Until March 27, we’ll be counting down the 50 greatest Phillies games of the last 50 years. This is 50 of 50.
And this is No. 13.
THE DATE: Oct. 6, 2010
THE GAME: Phillies vs. Cincinnati Reds, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
THE STAKES: Game 1, 2010 National League Division Series; Roy Halladay’s first career playoff start
THE GREAT: It had become ordinary for Phillies fans by now. Making the playoffs was expected and the NLDS was just a means of getting to their third World Series in a row. Still, the atmosphere at Citizens Bank Park was electric when Roy Halladay took the mound for his first playoff start for the Phillies – and in his 13-year career.
This is why he came to Philadelphia. This is why he left the only team he ever knew and millions of dollars on the table. This is why he became an instant fan favorite and why he will go down as one of the best players to ever wear Phillies pinstripes, despite only playing a few seasons.
From the first-pitch groundout to Doc’s RBI single in the second inning, you knew something special was brewing. It wasn’t until around the fourth inning, however, that I realized something was different. After the hustle and bustle of the first couple innings, fans getting their playoff gear and pregame beers, the concourse was surprisingly empty … eerie almost.
You see, I was working the game. I was lucky enough to work at Citizens Bank Park throughout high school and college, from 2008 to 2013. I’m sure I even sold you a foam finger or two.
For the next five innings, nobody moved. I have never seen a pitcher command not just the strike zone with such authority, but a stadium filled with 46,000 people. When Brandon Phillips stepped to the plate with two outs in the top of the ninth, there wasn’t a doubt in anyone’s mind Halladay would soon become just the second pitcher in baseball history to throw a no-hitter in the playoffs.
Until Phillips hit possibly the slowest dribbler to have ever been hit. For what seemed like hours, the 46,000 fans who were on their feet held their breath as they watched Carlos Ruiz, the Robin to Halladay’s Batman, pick up the ball and fire a bullet to Ryan Howard as the speedy Phillips sprinted to first.
Exhale. The game Halladay had been preparing for his whole career was over in just two-and-a-half hours and 104 pitches.
It was worth the wait.