When Roy Halladay was struggling through a less-than-stellar spring training last year, everyone was worried. His velocity was down, he wasn’t locating his pitches, and he was getting hammered on a daily basis.
It was a helluva Joe Blanton impersonation.
Of course, everyone in the media and all the Phils fans around the universe who was so worried, were clearly a bunch of morons. We were all Chicken Little, ranting and raving like a bunch of crazed loons, screaming that the sky was falling. We were idiots to be concerned about Halladay’s fastball being 2 to 3 miles per hour slower than normal and about him getting rocked by a bunch of players who would be lucky to make their team’s AAA roster.
“People can say whatever,” pitching coach Rich Dubee said last March. “We’re talking about a guy who is 188-92 in his career. He should have won 20 last year. He pitched to one of his lowest ERAs last year. What’s the panic? It’s what spring training is about. That’s Roy Halladay right there. What, six innings and 72 pitches? Maybe a couple of misfires here and there? Cutter was accelerating through the strike zone again. Sinker was going the other way. Split was back. Everything was in place.”
Seriously, what’s with all the panic, guys? Why are you all being a bunch of alarmists? Just shut up and don’t question anything you see here, we’ve got this!
Of course, as it turns out, everyone was right to be alarmed.
Fast forward to Tuesday, when Halladay got blasted by a Detroit Tigers team filled with scrubs, throwing a fastball that topped out at 88 mph and consistently sat at 84 to 86 mph. His cutter wasn’t working and Roy couldn’t locate the plate with a tour guide, a magnifying glass and a Google maps app.
Naturally, everyone was concerned we were witnessing a repeat of last spring, that Halladay was hurting, and that no one was telling us about it. Again.
Thankfully, here comes Dubee, the man who lied through his teeth to the public last year, to once again to allay our fears.
“He’s fine,” Dubee said yesterday. “He is not having any physical problems this year. Any. Arm. Back. Legs. Nothing.”
So, according to the always trustworthy Phils pitching coach, THERE IS NO PROBLEM WITH ANYTHING ON ROY HALLADAY’S PERSON AND YOU SHOULD JUST SHUT UP ABOUT IT ALREADY, STAT GEEK!”
Of course, there is that little thing about being told he was fine last year, only to find out Dubee and the Phils knew there were physical problems with Doc and were hiding them from the public.
You know, the lying and everything.
“He had issues last year,” Dubee said. “He had issues. He can’t make it public. Why should he? You guys don’t need to know everything, first of all. This guy didn’t want anybody to know he was banged up last year.”
See? It’s all OUR fault. We want to know too damn much. We want to know why a pitcher making $20 million a year, a pitcher who is maybe the best pitcher in baseball, a pitcher who is being relied on to be a Cy Young candidate, is suddenly doing a Kyle Kendrick impersonation.
That’s right, WE’RE to blame. Gotcha.
So, given Dubee’s previous reluctance to share truthful information, why should we trust anything he has to say now?
Frankly, he doesn’t give a crap if you do or not.
“You can believe what you want,” Dubee said. “I’m telling you what I knew last year and what I know this year. He felt obligated to take the ball. This is a special guy, you know? And he tried to pitch through some stuff last year. Right now at this point this year he feels fantastic physically.”
When asked again later why anyone should believe anything that comes out of Dubee’s mouth, the pitching coach again blamed the media, saying…
“You can throw any red flag you want up there.”
Dubee swears Halladay is not hurting now.
“Last year I had more concerns. … I’m not going to come out here and say the guy can’t do this or can’t do that. Why would I? This year, going off what he’s been telling me, physically, talking to him, seeing him, yes, physically he is fine.”
Some people don’t care if you trust them or not. Some people don’t care if their word is damaged or if their reputation is sullied.
Rich Dubee apparently doesn’t care if you believe anything he says.
And you know what? That’s fine. If the Phillies and Dubee want to cover up an injury, there are no rules in baseball that forbid them from doing that. In the NFL, there are rules against hiding or exaggerating injuries in weekly injury reports. But there is nothing like that in baseball.
If Halladay truly is hurting, Dubee is under no obligation to tell us he is. The only thing at stake for him is his word.
For most of us, our word is very important. Our word is our bond.
Dubee does not feel the same way, and that is his prerogative.
Still, what was gained from not being honest with the media last year? No one would have thought less of Halladay had the Phils revealed he was dealing with an injury. No one would have thought less of the coaching staff if they had been up front and honest.
As in most cases, the cover-up is often far worse than the crime.
The unfortunate thing is, given Dubee’s history, no one can trust anything he has to say now. He has no credibility left. We’re just going to have to watch ‘ol Roy go out there and take the mound and judge for ourselves whether or not something is amiss.
And honestly, it doesn’t matter if Halladay is hurt, merely past his prime, or finished as an effective starter altogether.
The radar guns and results on the field don’t lie. He’s going to be what he’s going to be.
We don’t need Rich Dubee to tell us when opposing hitters are lining baseballs all over the park, and we don’t need Rich Dubee to tell us when balls are flying out of the park at a rate unusual for Roy Halladay.
Maybe all truly is well physically with Roy. Maybe it isn’t. But one thing is for sure.
We can’t trust anything that comes out of the mouth of Rich Dubee.
Not that he cares.