Tuesday, August 16, 2005

King Felix Strikes Again



Being a Mariner fan definitely has its ups and downs. In the 80’s we suffered through sub .500 season after sub .500 season. The 90’s gave little relief early on. The team seemed plagued with faulty bullpens, however hope was given to us with a solid offense and a pretty steady defensive output. Many a year the Mariners would lead the league in homeruns and double plays turned.

Then 1995 came and with it all the magic. To those outside of Mariner nation this year meant very little to you. To the Mariner fan however this year meant everything to you. Proof of this is shown by the celebration at Safeco field commemorating the 10th anniversary of the dramatic 95’ run.. The 95’ team changed not only the average Mariner fans but the everyday man, women, and child in Seattle.

I remember being in a laundry mat watching the game while washing some cloths. It was the 9th inning and the angels had 2 on. This was early in the season and we had no idea what the season was going to hold. A man came up next to me and asked what the score was. The M’s are up 1 I replied and the Angels have 2 on and 2 out. "They’ll blow it" the man said. I gave him a nasty look but he just laughed. Sure enough a deep fly ball was hit. Way back, way back. The Words "I told you so>>>" started to come out of the man’s mouth only to be cut off. Niehaus erupted "Buhner makes an unbelievable catch crashing into the wall in right center." BALLGAME OVER. Almost beaming with Moosly pride I returned to my Laundry and the man who so predicted a failure erupted with a new found mariner pride. "YAAAAAAAAA!!!! He got it!!" The City had found their golden boys that were the Seattle Mariners, hence began the 95 run for me.

Now in Seattle we have been blessed with some of the best major league talent the game ahs ever seen. Some may say come on man slow down the best ever? Yes I would argue this look at who has roots in the Seattle organization. We have produced arguably the games greatest Left-hander in randy Johnson. Yes he was with the Expos first but he really made his initial make in Seattle. We have also produced one of the games greatest Center Fielders in "The Kid" Ken Griffey Jr. Who has amassed numerous stats most of which with Seattle and Likely will be the Mariners first entry to the Hall of Fame. The next name should come as no surprise, this man WILL be the one to break Hank Aaron’s HR record. Alex Rodriguez, as much as I hate him for leaving, is one of the games greatest players EVER to play. He is don’t argue this fact.

These three alone rank up there with some of the greatest all time, of course we have others in the likes of Edgar Martinez, Ichiro, Omar Vizquel, David Ortiz, Derek Lowe, Jason Veritek etc etc. All solid names, not of the caliber of the ones above but still very solid.

I bring this up for a reason. Last night we were given a viewing of the next major prospect to come from the Mariners system. Felix "The King" Hernandez is that man. This is the 5 time I have gotten to see him pitch and by far this was the most dominating I have seen him be. His line, 8 Innings, 1 run, 1bb, 11k’s on 99 pitches is just sick. At no point was he ever on the ropes. Even when the Royals scored their one run Felix was in complete control. He gave his defense not one but 2 chances to get out of the inning un-scaved, only to have them falter.

Felix overpowered the Royals with 98 MPH heater and knee breaking curves. He even dawned a change that came across in the mid to upper 80’s. Folks when you throw 98 MPH there is no way you should be throwing a 86-88 mph change, that’s just unfair.

Ninety-nine pitchers and 8 innings after the play ball call Felix was done. Laughing it up in the dug out as Joel Pinero and Ryan Franklin gawked over the score sheet. Seeing numbers they have been unable to obtain for 3 years now.

Today I am beaming with Mariner Pride. This 19-year-old kid is going to save this franchise. No joke, the Mariners are in a tailspin, but on the arm of a 19-year-old wonder kid we affectionately call the King, the Mariners will return to the team of the late 90’s. The team that changed the sports fan base of Seattle.

8 comments:

  1. Neddy Ballgame1:56 PM

    ...prior to '95 this was a Husky football town with still a bit of a Seahawk hangover from the Curt Warner/Chuck Knox era and clinging to the 78-79 Sonics champions,but ,Big Daddy is correct, Seattle became a baseball town in one short year--something truly unheard of --especially for someone who along with Maah! was one of the few(think it was like 600M) hundred thousand who attended a Pilots' game in 1969...Felix may be able to help keep the momentum--this team should not haved alreay drawn 2MM fans had it not been in such a baseball town as Seattle ahs become...patience,patience is the key in baseball---and perhpas ours is paying off in a 19 year old flamethrower,curveball-off-the -table-top pitcher

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  2. I've been to both home starts! I win! I think I'm going to write a song about him.

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  3. I agree. Seattle is a baseball town, especially when it comes to support. The M's are among the league leaders in attendance despite all the crappiness.

    Probably not as knowledgable as a lot of other cities that have more tradition, but that will take time. Travis pretty much summed up all the Mariners tradition in this post.


    I looked at the 95 season once and saw some interesting things that show that the run wasn't as much magical as it was logical. I'll save that for another post.

    The "bumfuzzler" was in full effect last night.

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  4. Also-not the most rowdy fans either. Ron Gardenhire once laughed when someone asked him if Safeco was an intimidating place to play. Hmmm...

    O and Travis...it's "unscathed". I kinda like un-scaved though. I escaped the beast's clutches unscaved! Pray tell young sir when hast thou seen such a display of courage?!

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  5. Neddy Ballgame6:17 PM

    ...yeah..true about the unrowdiness----think that a fan in an "NY" hat would have it ripped off and then a fight start in teh bleacheers at the Safe ?? - i doubt it---- but an everyday occurance at Fenway Park..we're a bit too nice and I am on a short leash whenever Maaah! and I go to a M's -Yankees game

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  6. I don't know...last night there were a couple of "crazies" making fun of one of the young bucks in the Royals' bullpen: "Hey 22! What kind of number is that!?? Oooohhh!! That was a ball number 22!!"

    I really feel like that would be an overwhelming environment in which to play.

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  7. Awesome post Trav. You mentioned the royal change. The incredible thing about it is he seems to be able to take various degrees of velocity (not sure that makes sense) off of his fastball, so his change-up can be anywhere from 82 to 88 - it's never really the same. He has the developed more control of his pitches than 99% of pitchers develop over the entirety of their careers. It really is "unfair" as Hargrove has taken to say.

    Also, there's the nastiest downward movement on most of the pitches, which makes his pre-game bullpen sessions really really fun. How in the heck is someone expected to deal with a two-seamer and a four-seamer that are both 97 mph, but don't even resemble each other in movement?

    And Mike, that Bumfuzzler - it really seems to be a really filthy pitch to hit. Not sure anyone has done more than chop it into the ground yet.

    I think we need to take some sort of poll asking our readers whether they like Bumfuzzler or The Royal Curve as the authoritative nickname...

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