When Jose Lopez tomahawked the living piss out of a chest-high fastball from Yankees relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain on Saturday night, well I’m not gonna lie to you, I nearly exploded all over rows 36 and 37 of section 132 at Safeco Field.
That would have been bad news for a bunch of self-proclaimed New York fans, who had been deposited in the seats in and around me by the Yankee bandwagon which happened to be rolling through town. Of course, knowing how classy most Yanks fan truly are, I’m sure most of those folks are used to getting jizzed on. And yes, I said jizzed. It’s my blog, I’ll do what I want.
Even in the midst of a lost season, the isolated incident that was Lopez’s game-winning grand slam home run could not have felt much better. That moment right there is what makes sports amazingly fantastic. It’s what we, as fans, live for. The unprecedented comeback, the euphoric celebration. It was great, just effing great.
And what can you say about Felix Hernandez? Throwing a 126-pitch complete game to shut down the best team in baseball is straight-up old-school nastiness. The dude was throwing 97 miles-per-hour after pitch one-hundred. He was working with video-game breaking balls. He struck out the side in the ninth inning. He was Chuck Norris and Mr. T rolled into one filthy Venezuelan superhero package on this particular evening.
Let me say this about pitch counts: there are certain guys who they should not apply to. Felix is one of those guys. The man could have thrown 150, 160, 170 with relative ease. He’s got the size and the durability to not have to worry about 10, 20, or 30 more pitches causing any harm to his bulletproof exterior. Let this guy keep going nine innings at a time. Turn back the clock with him. I want to see as much Felix Hernandez as possible the rest of the way, even in a season where the playoffs are an absolute pipe dream. Give me something. Felix is something.
On another note, a tip of the cap to Jack Zduriencik for, among other things, getting Felix locked up long-term before the year began. Think about it. If we didn’t have our ace (our one and only ace, these days) under contract for the next few seasons, we might be exploring the idea of trading him to a contender as the deadline nears. I’m just thankful we don’t even have to consider that at this point.
Allow me to wrap this up with a final thought. I am passionate about many things in this world. There are very few things, however, that elicit more passion from me than the Seattle Mariners. That is my TEAM. The first team I ever latched onto, from the time I could walk. I grew up with Alvin Davis and Mark Langston and Harold Reynolds and Jimmy Presley and Phil Bradley, and later on The Kid and Randy and Jay and Little O and Tino and Blowers and of course Edgar, both with and without the ‘stache. This franchise has been through some absolute sh*t in the past few years, but every now and then we get reminded of the future we have as a team. Saturday night, we saw that ability shine through. The potential was there. It’s just a matter of reaching that potential and consistently maintaining it.
Being at the ballpark, I can tell you that the atmosphere is still present, the crowd is still there, the fans are still there. As a fan base, we’ve been getting ragged on a bunch lately, by the media, by each other, by players themselves. It’s been tough being a Mariners fan, we all know that. But the tide is turning. It is. We might not see ideal results this year, but trust me, those results are on their way. Things are looking up. Saturday night was an indication of that. One day we’re going to be a contender. One day we’re going to make the playoffs again. One day we’re going to win a World Series. And when all three of those things happen, we’re going to remember games like these that helped kick off our transformation to greatness. We’re getting there, M’s fans. You and me both.