“My roots are here. My roots are with the Blue Jays,” he said at Rogers Centre before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch Friday at the Blue Jays‘ home opener against the New York Yankees (it was a strike, to no one’s surprise).
“I felt like this was the whole dinner, the whole meal, everything,” he continued. “Philly was the chocolate cake at the end. [Toronto] really was the major part of my baseball career, so I really feel like this is where I belong. In Philadelphia that was a nice little treat and I really enjoyed being there, but this is definitely where I feel like my roots are.”
Halladay retired as a Blue Jay following a difficult 2013 season marred by injuries. So far life as a retired player is treating him well.
“I have no regrets, no disappointments,” he said. “I’m actually really happy with the choice that I made and it was the right choice for me. It’s different. The first couple weeks of winter it’s hard not to feel like you should be working out or doing something.”
Halladay spoke to Blue Jays prospects over the winter and appeared in Phillies camp this spring, but isn’t ready to take on a uniformed role again just yet. He enjoys being around the team and will keep in touch with the Blue Jays about ways of staying involved. Once he decides he’s ready, Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos will welcome him into the mix.
Blue Jays players stood and applauded along with the sellout crowd as Halladay’s career highlights played on the video board (Yankees players including Derek Jeter also recognized the two-time Cy Young Award winner). It was a celebration of a career that should send Halladay to Cooperstown, but the 36-year-old didn’t come to Toronto for adulation.
“Honestly I kind of look at it the other way around,” he said. “I feel like I’m paying my respects to the fans.”