What Roy Halladay Owes Philadelphia

What Roy Halladay Owes Philadelphia

The Sunday before last, Roy Halladay gave up nine runs in 2 and 1/3 innings to the awful Miami Marlins, bringing his ERA for the season to 8.65. After the game, Halladay admitted that his shoulder had been bothering him for awhile. Following a visit a few days later to Dr. Lewis Yocum -- because clearly, the Phils were too cheap to spring for Dr. James Andrews -- it was determined that the pitcher needed surgery, which will keep him out for several months.

While it's commendable that Halladay kept pitching through the pain -- and I'd have bashed him if he'd pulled a Bynum and sat out -- there's no excuse for going out there when you're not able to pitch effectively. Especially when the pitcher had to have known there was a terrible traffic jam outside, and a whole lot of fans -- Angelo Cataldi included arrived at the game with the Phils already losing 9-0.

Halladay also said there's "no timetable" for his return. Sound familiar, Sixers fans?

It's a repeat of last spring with Chase Utley: Halladay lied to the team, the team lied to Halladay, and both Halladay and the team lied to the fans. None of this would happen if the Phils would simply release every player's full and complete medical records, but then I guess they don't trust us lowly fans with such information.

All of this was bad enough, but then Halladay did the unthinkable: He apologized:

“You know, I don’t know,” he said. “I really want to get through this, come back and see how strong I can be and see how effective I can be, and see if I can help us. … I’m not going to make any decisions right now about down the road. I’m going to focus on the here and now and this process.

“I’ve always told you guys I love Philadelphia, love playing here. It’s a great place to be. But there’s a lot to be determined. I want to be effective. And I want to be a part of the team. I don’t want to be a hindrance.”

It's that second part that gets me. Because when Halladay was asked about his contract and refused to commit to staying with the Phillies on a hometown discount, I lost a lot of respect for him.

Roy Halladay and Philadelphia have a bond. Because of that, Roy should give the Phillies a break.

There's one way Halladay can make it up to us. He should announce, today, that as soon as he's done rehabbing and able to pitch again, he'll do it for a year, for the Phillies, for free. After all, Halladay's getting $20 million this year to barely pitch, so pitching next year for free would only be fair. After all that's happened since Halladay came to Philly -- two no-hitters in one year, two playoff appearances, three years as their ace, hundreds of innings pitched -- Halladay owes the team an arrangement in which he assumes all of the risk and they take on none.

And besides, Halladay's made about $80 million in his career. Isn't that enough?

Remember J.A. Happ? On the same day of Halladay's press conference, Happ, who's now with the Blue Jays, was hit in the face with a line drive. And even after he was hospitalized, he was home the next day and probably won't miss much time. Makes me think maybe all those fans a few years ago who demanded the Phils not give up Happ for Halladay had the right idea.

And apologies are one thing. But when will Halladay refund Angelo's money?

Other Philly sports takes:

What a disgrace that the Eagles, Flyers and Phillies desperately need new GMs, but only the Sixers get one. The hiring of Sam Hinkie, however, shows us once again what an invaluable voice  we have here in Marcus Hayes. In his Monday column, Hayes argued forcefully that there's no place in the NBA for intellectualism or rigorous statistical analysis. The argument has been made before, and much more skillfully and humorously, but still, good for Marcus.

Eagles minicamp started this week. Has the team shown us anything yet indicate that they're on the way to winning a Super Bowl? All I see is that they've eliminated Andy Reid's one worthwhile innovation, Taco Tuesday.

Speaking of Andy Reid, he said last week that he's been to 50 barbecue places since taking over as coach of the Chiefs. Since he was hired in early January, that averages out to a different barbecue place roughly every third day, and that's not even taking into account repeat business. I haven't had to do this type of calculation since Wilt Chamberlain's autobiography came out.

If I'm running the Eagles, I start Nick Foles, with Matt Barkley as the backup, and I bring back Trent Edwards third string. Then I trade Michael Vick for a first round pick or two. But I guess I'm not as smart as Howie Roseman.

I want to try out for next year's Wing Bowl with the gimmick "Eagles Punter Brad Wing."

Editor's Note: please look up at the byline and realize that this post was written by a guy named FakeWIPCaller. You can follow FakeWIPCaller on Twitter.

In long-awaited NBA debut, Joel Embiid treats Sixers fans to a show

In long-awaited NBA debut, Joel Embiid treats Sixers fans to a show

The crowd erupted as Joel Embiid stepped to the free throw line. They chanted a phrase Embiid has been repeating for the past two years, a fitting welcome to his NBA debut.

“That was great,” Embiid said after the Sixers' 103-97 loss to the Thunder on Wednesday (see Instant Replay). “That’s my motto, 'Trust the process.'”

After two years of rehabbing foot injuries, Embiid has his first regular season game behind him. Embiid scored a team-high 20 points, shooting 6 for 16 from the field, 1 for 3 from long range and 7 for 8 from the line. He also recorded seven rebounds, two blocks, four turnovers and four fouls in over 22 minutes. 

