Braden Halladay was watching his father, Roy, get inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame last summer when the idea first crossed his mind. Braden saw the red and white. He saw what his father meant to an entire nation, how proud his family was of their time north of the border. He started thinking about what it would be like to wear the Maple Leaf.
Braden spent most of his life in the United States, but he was born in Toronto and considers himself a dual-citizen, even if the 17-year-old isn't quite sure he has the paperwork to prove it. Since his high school career began, Halladay has proudly worn a patch with the Canadian flag on his glove. Braden doesn't know if he actually is Canadian, but it definitely feels like he is.
Un momento muy especial en Dunedin en el juego entre @baseballcanada y @losazulejos.@BradenHalladay, hijo de Roy Halladay, entró a lanzar, sacó 3 outs y fue ovacionado por recordar a todos lo dominante que es al igual que lo fue su padre. ������— LasMayores (@LasMayores) 17 de marzo de 2018
"I find myself at the first day of school, when they ask your name and your grade and a fun fact about you, my fun fact is always I was born in Canada," Braden said. "I feel like I couldn't have had a better place to grow up. I feel I would not be anywhere near where I was. I still go back once or twice a year, and even though I'm not living there, I still feel it's a part of who I am."
Braden is not his father. He doesn't possess the mid-90s fastball that came with devastating sink and pinpoint command. He's probably not going to be a first-round pick, but what's important here is that he's living his baseball dream. The high school junior is committed to Penn State, and it's possible that by 2019 he will also be in the mix for the MLB Draft.
Despite the differences between son and father, there are similarities as well. The delivery, the methodical way he breaks down his own abilities and the skill sets of others. The way his eyes light up when he talks about pitching. He seems more outgoing than his father ever was, at least publicly, with a personality that he at least partially gets from his mother, Brandy. Braden is his own man, but he also seems to get it a lot more than most kids his age would.
This is a teenager who lost his father in a tragic plane crash just a few months ago, and he's now able to sit there and patiently, coherently, answer questions from reporters about his legacy. It can't be easy growing up in the shadow of someone with the stature of Roy, but Braden never resented it, not even for a second.
"At least from my perspective, he knows everything about everything as far as pitching goes," Braden said. "From a pitching standpoint, it was everything I could have asked for and more. ... Especially now, every time I make mistakes, I still hear him drilling me about them in my head, just because he's done it so many times before. From a mind-set standpoint, I don't think with any bias that I could have had a better teacher."
The younger Halladay was quick to follow that statement with an answer that his father never forced him to do anything. Yes, there was some tough love involved, but only when he was looking for it. Roy's approach was simple, let Braden know that everything was his choice, but if he did want to pursue baseball, then this is what you have to do to get there.
Gregor Chisholm | MLB.com