Perfect Doc keeps business-like approach
Halladay back to work early Sunday after showing human side
MIAMI -- After the biggest night of his illustrious career, the always-focused, never-off-course Roy Halladay did what you might expect: He got his normal postgame workout in, departed on the team bus promptly at 11:45 p.m. ET, then showed up at about 8:30 a.m. the next morning to get back to work.
Halladay became the 20th pitcher in Major League history to record a perfect game on Saturday night, when he stifled all 27 Marlins he faced and recorded a season-high 11 strikeouts in the process.
Hours later, though, it was business as usual.
"That's his routine -- coming in, getting ready for his next start," first baseman Ryan Howard said.
Prior to the series finale at Sun Life Stadium on Sunday, Halladay said: "The journey is always better than the destination."
But can't that destination yield to at least some extra hours of sleep?
"I don't have the time," the tireless Halladay said. "I'll do that this winter."
When a Ronny Paulino groundout completed Halladay's perfect night, Howard sprinted toward the ace right-hander with ball in hand, and in the mist of bobbing teammates and a mess of excitement, tried feverishly to stuff the baseball into Halladay's glove.
"I was trying to get it to him, but there was so much celebrating going on," Howard said. "I just made sure that I was holding onto it and didn't lose it."
Halladay was also given that night's pitching rubber, and he had his hat and jersey put away for safekeeping.
But his biggest memories can't be stuffed into a cardboard box.
"I'm not huge on a lot of the memorabilia," said Halladay, who hadn't heard from the National Baseball Hall of Fame about what they wanted from him yet. "The memories, I think, sometimes last longer than the collection of stuff."
Halladay's memory banks are full after this one.
A couple of memories that definitely stuck out were postgame congratulatory phone calls from Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and vice president and Scranton, Penn., native Joe Biden.
But what about President Barack Obama?
"I hear he's a White Sox fan," Halladay said, smiling -- though the smile he let out at 9:23 p.m. on Saturday night was a whole lot bigger.
Halladay joined Jim Bunning -- who was perfect on June 21, 1964, against the Mets -- as the only Phillies pitchers to hurl a perfect game. The A's Dallas Braden was also perfect on Mother's Day, making 2010 the first year since 1880 that two perfect games happened in the same season.
With Halladay on the mound, the Phillies' one goal was to not commit an error. When Halladay was in the dugout, the focus was to leave Doc alone.
"I just stayed away from Roy," Howard said. "That was my only goal."
"For the most part," second baseman Chase Utley added, "we stay away from Roy when he's pitching all the time. Nothing new."
Utley was also manning second base the previous time the Phillies threw a no-hitter -- on April, 27, 2003, with Kevin Millwood on the mound against the Giants. What impressed Utley most was how Halladay handled the moment afterward.
"I think he goes about his business the right way," Utley said. "He was extremely complimentary of [catcher] Carlos [Ruiz]. He was kind of putting the attention on Carlos and the defense, rather than what he accomplished, which I think is pretty cool."
Halladay struck out four of the first six batters he faced and didn't yield a walk despite getting into seven three-ball counts. To start the ninth inning, the 33-year-old had 103 pitches under his belt, but nobody in the Phillies' bullpen even moved an inch to warm up at any point in the game, and no call from the dugout ever came in.
Besides, even if the phone did ring, "I don't think we would've even answered it," right-hander Chad Durbin said.
The running joke in the Phillies' clubhouse on Sunday was about the lack of attention another Philadelphia reliever got for his perfect outing.
That would be Brad Lidge, who made a rehab appearance for Class A Clearwater in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and fired a perfect seventh inning while recovering from elbow inflammation.
"Two 'el perfectos' in one day is pretty impressive," Lidge joked.
Since Lidge's rehab game started an hour earlier than the Phillies' 7:10 p.m. tilt, he and members of the Clearwater Threshers were able to catch the last three innings of Halladay's masterpiece on the clubhouse televisions.
Lidge loved that after working like a machine for nine innings, Halladay finally showed a human side.
"I thought it was great to see [Halladay] smile like that," Lidge said. "Obviously, he's a very serious guy when he's pitching. He definitely smiles; it's not like [that's] the first time he ever smiles. But that being said, that kind of joy is fun to see on someone's face. I think we all thought at some point this year it's going to happen -- it might happen again -- because every time he goes out there, his stuff is good. It seems like he would do that."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.