“The beginning I was nervous, but once you make that first shot it just goes away,” he said. “The fans were so into the game that it was fun. I love having fun.”

Brett Brown enjoyed watching Embiid on the court as much as he liked being on it. Brown has seen the 7-foot-2 center grow and develop during his rehab. Finally, he was able to utilize his versatile skills in a real game setting.

“I can't say this loud enough,” Brown said. “For the city to be rewarded with a player that we all understand has unique gifts, special gifts, for him to go through all the things he has been through and play like he did on opening night, the city deserves it. Most importantly, he deserves it.”

Now that Embiid has been cleared to play, he would like to do so for longer periods of time. He began the preseason at 12 and was increased to 20 in segmented spurts for opening night. Even though he exceeded that limit by over two minutes, Embiid is itching to be cleared to play more extensively. 

“It sucks,” Embiid said. “I feel like I could have played more but you know you’ve got to trust the process, got to trust those guys. If I have my minute restriction at 20 minutes, I guess I’m going to go with that. But obviously I want to play more and more and I think it can help the team better. But they have a plan for me and I’ve got to follow it.”

Embiid has maintained he wants to be a clutch player. Brown looked to him toward the end of the game as the Thunder pulled ahead late in the final quarter. He drained a fade away jumper to tie the game at 97 apiece with 50.7 to go. 

Later trailing by four with 10 seconds left, the Sixers went to Embiid. While he was whistled for an offensive foul, Brown was glad to have a go-to unlike in years past. 

“You have a target,” Brown said. “We tried to get the ball to him a lot. … By and large, to have somebody like Joel, where the mystery is solved like, 'What do you do?' You get him the ball as much as you can.”

The more the Sixers found Embiid, the more the Thunder had to try to defend him. Thunder head coach Billy Donovan knew what his team was going up against. He watched Embiid as a high schooler and coached against him during his tenure at Florida. 

“He’s gifted and skilled,” Donovan said. “It was probably our guy’s first time seeing him … I knew the talent, the gifts. The one thing with him is, he’s got great footwork. He’s hard to guard because he’s herky-jerky. He moves. He’s got a lot of (Hakeem) Olajuawon to him.”

Opening night had been two years in the making. Even though the Sixers didn't win, the significance of the evening didn't disappoint. 

"I thought this moment was going to be special," Embiid said, "and it was just great."

Best of NBA: Davis' 50 points not enough in Pelicans' loss to Nuggets

Best of NBA: Davis' 50 points not enough in Pelicans' loss to Nuggets

NEW ORLEANS -- Jusuf Nurkic scored 23 points, Will Barton added 22, and the Denver Nuggets survived a dominant performance by Anthony Davis to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 107-102 in both teams' regular season opener Wednesday night.

Davis had 50 points, 16 rebounds, seven steals, five assists and four blocks. His production helped New Orleans trim a deficit as large as 14 late in the second quarter down to two points in the waning minutes. He simply didn't have enough help.

The rest of the Pelicans combined to shoot 21 of 58. Tim Frazier scored 15 for the Pelicans. E'Twaun Moore added 10 points, but missed a 3-point attempt that could have tied it with 24 seconds left.

Danilo Gallinari scored 15 for Denver and Wilson Chandler added 12 points (see full recap).

Celtics top Nets in Horford's home debut
BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas had 25 points and nine assists, Jae Crowder added 21 points and Al Horford pitched in 11 in his Boston debut on Wednesday night as the Celtics survived a late scare to beat the Brooklyn Nets 122-117 in their season opener.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 21 for Brooklyn, including a 3-pointer to make it 120-117 with 47 seconds left after the Nets erased most of a 23-point deficit against the Boston bench. But he missed one with a chance to tie it after Joe Harris intercepted Thomas' cross-court pass, and the Celtics were able to hold on.

Justin Hamilton came off the bench to score 19 points and grab 10 rebounds for the Nets in coach Kenny Atkinson's debut (see full recap).

Turner's opening act leads Pacers past Mavs in OT
INDIANAPOLIS -- Myles Turner scored 30 points, tied his career high with 16 rebounds and made a 3-pointer with 1:18 left in overtime to start an 8-0 run that allowed the Indiana Pacers to close out a 130-121 victory Wednesday night over the Dallas Mavericks.

Three-time All-Star Paul George added 25 points, including another 3 with 55 seconds left to seal Indiana's fifth season-opening win in six years.

Deron Williams scored 25 points, while J.J. Barea and Dirk Nowitzki each added 22 as the Mavs lost their fifth straight in the series. They still haven't won in Indianapolis since February 2014.

Dallas didn't tie the score or take a lead until the fourth quarter, yet still forced overtime when Harrison Barnes' open 3-pointer made it 115-all with 2.3 seconds left.

Turner could have won it with a long buzzer-beating 3, but it bounced off the back of the rim (see full recap).