The Mariners, who have the best record in the American League since the All-Star Break, are arguably the hottest team in baseball right now — and a large part of that has to do with Felix Hernandez‘s perfect game on August 15th. In the midst of a six-game winning streak (seven by the time you read this), the team honored King Felix by providing him with a “Supreme Court” — as in, a much larger “King’s Court” he usually sees in left field when he’s pitching. (If you’ve never seen the King’s Court, it’s a section of Safeco Field filled with Felix fanatics draped in bright yellow who hoot and holler every second Hernandez is on the mound). As a token of gratitude to the fans and a salute to the greatest Mariners pitcher of all-time, more than 30,000 folks who made it out to Tuesday night’s game got yellow t-shirts honoring the king’s perfect game.
The crowd was electric from the moment the gates opened at 5:00pm. When Hernandez was finished with his bullpen warm-up and trotted out onto center field, he was greeted with an endless cheer. It was impossible to ignore, so the class act pulled off his cap and acknowledged the thousands of fans. When everything calmed down, Sounders FC star player Fredy Montero threw out the first pitch and the rest of the team bolted onto the field.
The King would go on to pitch seven and two-thirds innings, only allowing one run to the Cleveland Indians. And when he left the ballgame, once again, he was struck with applause — this time a standing ovation. The M’s offense rewarded Hernadez’s performance by putting up five runs and giving the Mariners their 14th win in their last 15 games at Safeco. Felix picked up his 12th win of the year as well.
Hopefully the following pictures you see here do the game justice. The Mariners have not made the playoffs since 2001, yet the spirit of the nearly sold-out crowd was as prominent as it would be in game seven of a World Series. Dave Niehaus would be proud:
-Chris Coyle, KZOK