Today was Halladay's scheduled day to start and, since the Phillies had an off day and in order to keep him on a regular schedule, Halladay pitched in our AAA game at the minor league complex. This fact did not go unnoticed in our clubhouse, heck, it was even posted on our practice plan. "All non-throwing pitchers report to Ashburn field at 1pm to watch Roy Halladay" (which was spelled Halliday, and whoever was responsible for that should be fired). So the whole day, if you weren't playing in a game, was dedicated to watching the reigning Cy Young award winner.
Access to Halladay couldn't have been better. I stood about three feet away from him as he warmed up in the bullpen before the game. And during the game I had a front row seat right behind home plate for all of his 80 pitches. If there was something to pick up on, something to notice about the way he went about his business I was in perfect position to see it. So what did I learn? What did I see? What does Halladay do that raises him above the rest? Well, nothing. And when I say nothing I don't really mean nothing, I mean nothing special. There are no secret tricks of the trade or any unique rituals that elevate his game. But, just because I didn't notice anything different doesn't mean I didn't learn anything. I think the biggest thing that I can take away from today is that you don't have to be a freak to be a big leaguer. I mean, we are talking about the best pitcher in the business and nothing he did today 75 % of the players in camp can't do right now. It is just that he does it consistently. He has worked his whole life honing his craft and perfecting it to enable him to perform at his best as often as possible. I've heard it many times in my life, "The difference between the major leagues and the minor leagues is consistency." I never quite understood it till today.
So I come away from this experience more confident and motivated. I feel like there is no reason that some day I cannot become Roy Halladay. Am I naive to think that? Maybe. But I don't think so, and that's what counts.