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.

Nerlens Noel excited for impending return to game action

Nerlens Noel excited for impending return to game action

NEW ORLEANS -- The weeks and months have quickly piled up. Nerlens Noel has not played an NBA regular-season game since last season ended for the Sixers on April 13. Nearly eight months later, Noel is nearing the return he has been eyeing for quite some time now. 

“It’s always an excitement to be able to play basketball after this amount of time, including the summer, not being able to play organized basketball at a competitive level,” Noel said Thursday. “I’ve been really looking forward to this. I think I’ve gained some momentum coming back from this minor surgery, and I think I’m in a really good place and I’m feeling good with my body. Everything is on point.”

Noel has been sidelined since undergoing elective left knee surgery in October to address an inflamed plica. He traveled to New Orleans on Wednesday to join the Sixers ahead of their 99-88 win over the Pelicans (see game recap). Noel continued his rehab Thursday while the team prepped for the game. 

“I’ve been able do five-on-five, full contact,” Noel said. “I’ve tried to maximize my opportunities of that with the team being gone on the road. I came down here and went through most of shootaround and it went well. Now these next couple of days, [I will be] going through practice, still working on my wind. I do like where I’m at now.”

The Sixers’ next game is Sunday against the Pistons in Detroit. Brett Brown had given Noel’s availability for that game a “maybe” (see story)

“I’m not sure,” Noel said of playing Sunday. “I’m ready to go with these next couple of days and see how my wind feels and how my body feels, which I have been feeling good. So it’s a possibility.”

When Noel does return, there is a scenario in which he could be paired with center Joel Embiid. Last year, the Sixers struggled finding the best way to utilize Noel and Jahlil Okafor, also a center, at the same time playing the four and five positions. As Okafor has said of playing with Embiid, Noel also believes his off-the-court friendship with the towering rookie would translate onto the court. 

“I think it would be something that’s experimented,” Noel said. “It’d definitely be interesting.”

Noel candidly expressed his opinion of the Sixers’ logjammed frontcourt at the start of the season. Since speaking to the media after his surgery, Noel has mentioned he is in a good mental place (see story). For him, that means being out on the court again. 

“I love myself and I love the game of basketball,” Noel said. “When I step out here to come and play, it just brings a lot of enjoyment and excitement to me. Regardless of what the details of it are, I just love the game and I’m happy to just be playing.”

Best of NHL: Flames edge Coyotes in OT for fifth straight win

Best of NHL: Flames edge Coyotes in OT for fifth straight win

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dougie Hamilton scored 1:09 into overtime, Chad Johnson stopped 27 shots and the Calgary Flames beat the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on Thursday night.

Mark Giordano scored for the Flames in a chippy game filled with big hits and multiple fights.

Hamilton capped a fast-paced overtime by deking Arizona's Mike Smith with a forehand before flipping in a backhander. Calgary has won five straight and eight of 11 (8-2-1).

Max Domi scored before leaving with an upper-body injury and Smith stopped 33 shots for the Coyotes, who have lost six straight and 11 of 14 (3-7-4).

Arizona captain Shane Doan became Arizona's all-time assist leader and is the fifth player in NHL history to own his team's records for games played, goals, assists, points, game-winning goals and power-play goals (see full recap).

Crosby, Penguins roll over Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Sidney Crosby got his 18th goal and added an assist to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Florida Panthers 5-1 on Thursday night.

Conor Sheary, Tom Kuhnhackl, Matt Cullen and Carl Hagelin also scored for Pittsburgh. Matt Murray made 28 saves.

The Penguins have won four straight and five of their past six.

Jaromir Jagr scored his 755th career goal, and Roberto Luongo stopped 25 shots for the Panthers. Luongo allowed three goals on Pittsburgh's first five shots.

Panthers coach Tom Rowe, who replaced Gerard Gallant on Nov. 28, made his home debut. The Panthers have lost five of six under Rowe, but managed a point in three of those losses (see full recap).

Price loses cool as Habs beat Devils
MONTREAL -- Carey Price lost his temper after being bumped twice in his crease and made 19 saves to help the Montreal Canadiens beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Thursday night.

Torrey Mitchell scored twice and Phillip Danault, Artturi Lehkonen and Max Pacioretty also had goals for the Canadiens in their return from a five-game trip.

Adam Henrique scored a goal and set up one by Taylor Hall for New Jersey, which ended a two-game winning streak.

Montreal had a season-high 49 shots on Cory Schneider.

A wild first period included three goals, four goal reviews and Price's meltdown (see full recap).