Perfect King Felix

King Felix celebrates. (Ted S. Warren/Associated Press)

On a day when baseball really needed a boost after it was announced that the All-Star Game’s Most Valuable Player, Melky Cabrera, has been suspended for 50 games for violation of the league’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, King Felix provided that boost and more. Felix Hernandez, the ace of the Seattle Mariners (and one of the few players on that team that have value outside the organization), pitched the third perfect game in the MLB this season and the first in Mariners franchise history, in Seattle’s 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Safeco Field this afternoon.

When you go to a ballgame (or find one on your computer or on television) you never know what you are going to see over those nine innings and three-plus hours. Baseball fans as a whole spend way too much time following their favorite players and teams, but the reason that we do it is for afternoons like today. Whether it is a Red Sox/Yankees affair on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, or just your typical Rays/Mariners Wednesday afternoon matinee, something special can happen on any given night. Today, baseball fans were rewarded for their loyalty.

27 up, 27 down; sounds almost impossible to do. There is a reason that including today’s performance it has only happened 23 times in the long history of baseball. Just 23 times. With his 113th pitch today, King Felix added his name to that list by striking out Sean Rodriguez for the final out of the game (and Hernandez’ 12th strikeout).

Hernandez made it look easy. For those who don’t know, this game was not a fluke. Hernandez is one of the league’s best pitchers with a 10-5 record on a terrible team, with a 2.74 earned run average to match. For a team with not too much appeal to them, King Felix provides energy and excitement every fifth day for the Mariners which is something that the organization desperately needs. Any time he starts he is capable of dominating hitters, maybe not as well as he did today, but well enough to shut down even the league’s best offenses. Today the Rays were the team he made look silly.

In most perfect games or no-hitters there are some spectacular defense plays behind the pitcher, today King Felix didn’t need that type of help. He got almost half the batters out himself by way of the K, and many of the rest of the outs were routine plays made behind him. The most controversy in this game happened with Rays manager Joe Maddon being ejected for arguing balls and strikes (baseball’s biggest “no-no”), but otherwise today was just your typical 1-0 old school baseball game.

If you are a productive member of society there is about a 99.9% chance that you didn’t see one pitch of Felix’s outing this afternoon. Since it was such an historic performance (especially being the first ever perfect game in Mariners history), I would encourage you to check out the highlights tonight on ESPN or MLB Network. As long as the following video is up it is also worth a view, as it is a post-game interview that King Felix had after his incredible afternoon.


“Happy Felix Day”.

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