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The heartwarming saga of "The Christmas Pitcher"

Everybody's trying to come up with Christmas analogies for the Roy Halladay deal -- you know, "Halladay," get it?, plus it's that most wonderful time of year, plus most importantly there's that whole issue of whether Santa Amaro Jr. delivered what you really wanted under the tree. I was going to suggest that getting Halladay but giving up Cliff Lee plus some highly valued prospects like Kyle Drabeck was a bit like asking for an iPod and getting a Zune ("Hey, it still plays music, son, right?"...) but then I realized that's not really it, either; it's more like you got the iPod but Dad had to sell your satellite radio to pay for it.

The mood among the fans I talk to is weird -- people are trying to be enthusiastic about Halladay after wanting him for so long, but giving up Lee in particular has left a bitter taste. Baseball fans are 100 percent invested in winning but 0 percent invested in whether the team makes a profit or loses money; everyone I know says, "Can't you spend $9 million for just one year to win a World Series?!!!" Sounds reasonable to me, but then I'm not a millionaire baseball-team owner so what do I know?

(Isn't being a baseball fan like having one of those Cadillac health insurance plans; expecting every test and procedure and never seeing a bill? Actually, what if Dave Montgomery and Co. had asked every fan to play a $3 Cliff Lee surcharge on every ticket -- would that have worked?)

I do think there are elements of the so-called "11-dimensional chess" that rabid Barack Obama supporters claim the president is playing on health care -- trust me, he isn't -- in the Phillies' thinking. Remember, if Halladay were not in a Phillies' uniform, they might either a) Be facing him in the 2010 World Series or b) face him in the National League East, if an increasingly desperate New York Mets were willing to up the ante. Then there's the Phillies' World Series rotation, which everyone is so fixated on (ignoring the fact that the Phils enter the regular season with no No. 5 starter). Yes, it would have been amazing to send Halladay and Lee out there for Games 1 and 2. On the other hand, Lee does not seemingly have the ability to pitch well on three days rest -- and Halladay does. So the best pitcher in baseball would be starting Games 1, 4, and if (hopefully not) necessary, Game 7.

I can live with that. Can you?

Happy H....oh, nevermind.