On the very same mound where his father pitched year after year, Braden Halladay took the hill and did exactly what Roy would’ve done: retired the side with relative ease.
Spring Training games have little-to-no bearing, but this one was different. When the Canadian Junior National team faced a Toronto Blue Jays squad filled with bright young prospects, all eyes were on the offspring of a Blue Jays legend: 17-year-old Braden Halladay.
With his mother Brandy looking on close by, Braden took to the hill at Dunedin stadium and faced some of the most promising young players in the Blue Jays farm system.
Although he resides in Florida, Braden chose to play for the Canadian Junior National Team. He was born in Canada and as young Halladay told Sportsnet’s Arash Madani, “it feels like home”.
He certainly didn’t need to play for team Canada, but in many ways, Braden chooses to carry on his legacy by playing for the country where his father blossomed into one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Just like his father Roy didn’t need to come back and retire as a Toronto Blue Jay, Braden felt it was important to commit to Team Canada: “It’s what’s part of me. I feel Canadian”.
The parallels between Braden and Roy are everywhere; both pitching on the same mound in Dunedin, both as teenagers with braces. Braden even has a similar three-quarter arm slot delivery that worked so well for his father.
Halladays. 😢 pic.twitter.com/7QfoA0jc2O
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) 18 March 2018
As a 17-year-old, Braden has an incredible amount of composure and maturity for his age. Having lost his father just four months ago, Braden chooses to look back on his time with his father in a positive light (via Sportsnet’s interview):
Instead of grieving and saying “why did this thing have to happen to me”, you kind of just have to appreciate that we had him for this amount and time and he did everything for our family. It’s awesome that I got to have a dad for that long.
During Roy’s memorial back in November, Brandy said something very profound during her speech. She addressed her sons Braden and Ryan and said “I still get to see him every day. Because I get to look at you”.
As she watched from the stands in Dunedin as her son pitched where Roy had thrown for so many years, Brandy was right. It was like watching Roy again through the lens of her son, Braden.