Monarchy and the United States usually don’t mix, considering the history of this country. But on August 15th, Mariner’s fans would have most likely welcomed one king in particular to govern the city of Seattle. “King” Felix Hernandez delivered a pitching performance worthy of royalty as he dominated and embarrassed the Tampa Bay Rays by throwing the 23rdperfect game in the history of baseball.
Before this perfect game, Hernandez was already considered to be the crown jewel of Seattle, as he’s already won the Cy Young Award, appeared in three All-Star games, and delivered countless brilliant pitching performances. What makes this perfect game extra special was who he did it to, how he did it, and the circumstances of the game itself.
Forget all the statistics about how the Rays have been perfect gamed three times in their history and have been the victim of a few no-hitters as well. The fact is the Rays are an excellent team, and Felix dominated them. Against the likes of B.J. Upton, Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena, and Ben Zobrist, Hernandez threw 113 pitches and struck out 12, including five of the last six batters.
Another thing to consider is the immense pressure Felix was on. If throwing a perfect game isn’t enough at stake, consider that the M’s won the game 1-0. From the third inning on, when Brendan Ryan scored from third after a single by Jesus Montero, Hernandez was constantly being pressured by the notion that not only could he lose his perfect game, but that he could the game itself as well. Fortunately for M’s fans and for baseball fans in general, Hernandez kept his cool throughout the game and the Rays were rarely able to even threaten to make it safely on-base.
Felix Hernandez is only 26 years old and yet it seems he’s been a part of the Mariners forever. Maybe August 15th will be the peak of his career, or maybe he’ll deliver something even more special. World Series anyone? It is stretch, but with Felix Hernandez on your team, great things can happen. Let us hope that any further trade rumors regarding the King stay rumors.