The end of another week is upon us....well not so much for those of us who work one or both days of the weekend. We tend to be a bit less effusive in giving thanks for Friday's appearance on the calendar. We are happy to see it - to be sure - but not giddy about it.
I think that this season I would be giddy if I was a fan of the Seattle Mariners. Not because of their performance on the field - where more often than not they are nothing short of dreadful. However if I am a Mariners fan and I attend their home games at Safeco Field then I have had the chance to witness not one but two perfect games this season. Philip Humber of the White Sox threw one against the M's way back when in the season's first half and on Wednesday afternoon the King, Felix Hernandez, delighted the home folks by throwing the franchise's first-ever El Perfecto. Hernandez beat the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 and in route to his perfect game struck out twelve....including five of the final six he faced. I did not bother to look it up but I think that in the history of Major League Baseball a total of perhaps two dozen perfect games have ever been pitched. Two of the three thrown this season have occurred in the same ballpark. I know not whether such a thing has ever happened before. Hopefully my friend and baseball guru Schiff will pop by this space today, read at least this far, do the requisite research and share the results of his search with his unenlightened friend (and anyone else similarly situated). No pressure Schiff....
Hernandez is one of my favorite non-Yankees. I enjoy watching him pitch because in spite of the fact that predicting just how woeful the M's shall be annually has become as easy as finding a coffee stand or predicting a rain shower in Seattle he never doe anything but his level best. He is a professional in the truest sense of the word. Pitching for the M's is his job. He takes it seriously. Every fifth day, regardless of where they are in the standings, he toes the rubber and performs at the highest possible level. This year, the M's started playing out the Spring at some point between Memorial Day and Father's Day. Matters not at all to King Felix.
Wednesday was not as good a day for another of my favorite non-Yankees. Melky Cabrera had a star-crossed couple of seasons in the Bronx - having first been inartfully foisted upon Joe Torre and a veteran club as the "de facto" replacement for Bernie Williams....while Bernie was still on the club. Cabrera's career as a Yankee began dreadfully but by the time they put together their most recent World Series-winning season in 2009, the Melkman had become a dependable fourth outfielder. They traded him after that season to Atlanta because one tour of duty in pinstripes for Javy Vasquez apparently was not enough. Cabrera scuffled around the past couple of years before ending up in San Francisco this season. Just about five weeks ago, he was the the All-Star Game MVP. Now, his season is over courtesy of a fifty-game suspension for violating the MLB drug policy.
A great man once observed that, "Down here there's just winners and losers and you don't want to get caught on the wrong side of that line." Same holds true on the baseball diamond. It too is a place defined by lines. How you perform within them and what you do to make sure you do not step outside of them makes all the difference. Do note feel compelled to take my word for it. Ask Felix Hernandez.
Better yet, ask Melky Cabrera. He has an unexpected surplus of time on his hands these days. I am sure he is available to talk.