Hailing The Rain King

One of ten American League All-Stars making their first-time appearance on an All-Star roster, the Seattle Mariners’ Felix Hernandez is easily one of the best stories.  121 games (and nearly five seasons) into his career, it is easy to forget that the native Venezuelan is all of 23 years old.

The national media is spreading the news about this one-time can’t-miss prospect who, it turns out, is not missing his opportunity to blossom into one the game’s best starting pitchers.

Jim Caple of ESPN.com discusses Hernandez’s new-found maturity on the mound (and gives some insight into the origins of the King Felix nickname).  And Ted Keith of SI.com profiles his breakout season during the first half of 2009.

Felix Hernandez

Felix Hernandez

The Mariners are not likely to hang around all season, but the fact that they still remain only 3.5 games out of first place in the A.L. West is in large part due to the pitching of Hernandez. 

Realistically, it seems doubtful that Hernandez is any more likely to remain a lifelong Mariner than Griffey, A-Rod, or Randy Johnson did, but one can hope.  And by “one”, I mean anyone who enjoys the fact that elite players can enjoy stellar careers outside of New York, Boston, Chicago, or Los Angeles.

In the meantime, be sure to check him out when the Mariners come to town.  When he gets that big free agent contract someday to move to one of those larger markets, you can always say that you remember when “The King” was busy earning the jewels in his crown from a rainy destination in the Pacific Northwest.

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~ by acm213 on July 6, 2009.

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