As the Philadelphia media gathered in the visitor's clubhouse prior to the Phillies battle with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night, they were summoned to the dugout by Roy Halladay.
Halladay, who is scheduled for surgery to remove bone spurs and repair a frayed labrum and partially torn rotator cuff in his pitching shoulder next Wednesday, wished to get a number of things off his chest concerning his injuries and his decision to continue pitching, mostly ineffectively, through discomfort dating back to last season.
According to Ryan Lawrence of the Daily News, Halladay spoke uninterrupted for four minutes and delivered what he described as a heartfelt apology to the fans for his recent performance. He also apologized for his forthcoming absence from Philadelphia's rotation.
Here's an excerpt courtesy of Lawrence:
I've been thinking just the last couple of days. I just felt like I should address the fans. I know there is a lot of mixed opinions on pitching, not pitching, all that kind of stuff. I know there are people who are disappointed about how I pitched the last two years. I know there are a lot of people who are very supportive.
So, one, I just wanted to thank them for their support. And my heart goes out to all of the people who spend all of their money and go out to the games and don't get to see what they want to see. I know I'm not the whole team. There are still a lot of guys out there and it's a fun team to watch. But I feel bad that I'm missing the time that I am. I feel bad for the fans that I'm missing the time.
It's tough. You feel an obligation to the organization, to your teammates, to the fans to try to go out and pitch. Especially on a competitive team that sells out. For me, that was a big factor. If I'm playing for a last-place team and there's things going on, you maybe speak up. But we have a chance to go win a World Series and we have sellouts and fans have expectations. You want to do everything you can to try to make it work.
If you get the opportunity, we encourage you to check out Lawrence's entire piece. In it, Halladay offers further comments and also answered a number questions from the media regarding his injuries and his questionable decision to continue pitching.
Honestly, you have to applaud Halladay for taking a stand up approach and owning his decisions. He didn't have to take the time to explain himself or even apologize for anything he's done. We all know the type of competitor he is. We also know that often times that competitive nature can cloud an athlete's judgment. But he wasn't going to hide behind any of the possible excuses or spew forth any cliches.
He was honest, and it was refreshing.
Halladay genuinely feels terrible about how the scenario has played out not only for himself, but for the organization he plays for and the fans who support him. There's no doubt his coaches and teammates will forgive him (and probably already have). That's not even a question. Now it's up to the fans to forgive him as well. One can only hope that's as for them as it was for Halladay to take responsibility. He deserves that benefit.