Matt Slocum/AP/File 2014
Roy Halladay was a thoughtful person to interview, generous with his insight and unfailingly polite. The problem was getting him to stop and talk.
Halladay, who died in a plane crash Tuesday, was a strict adherent to routine. When his Toronto or Philadelphia clubhouse opened to the media, he was rarely at his locker. Halladay invariably was in the weight room or watching video in some other area off-limits to reporters.
Halladay believed his success was a product of his four-day routine between starts, and nothing got in the way of that, certainly not nosy reporters.
In 2008, I was covering the Yankees and working on a story about Mike Mussina, who was planning to retire following the season. Mussina and Halladay had been frequent opponents in the American League East, and the hope was that Halladay would add something valuable to the piece.
The Yankees were in Toronto for a three-day series, and each day I fruitlessly waited.
“Doc’s in the weight room,” I was told by a media relations person the first day.
“Doc’s getting treatment,” was the response a day later.
Halladay then walked by. But when I approached him, he said he was busy.
On the final day, I took a new approach and waited on the field for Halladay to finish a workout and stopped him there.
“I know you were waiting. Let’s sit down,” he said, pointing to the dugout bench.
The interview was no more than five minutes, but Halladay made several good points about Mussina.
In 2016, when David Ortiz was set to retire, I noticed Big Papi had faced Halladay more than any other pitcher in his career, 109 times in all. That would have made a good story, the great pitcher remembering his battles against the great hitter. But several inquiries to Halladay’s agent and another to the Phillies proved fruitless.
In the end, I was 1 for 2 against Halladay. Not too bad.
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