On Perfection and Expectations

On Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 at 3:02 PM PST, Felix Hernandez threw the first perfect game in Mariner's history. We have all made a very big deal about this, but it bears repeating. Because think about that for a second. He is the 23rd pitcher in history to do so and the reaction from the majority of the league seems to be "It's about time."

I wanted to write about my experience with this particular game, and encourage people to share their experience, so I felt like writing a post. My story is after the jump, feel free to read and share yours.

Like every other Mariners fan, I felt like any Felix start had the potential to be a perfecto, but for some reason, I always assumed it would never happen. It isn't that I thought Felix didn't have the stuff to do it, or he'd be overwhelmed by the pressure, I just figured that, like a World Series ring, it would never happen because Seattle, and also because Mariners.

But on to the story. I am currently a junior at the UW and I was just finishing my last day of lecture for summer quarter. I got to my apartment in the U-District around 1:30 or so and was just absentmindedly messing around on the computer, checking the Seattle Times website. I checked the Mariners blog for whatever news might have hit on the day where I saw that Felix was perfect through four. I remember everything that happened after that with perfect clarity.

I was impressed, but I didn't think much of it beyond "Oh, shit, I wonder if today is going to be the day?" But I got distracted with studying for finals and didn't stay updated. On a whim I checked back in about half an hour later to see if we were still winning. It was the top of the sixth and Felix had just struck out the side. "Oh shit," I thought, "what if today is going to be the day?" I couldn't stop thinking about it, but my TV is broken and I didn't want to worry about gamecasts, so I just decided to check back in in 15 minutes.

15 minutes later I checked in and Felix was perfect through seven. I sat still for a minute, then immediately got up and sprinted 10 blocks to the nearest store with a TV. In flip flops. I got there just in time to hear ESPN say "Felix Hernandez is perfect through 8." I told the guy at the counter to switch the channel to Root immediately. He looked at me and said "I dunno dude, I'm waiting for the USA-Mexico game. Whats on Root?" and all I could say was "Felix Hernandez is perfect through 8." He jumped to the remote and changed the channel as fast as I have ever seen anybody do.

I called my dad immediately. He picked up and the first thing I said was "Are you near a TV?" He said yeah and I said, "Turn it on right now. Felix is perfect through 8." He said, "Oh, you're kidding me," and hung up the phone. The 9th came. I don't think I've ever been so nervous in my life. My heart was pounding so hard I could feel it in my entire body. Felix blew through the first batter. In the middle of the second batter, I noticed some girls at another table who clearly couldn't care less about baseball, completely transfixed. Another guy sat down next to me and said, "Is he perfect so far?" and I couldn't even respond. Second batter. Ground ball to Brendan Ryan. Throw to Justin Smoak. Two down. I thought I was nervous before. I was shaking uncontrollably.

The 27th batter. Felix started him with two breaking balls outside for balls. All I could think was "Come on Felix." My hands were clenched so hard they had fallen asleep. Next pitch. Slider. Swing for a strike. It starts to hit me that this could be it. Next pitch is a breaking ball for a called strike. My mind goes blank and time slows to a crawl. 2-2. Felix paints the inside corner for a called third strike. Done, perfect game. The whole restaurant stood up and cheered. I screamed so loud a couple outside turned and looked. The guy next to me had the biggest look of shock on his face. I could not stop smiling and I just said to him "You just watched history." I called my dad immediately after and I could hear my mom crying from joy in the background.

Now that its done, there is this feeling that anything is truly possible. Felix defied Seattle and Mariners and received confirmation of his perfection. I feel like this team could make the playoffs, because I thought this would never happen and it did. Thank you Felix. You brought me hope in a way I never could have dreamed.

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