When Roy Halladay left the Toronto Blue Jays for Philadelphia as part of a four-team trade in the off-season, it came as a surprise to no one. For the entire 2009 MLB season there had been speculation and rumors that "Doc" was on his way out.
It also wasn't new for a high-priced athlete to want out of a Canadian market for one south of the border.
The Toronto Raptors of the NBA have had plenty of disgruntled players request trades since their inception in 1995. Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, and more recently Chris Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu have all left Toronto basketball fans with sour tastes in their mouths.
Chris Pronger (NHL) and Steve Francis (NBA) - who was drafted by the Vancouver Grizzlies but never even played a game for the franchise - are two more examples of players who get or have gotten booed in their old Canadian stomping grounds.
This is where the case of Halladay differs. The six-foot-six, 230 pound hurler spent twelve seasons with the Jays before eventually seeking a trade to a winning team. Halladay, who was the Jays' first round draft pick in 1995, was the club's franchise player and an absolute workhorse throughout his tenure there.
He has been described as "great, team first guy" and "excellent teammate." He won a Cy Young award as the American League's best pitcher, and was a six-time all-star while with Toronto. While his personal accolades were adding up, team success eluded Halladay and the Blue Jays.
It is for those reasons that, for the most part, fans all across Canada understood when Halladay requested to be dealt to a playoff-bound franchise. Some even went as far as to say he "deserved it." While I don't quite buy into that belief, I do feel that Doc did all he could for the Blue Jays over his time in Toronto, and that they did the right thing in granting him his wish.
If there is such a thing as good karma, Roy Halladay has a boatload of it. He went 21-10, with nine complete games this year, and struck-out 219 batters with a 2.44 ERA. He's in line to win his second Cy Young this year, and just the other day he pitched only the second no-hitter in MLB post-season history in his first ever post-season appearance.
Maybe it's karma. Or maybe it's the fact that Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball, and he finally has a winning team behind him.