As is often times the case whenever a publicly known figure dies in some unexpected incident, there is a lot of immediate response of shock and surprise, followed by endless litanies of knee-jerk condolences, instant sorrow and poetic waxing. Personally, I think it’s sometimes obnoxious when I think that people are doing it what I feel is disingenuously, especially when it seems like they’re just trying to be seen grieving, and not actually caring that much.
The point is, there are a lot of immediate reactions when it comes to news of the sudden deaths of publicly known figures, and as nihilistic as I may think they sometimes can be, it’s for good reason. Death is almost always sad, and it is rarely good news to hear about the passing of life in general.
A few months ago, Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay died in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico. It was sudden and out of nowhere when this occurred, and immediately afterward, just about anyone who ever liked baseball in the last two decades immediately came out to speak about condolences, thoughts and prayers, among other things. The cities of Toronto and Philadelphia, where Halladay played for made huge public announcements of their sadness of the passing, and I bet they were preparing for shit like moments of silence, memorials or public acknowledgments of his career in the coming 2018 season.
The sudden loss of one of the greatest pitchers of this generation was definitely surprising, unfortunate, and a genuine loss for Major League Baseball.
But as is often the case whenever a publicly known figure passes, personally, I’d like to know the whole story first before I decide to speak about them.
Two months and change after the news broke of Halladay’s plane crash, we now have news from his autopsy: he was on drugs during the plane crash. One story is that he had morphine, another states the level of amphetamines. Supposedly he had both in his system the whole time. And now suddenly, the why of his plane crash is easily answered, and the squeaky-clean image of Roy Halladay doesn’t look quite so shiny and polished as people might have thought he was throughout his playing career.
As an active player, Roy Halladay was the epitome of professional: he showed up, did his job, did his job exceptionally, and absolutely never made any splashes or waves throughout his entire career, aside from the one time he was traded from Toronto to Philadelphia, and even that was more a choice of the organizations and not necessarily just him. Aside from his reputation of being the last of the old guard of pitchers who were remotely capable of throwing complete games, the only things people really knew about Roy Halladay was that he was practically a machine of man, hard set in a routine of dedicated workouts and baseball training. Otherwise, little else was really known of the guy, and he even retired in obscurity back in 2013.
So obviously, nobody knew of what kind of personal demons and skeletons in the closet a guy like Roy Halladay had in his personal life. But they must’ve been some pretty frightening ones for him to get hopped up on uppers and downers simultaneously, before deciding to get into a private plane and go flying while under the influence.
But this is where I start to get angry at a guy so detached from the ordinary world because he clearly rose above it from the wealth amassed at getting paid gargantuan amounts of money for playing a kids’ game. Seriously, the guy earned nearly $150 million dollars in his professional career because he was good at throwing a baseball; few people are ever going to convince me that having that much fuck you money is going to make life so difficult that the only logical activity becomes drug-addled plane flying.
Roy Halladay might have been one of the best pitchers in my baseball-observing lifetime, but as a human being, he’s another dumbass with too much money who did some stupid shit that got him killed, and left a wife and two children behind to grow up and live the rest of their lives without a dad. I don’t believe he deserves the praise, sadness and tributes that everyone gave him upon immediate news of his death, and if only people could actually stop and wait for all the facts before sounding off, maybe there would be vastly fewer people who voluntarily put their feet in their mouths.
You’d think people would’ve learned after the Jose Fernandez debacle, but that’s the world we live in today: information flies so fast and people are so ADD, that they’d rather waste words and thoughts under false pretenses rather than wait for the stories to finish and make sure that the tributes are justifiably warranted.