It was unfair
There is a moment in my mind when I visualize the Coliseum battles of ancient Rome. I see a poor, starving, sickened Christian. Moments ago thousands cheered as his brothers died. He is scared, unarmed, and helpless.
There is the lion. Mighty. Pristine. Proud.
The fight favors and blesses no one. The feeble Christian knows death, through excruciating pain, is imminent. All he can do is face it bravely. The lion, if pressed, can run 50 miles per hour over a short burst. Its jaws can bite with the force of 1,000 psi. It is the sleek, fierce perfection of natural evolution. This fight does neither party credit.
It was transcendant
In 1996 the Washington Huskies played the San Jose State Spartans. The Huskies, at the time still a national power, were there simply to win and not get hurt. A mismatch of those proportions would render any statistical accomplishment a glaring mockery accenting the farce this game was the moment it was scheduled.
Washington tailback Corey Dillon, ran for 222 yards. He scored on runs of 78, 48 and 4 yards. He caught a swing pass and took it 83 yards for another touchdown. He did it all in the 1st quarter. Washington led 25-0. He left the game and did not return.
No matter the venue, opponent or time true genius demands your appreciation.
It was family
Consider, if you will, this image.
This has been our decade of Felix. Halfway or so through that decade the Mariners started the King's Court, which didn't really create anything as much as it codified and gave visual organization to our love. Through that time, through mostly abject misery when Mariner fans have seen the team, their fandom and the very idea of baseball in this city dismissed by parts of its sporting populace, we have spent 15 or so days every Summer having a family meal with our favorite son. The one who made it. The one who has never once forgotten where he came from, or who loved him first and who still loves him best. He feeds off that love, and we feed off his relishment of it. It is a kind of cold fusion of pure, unabashed affection.
Felix starts at Safeco are a very, very, very, very special thing.
It was glorious
Look you want to know what happened tonight? I'll tell you what happened tonight. Actually I'll let Felix tell you what happened tonight:
Felix Hernandez: "I had the stuff to throw a perfect game (tonight) but it didn't happen."— Curtis Crabtree (@Curtis_Crabtree) April 25, 2015
From the first pitch he knew he had it. 13 pitches later he had struck out the Twins in order. 5 pitches into the second he had struck out 8 consecutive batters going back to his last start. By the time Trevor Plouffe came to bat with 2 outs in the 5th Felix had struck out 7 and thrown 45 pitches. I was beginning to feel the immense burden of trying to write about the first pitcher in history to throw 2 perfect games. Alas Plouffe singled softly to right and the Twins managed a delicate menagerie of ground balls and broken bat bleeders to squeeze out 5 hits.
Despite still obviously, terror-inducingly limping from his sore right thigh/ankle/quad/whatever Felix never showed a moment's weakness with his stuff. His velocity chart:
A roller coaster of horror for the Twins that ended at the top of as scary a peak as they saw the entire game. From the 1st pitch to the last this was Felix at his best.
It had premature fireworks
Great accomplishments are worthy of public spectacle and celebration and one of civilization's oldest ways is to put gunpowder into a tube and launch it high in the sky but wait Nelson Cruz it's not over yet the game is still going on wait that one is the biggest one in the stockpile we don't even have permission to use that in populated areas. Oh dear.
Don't like gifs? On a phone? Here's the simple set up. Phil Hughes wanted to throw it here:
Threw it here:
And the ball ended up here:
Statcast has the estimated distance as 459 feet but as of this writing, because I like to sleep at night, I don't know the exit velocity. I will settle, for now, on this:
I seriously think that may have been the hardest non-Stanton ball I've seen hit in the last 5 years.— Nathan Bishop (@NathanHBishop) April 25, 2015
It will never be better
Felix Hernandez is 29. I am, as of today, on record that if he plays out his contract with the Mariners sans major injury I believe he is the greatest single athlete in the history of this city. This is as it should be. Seattle and the Puget Sound is entering its globally influential era. We are, as they (used?) to say, the hotness. It is only fitting that this place's greatest time bear witness to its greatest sporting heroes.
It is my very great hope and desire that the Mariners sweep the Twins, who are amazingly, almost admiringly bad, and that it is the launch point of the season we have ever coveted. But even if things go wrong and the team falters, every 5 days we are in Vienna, watching Mozart conduct Don Giovanni. It is an endless cycle of masterpieces from one of the sport's indelible prodigies.
We have not yet "won". We are today more fortunate than many who have. Long live the King.