Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay has been named the Sporting News pro athlete of the year, the magazine announced today.
"I might someday forget the details of the perfect game, the playoff no-hitter and any other individual moment," Halladay says, "but never the camaraderie that we had. I include the fans of Philadelphia in that, too. The people who surrounded me throughout the season were integral parts of my five favorite moments from the best year of my baseball life."
About the playoff no-hitter against the Reds, Halladay said: I didn't throw for six or seven days between my last start of the regular season and the postseason opener, which drove me kind of crazy. I knew there was going to be a lot of talk about how I would do in the postseason, and I had to do my best to not let that be a distraction. I went into total isolation mode. I started reminding myself of all my mental and mechanical keys. I didn't remember anything my wife said for two days leading up to the game.
But I sure remember that walk to the Reds' Jay Bruce with two outs in the fifth inning. That said, it's not like I was thinking about a no-hitter, let alone a perfect game, at that point. In the seventh inning, Joey Votto stepped out of the batter's box before back-to-back pitches—that's when I realized that not only was I feeling good but the Reds were feeling they needed to try to change something to knock me off that post, so to speak.
For a pitcher, that's a great feeling. The no-hitter became more possible because I was so intent on getting each guy out to get that much closer to a 1-0 series lead.
About his perfect game in Miami: Warming up in Miami, I could tell I had good stuff, but in the first inning my location wasn't sharp—I had 3-ball counts on leadoff man Chris Coghlan and No. 3 hitter Hanley Ramirez. I had to get guys out with strikes rather than expand the zone and make them chase, which is how I typically like to pitch.
In the third inning, I was aware that I hadn't allowed a baserunner. Earlier than you'd think, right? But it wasn't until the seventh that I started to think something special could happen, and it wasn't until two outs in the ninth that I didn't feel there was still a long way to go.
I felt pretty collected through the whole game; even after the last out happened, there was an odd feeling of being a spectator as my teammates began to celebrate. But I let the intensity go once I saw Carlos Ruiz's and Ryan Howard's faces—they were so excited, how could I not enjoy the moment?