cy Young award winner in the most callous way possible.
“It’s fair to question Roy’s responsibility there," local radio host Glen Macnow said. "But the mocking, taunting, insensitive nature of Felger’s comments – including sound effects — was horribly offensive.”
Aside from the actual death itself, perhaps the most haunting aspect of the disaster is that Felger's initial comment has some merit.
As if the Halladay family didn't have enough to deal with as they grieve for their fallen hero, they now have an added layer of emotion to wrestle with. Why did Halladay act with such recklessness? How can a man whose legendary preparation surpassed even that of Chase Utley allow such an avoidable situation to occur? Why would such a devoted father and husband put himself in such a tragically dangerous position?
The answers to those questions are not for us to decide. It is just such a sad and unfortunate reality, considering how devoted he was as a father and a husband, and how considerate he was to the feelings of all of those around him. We learned how much through several anecdotes during the week. How he forced Joe Blanton to be included in pictures of the 2011 Phillies starting rotation. How, after pitching a perfect game in 2010, he bought about 60 watches for teammates, coaches, clubhouse attendants and even the batboys, with a plaque that read, "Couldn't have done it without you. Thanks." Those are just two of his many examples of selflessness.
My hope is that his family is able to ignore Halladay's grave mistake, realizing that it was no different than a hanging breaking ball in a key moment. Just like you can't take back a bad pitch, Roy Halladay cannot take back that flight.
May he rest in peace, and may his family have the chance to live in peace.comments powered by Disqus