Elective Surgery

[from Ghostrunner on First, April 24, 2009]

Toronto baseball needs an enemy.

I decided this today as I watched a bunch of drunken jackass fans of the other, lesser Chicago team stumble onto the subway. I seared with rage as their crooked hats and backwards lifestyles polluted my trip home with their obscene clothing touting false messiahs past and future. I looked on in disgust at their cuddly little logos and laughably weak ideas of what baseball is about.

And in these moments of nonsensical, misplaced rage, I smiled.

As a White Sox fan, I know what it’s like to truly hate a team. Not just actively dislike, much like most people do with regards to the Yankees and Red Sox, but actually hate with true passion. A team whose failure brings joy to those working against them; a team whose good fortune makes the day a little less bright. We Sox fans have many such teams, but we are also an especially hateful lot. Such is life.

I know, Jays fans, that you have reason to frown upon at least four other teams out there, but where is the searing, deep-seeded feud with fans of those clubs? Where are the shankings of visiting Orioles backers? Why don’t we hear more people in New York say “Oh no, I’m not going back to Toronto after what happened last time”?

So what I’d like to do, Jays fans, is declare war. In the interest of enhancing baseball for you and I both, I’d like to offer up the Chicago White Sox as a sworn enemy of those Queen City ballplayers.

But I won’t, not just yet, and with good reason. Actually, just one good reason: I am scared to death of Roy Halladay.

It’s not a numbers thing, as the Sox and Halladay have some fairly pedestrian numbers against each other, but more a product of the Legend of Roy Halladay. To the Jays fan, he’s just your run-of-the-mill, once-in-a-lifetime talent, but in the context of everywhere else in the world, the myth always surpasses the man.

“Hey, did you hear about that guy in Canada?”

“What guy?”

“Some dude. They call him Doc. Dude once threw two complete games at the same time for two different teams. In two different parks. In two different cities.”

The discussion always goes that if Halladay pitched for any of the glamour teams, he’d be the most famous arm in the game, and that’s probably true. But what no one ever points out is how cool it is that Halladay pitches in relative obscurity, or at least whatever obscurity a five-time All-Star and Cy Young winner starring in a city of four million can lay claim to.

Obviously this is not a knock on the fair city of Toronto, certainly not a small place and not even a fraction the backwater hellhole certain other American League cities have come to be. (New York, Los Angeles, I’m talking to you.) But it’s Canada all the same, meaning most American sports media outlets just assume “baseball” is coincidentally the Canadian word for “hockey.” So now you’ve got this fantastic pitcher, already capable of such greatness, plying his trade away from the bright lights of Anywhere Else and instead shrouded in this layer of awesome mystery. By the time the news-wires and horseback messengers reach us with word of his magical accomplishments, an average six-inning, four strikeout evening has grown into twelve innings of two-hit ball.

So instead, I propose a compromise: trade Roy Halladay, and we will hate you with open arms. You get a much-needed rival, we dodge a much-feared savage beating at the hands of No. 32.

Better yet, trade him to the White Sox. You get a boatload of decent prospects, we get the true ace we’re lacking and Halladay gets to take his right-armed savagery to the masses. The way I see it, everyone wins.

Until then, well, I hope you get a good chuckle out of the fact that the elderly, wounded Jose Contreras is scheduled to start opposite the Good Doctor. I look forward to headlines of “Outgunned,” “Pass the Anesthesia” and “The Doctor Will Kill You Now.”