Felix Hernandez was still giddy when talking about his perfect game this afternoon in the Mariners clubhouse. Hernandez reached into his locker and pulled out a “proclamation” paper signed by King County executive Dow Constantine, proclaiming that today, King County will officially be known as “King Felix County.”
“This is unbelievalble, huh?” Hernandez said. That’s crazy. I love it, man, love it!
“See? I’m part of Seattle. I can’t go anywhere.”
Hernandez spent yesterday taking phone calls from former teammates Freddy Garcia, Adrian Beltre, Raul Ibanez, Jose Vidro and others. He says he had 120 messages waiting on his phone and about 300 missed calls after throwing the perfect game.
The first thing he did after shutting out the Rays was call his wife, Sandra, back in Venezuela. Then, he went home and tried to sleep.
“I went home, laid down and just said to myself: ‘I did it. Finaly, I did it’,” Hernandez said.
He has a DVD of the perfect game, but has yet to watch it.
“I still can’t believe it,” he said. “It’s pretty special. And to do it here at Safeco Field, in front of these guys, that was pretty special, too.”
Hernandez said he’s looking forward to the expanded King’s Court for his next start on Tuesday. The expanded “Supreme Court” will apparently be allowed to be a free-cheering, let-loose type of environment just like the left field “King’s Court” is now. That should be quite the departure from the regular, more laid back atmosphere typically found at the ballpark. The first 34,000 fans will receive a yellow “King of Perfection” t-shirt and a “K” card to wave.
“It’ll be crazy,” Hernandez said. “I’ll need photos of those people.”
Mariners catcher John Jaso had a bit of a more laid back off-day than Hernandez did, doing all of his phone talking with family members.
But Jaso is also still on a bit of a high from the performance. I asked him whether he’d felt the same type of pressure that pitchers go through in these things as the innings roll into the eighth and ninth.
“The jitters were definitely there,” Jaso said.
It got worse in the bottom of the seventh when Brendan Ryan started fouling off pitch after pitch in a nine-pitch at-bat that finally became an inning-ending groundout. At that point, Jaso admitted he was going a bit crazy in the dugout trying to keep his mind from racing and just wanted Ryan to get the at-bat over with so he could get back out on the field.
“It was like ‘Do something already!’,” Jaso said.
But the fact it was still a 1-0 game, he said, helped him focus more on the basics.
“Especially going into the ninth inning, I had to calm it down a little bit because it was a 1-0 game,” Jaso said. “I told myself the important thing was helping Felix get the win and whatever else happens is just icing on the cake. But that win is what was important there. Yeah, I had to get the butterflies out some way. I would have had butterflies if it was a 10-0 game for sure. Luckily, it was a 1-0 game and I just thought about getting the win like it was any other game.”
Jaso used to catch for the Rays, who have now had three perfect games and a no-hitter thrown against them the past 37 months. I asked him whether the Rays used to talk about it amongst themsleves and whether he had any clue as to why a squad that usually contends keeps having these games thrown against them.
“I think with Tampa it was always about the pitching and defense,” he said. “The hitting always had to be timely. And the situational stuff on the offensive side had to really come into play. But what’s going on with that, or whatever? I can’t tell you. It’s just a weird thing. You can’t take anything away from him because Felix could have done that against any other lineup. His stuff was unbelievable.”
In other news, Charlie Furbush is back up with the squad after missing a month with triceps tightness. Shawn Kelley has been optioned to Class AAA, namely because the Mariners wat to look at younger arms like Carter Capps and Stephen Pryor.
Don’t forget, they can call Kelley back up in a couple of weeks when rosters expand on Sept. 1.
Furbush took a bit longer to get back to the squad than he’d initially hoped, but says he wanted to make sure he felt OK before making the move back up. That happened his second-to-last game with Class AAA Tacoma earlier in the week.
19 Darin Mastroianni CF
7 Joe Mauer (L) C
16 Josh Willingham LF
33 Justin Morneau (L) 1B
18 Ryan Doumit (S) DH
24 Trevor Plouffe 3B
22 Matt Carson RF
8 Jamey Carroll 2B
25 Pedro Florimon (S) SS
53 Nick Blackburn RHP
13 Dustin Ackley (L) 2B
55 Michael Saunders (L) CF
15 Kyle Seager (L) 3B
27 John Jaso (L) DH
17 Justin Smoak (S) 1B
30 Miguel Olivo C
12 Trayvon Robinson (S) LF
10 Eric Thames (L) RF
26 Brendan Ryan SS
18 Hisashi Iwakuma RHP