A National Halladay

Sunday, January 12 2003 @ 07:48 AM EST

Contributed by: Coach

In Canada, and across the baseball universe, most people slight one of the game’s best pitchers every time they say his name. Roy Halladay, the ace of the Toronto Blue Jays, got his nickname -– Doc –- because he’s a Colorado boy, like the famous Old West gunslinger, "Doc" Holliday.

That’s how Roy’s family pronounces their surname: “Holiday.” If you’re reading it, and have never heard it spoken correctly, it’s easy to make the mistake; the first three letters spell HAL, like the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey. But the first four letters are “hall,” and that’s the way Doc says it, so why shouldn’t we?

The problem is with the broadcasters. Tom and Jerry get it wrong, as do all the talking heads on every TV network. Then whoever reads the scores follows suit, and so do the fans. The mispronunciation has become the standard. The same thing happens to hockey players -– Tomas Kaberle calls himself “ka-BEAR-luh” but Joe Bowen’s “KABBER-law” shout has caught on. I’m sure there are many other examples of this unfortunate phenomenon, but I can’t think of one that involves an All-Star. Well, BeelzeBud didn’t know how to pronounce his World Series MVP’s name, but most of us do. (It’s “gloss,” not “glowse,” and definitely not whatever Selig said.) The players probably don’t care, as long as their names are spelled correctly on the paycheques, but that doesn’t make it right.

Batter’s Box readers should take the initiative on this one. The guy who is going to lead our beloved Blue Jays back to the postseason, one of our heroes, Harry Leroy Halladay III, deserves some respect. If repeated exposure to the airwaves causes you to accidentally say the “hal” word, pause and correct yourself. In no time, the right way will become a habit. Eventually, by spreading the news to one fan at a time, we will prevail. To practice, I suggest that if you don’t already know the old Bee Gees hit Holiday -- they were cool once, trust me -- you should download the MP3 and sing along:

Oh, you’re a Halladay
Such a Halladay
Roy, you’re a Halladay
Like Doc Holliday

It’s something I think’s a shame
When they mispronounce your name
It seems like they just don’t care
Just don’t care, just don’t care

Oh, it’s a funny game
Don’t tell me that it’s all the same
Can’t believe that it’s right
To insult our ace every night

On radio and TV
They all say it the wrong way
When will everybody see
It’s not OK, not OK

Doc, you’re a Halladay
Every fifth day’s such a holiday
Now everyone should say
And they may –- you’re a Halladay