After 15 years in a Seattle Mariners uniform it is time to bid a fond farewell to the King himself, Felix Hernandez.
While the demise of the King has been hard to watch for all involved, I am left with so many great memories of Hernandez and what he has meant to this team and city. His final start for the organization will come on Thursday at T-Mobile Park and will be one to remember regardless of the outcome. One can only hope that Hernandez can muster up one more magical moment to leave us all with so he gets the sendoff he deserves.
As Mariners fans we have grown accustomed to watching our superstars leave for greener pastures, but Hernandez never did that. At the top of his game, when all of baseball clamored for the King, he stayed here. He wanted to be a part of a championship team here. While he was rewarded quite handsomely financially during his time in Seattle, it’s a shame that he never got to experience the postseason as a member of the Mariners.
Since the day he arrived, Hernandez has been someone to watch. His personality captivated us as just a mere teenager. His talent was unquestioned and when he finally put it all together he was a force to be reckoned with. For a period of time baseball feared Hernandez, and he was ours.
There were so many times where all I wanted was to see the chest thumping, finger pointing, sideways hat wearing Hernandez on the mound in a playoff game. The King’s Court has been awesome, but just imagine what that would have been like in the King’s prime in a Game 7 situation. Maybe that’s part of being a Mariners fan too, not getting to see our homegrown stars experience the playoffs as much as they should have.
As Felix embarks on the next chapter of his career (if there is a chapter after this one) I hope that we remember him fondly. The sharp decline has left many holding negative feelings toward Hernandez, but we must remember all he did for us. He loved Seattle, and we loved him. While the ending hasn’t been what anyone wanted, we should never forget the grand slam, the perfect game, or the Cy Young. He thrived here during a time when Mariners baseball was hard to watch, but every fifth day he gave you something to watch. No matter how bad the team around him was, Hernandez was must-see TV.
Hernandez will once again be must-see TV this Thursday, albeit for a decidedly different reason. He will take the mound one final time as a member of the Mariners and it will be the last time we have the opportunity to Hail the King.
Thank you for everything Felix, it has been a joy to watch you play baseball. Here’s to the day when your number is hanging in the rafters with the other Mariner legends.