Monday, August 15, 2005

Game Report: Mariners vs. Royals - Sweet Sixteen

Today the Royals came to Safeco Field, where they lost their sixteenth game straight, and boy, was it sweet to watch.

King Felix: 8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 11 K.

I don't think there is anything else I need to say, really.

Two of my friends were getting back from a week-long trip today, but I said, "I'm buying tickets to Monday's game. You *have* to see this kid."

They didn't regret it.

Actually, there is more I could say. Yuniesky Betancourt is a MACHINE. That kid is so awesome -- seeing him working the middle infield behind Felix was an awesome glimpse into the future of the Mariners, and a good one. He was all over the place getting the ball in ways that Bret Boone could never dream of. Beyond his amazing ability to pick up grounders and fire them to first, he also had incredible range just covering the field -- in the ninth inning he caught a ball in short center field that seemed guaranteed to fall for a single.

Given, the Kansas City Royals aren't the best team in baseball or anything, but most of the people in their lineup have somewhat respectable batting averages, and Felix made them all look retarded. Every batter except Mike Sweeney and Terrence Long was struck out at least once, and several of them struck out twice. The only inning where Felix didn't get a strikeout was the 6th. After Mark Teahen went down for the 9th strikeout, at the end of the 5th inning, the music people played "Another One Bites The Dust", and it was entirely appropriate for once.

There were four separate groups of people in the stands with K signs that we could see from our seats on the third-base side: the same KKKKKKING people who were there for his first start, and then three other groups up in right-center. One was really funny, they were "Felix's Fiesta: Que? Que? Que? Que? Que?" and they all had sombreros and whatnot. Then there was a group with white posters with red K's, and a group with yellow posters with brown? K's, which I didn't even notice for a while.

Mike Morse seemed pretty glad to be off the bench, hitting a home run in his first at-bat of the game. Overall he was 2-for-4, scoring two runs and hitting the homer and a double. It just makes me so angry that Hargrove benched him in favor of Spiezio all weekend. Richie Sexson also pounded a home run, as did Ichiro (!). The Mariners won 11-3 overall. It was nice to go to a game for once and really feel good about the team, even if it was the Royals they were pounding on. And it was also nice to feel great about the Mariners defense, after watching the incompetent Royals defense do things like dropping an easy pop fly to first, or overthrow second when trying to get a basestealer, or letting Willie Bloomquist get a triple.

I'm sorry that there isn't more I can say to describe Felix's pitching, but really, the numbers speak for themselves. He made it look so easy to keep lobbing those 97 mph strikes across the plate. You can bet that I'll be at every home Felix start that I can make it to from now on; infact, the attendance being only 31,908 at today's game is a crime. I'm sure the White Sox and Yankees games he starts in later this month will be dead sellouts, at least.

Before the game, I went to the King Street Bar & Oven again to meet up with my friends Megan, Josh, and Ficus (since I had their tickets), and to hang out with some of the folks from USS Mariner again. Jonah Keri wore his Nippon Ham Fighters jersey, so he's totally my hero now. Jeff Shaw is crazy awesome cool and I had a lot of fun geeking out with him about Japanese baseball and books and stuff. I even managed to talk to Derek rather than being scared of him this time. Honestly, the Derek and Jonah Show is an awful lot like the Josh and Ficus Show, except that Derek and Jonah know a ton more about baseball than Josh and Ficus do, and they have crazier stories (and drink more beer). There were assorted other USSM'ers there who were pretty cool, but whose names I've already forgotten because it was hard to catch some names in the first place. Jon Wells showed us the great Felix picture he's going to use on the next Grand Salami magazine, and Conor complimented me on my choice of shirt (Cameron, Mets).

All in all, a fun day.

Oh! I have some jokes I thought up during the game. Don't hurt me.

Q: What's Felix Hernandez's favorite food?
A: K-sadillas!

Q: What's Felix's favorite vehicle?
A: A K-car! (A nice Reliant automobile.)

Q: If Felix went to college, where would he go?
A: K's Western.

Q: Where's Felix's favorite place to vacation?
A: The K-man islands!

Q: Where do Felix's defeated batters play video games?
A: In the Are-K'd.

During the game I also noted that it's a real good thing players aren't always required to play the position of their initials. Dave Hansen for the DH would be just fine, but I'm not so sure Scott Spiezio at shortstop or Ryan Franklin in right field would work so well. Adrian Beltre would get plenty of at-bats, but Chris Snelling would always get caught stealing. Ichiro does infact get plenty of infield singles, though. Bret Boone should have been walked a lot more. For the rest of the outfield we'd have to reach to other teams and put Lew Ford in left and Cliff Floyd in center, I guess.

Oh, and Ficus helped me identify several more at-bat songs during the game, so I should be updating my list soon. Yay!

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