A day has passed and the reality is starting to sink in, a perfect game. 27 up and 27 down. Not just a perfect game, but a perfect game crafted by the face of this franchise, the symbol of hope that we have come to love and embrace: Felix Hernandez. The Seattle Mariners now have something that some others teams do not, and while they had things like this before (116 win season, Ichiro breaking the single season hits record, etc) this feels so special, so different.
It’s hard to write a better story than how this actually played out. The organization’s best pitching prospect in its short history comes through and seals his chapter in Seattle Mariners lore. Explaining what Felix means to this organization and to this fan base is near impossible. It’s hard to explain how invested the fans were in Felix, even before he ever hurled his first major league pitch. It was the Bill Bavasi era and for the first time in a decade, the Mariners were in entrenched in dark times. It seemed our one ray of hope was a Venezuelan pitching prospect dubbed King Felix.
In late 2005, the Mariners finally succumbed, they opted to promote Felix from the Tacoma Rainiers. It was immediate pandemonium. Felix belonged to the Mariners and no other team would have him, he was finally ours.
His initial call up revealed everything we hoped we were getting. Felix lit up the radar gun and showed absolutely dominating breaking pitches. A pitcher roughly 10 years younger than the majority of his competition, had no problem showing the league why he had already been dubbed the king.
The road was not always paved in gold and rubies for the king however. We saw him struggle to let go of his fastball and learn out to pitch, instead of just throw. But we never lost faith, we never gave up on our king, and we have been duly rewarded. Rewarded with an overpowering 2009 season, rewarded with a 2010 Cy Young award, and now rewarded with the first perfect game in Seattle Mariners history.
As I said before, it’s impossible to write a better saga than the one that has been occurring before our very eyes. Our Felix, our King has sealed his place in the history books, and he did it for the Seattle Mariners. May this be the first of many, many more Felix Hernandez memories.