May 15th: Back from his stint on the DL, Felix stands in and gets Reggie Willits to foul out to lead off the game.
A moment which needs little explanation, but whose immediate significance took a few innings to sink in.
I'm not going to sit here and preach, because while eight months have passed since Felix came off the DL, everyone remembers what effect that had on us as a group. The team may not have been completely lost without its king, but we were as fans, and seeing him make his triumphant return to the mound lifted our collective spirits to such an extent that we all but entirely overlooked the fact that, on the same night, we beat the Angels.
That's what Felix means to this community. Ichiro gets a lot of the attention, and landing Erik Bedard would give us arguably the best pitcher in baseball, but for us - or at least most of us, anyway - it's still all about Felix. He is the cart to which we've tied our loyal horse, and as he goes, so do we. While he didn't go on to pitch up to his abilities after returning from the four-week absence, that didn't matter nearly as much as the fact that he was pitching, because for me, a season without Felix would've been a season without the full emotional investment to which I've become so accustomed. And that's not a season I want to watch.
Also, fuck Reggie Willits.