Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Halladay vs. Burnett: The Game of the Year (so far)

There's no reason to hype this game any further than it has been already, but it's without question the most important game of the Jays' season up to this point.

The rest of the baseball world (and who are we kidding, most of Toronto as well) still isn't sold on this team being for real, but the opportunity to prove just that is at the Jays' door.

The subplot is of course what the media has hyped as a mentor-versus-student pitching matchup in Roy Halladay vs. A.J. Burnett.

I'm not sure what it says about Burnett that in his 11th year in the big leagues, he claims to have learned more from Halladay than anyone else (Brad Arnsberg is sobbing softly in a corner of the Jays clubhouse right now) given that he had seven successful (albeit injury-filled) season before coming to Toronto and meeting Halladay.

What this does confirm, however, is that anyone who actually knows pitching knows that Roy Halladay is the best pitcher in the American League, if not the majors. I've heard Derek Jeter and Joe Torre echo that sentiment every time the Yankees face
him (Doc is 15-5 with a sub-3 ERA and two shutouts vs. New York in his career, so they know all about how nasty he can be).

Meanwhile Burnett might need to pick Doc's brain a little more, as his numbers so far this year aren't exactly Halladay-esque; he's sporting an ERA well over 5 through six starts.

And if any team knows how A.J. pitches, it's the Jays.

The offense teeing off on Burnett combined with a vintage Doc performance will not only evoke a bunch of lame student-master Star Wars bullcrap moments, but also send a huge statement to the rest of the American League that the Jays aren't going anywhere.

The atmosphere at the Dome should be at its highest in years, and I look forward to witnessing that in person, even if it means paying an extra three bucks for upper deck seats for a "Premium" game (I'll be going to sit in more expensive seats like I do every game anyway; I consider buying a 500 level ticket to be General Admission).

Halladay and the red-hot Jays! Burnett and the hated Yankees! Scores of fairweather drunk Jays fans! Almost as many upstate-New York loudmouth drunk Yankees fans!

Not having to listen to Jamie Campbell undoubtedly kill the mood with his buffoonery!

First pitch 7:07 PM! Let's get it on!

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