With a rare day off, I was supposed to get up at 10am, check for cheap tickets to the Mariners afternoon game, and make a day of it in Seattle. It didn’t bother me too much that my carefully calculated plan went amiss; at 11am, it was just late enough that I’d have a hard time getting ready, sitting through an hour-long commute to the park, and arriving in time for the first pitch at 12:40.
There will be plenty of Felix days, I thought.
Several minutes later, I shuffled over to the computer to catch up with Twitter. No matter how early I make myself get up (7:30-8am on any given day), I always seem to miss the first stream of baseball news from the East Coast. Today, however, the news of the day waited until I was awake to break the Internet.
“MLB suspends Giants left fielder Melky Cabrera 50-games for testing positive for testosterone,” Twitter told me. I blinked. I read it again. Surely that was a typo. Perhaps they meant Miguel Cabrera, or Asdrubal Cabrera, or Orlando Cabrera.
I couldn’t read Twitter fast enough. Melky is stupid. Melky is brave for confessing. Melky is contemptible for confessing after covering this up. The Giants’ season is over. Long live the Dodgers.
In big moments—World Series wins, perfect games, devastating injuries, and heartbreaking trades—I usually try to take a step back and evaluate my own opinions and emotions before exposing them online. This morning, I sat back and watched the flood of tweets pull my heart in different directions. It was too much to handle in that moment. It still is.
Before Melky could break too many hearts, it was time for afternoon baseball. As per usual, MLB had scheduled the Giants and Mariners games mere minutes apart, but today I couldn’t bring myself to watch Tim Lincecum try to salvage a series against the Nationals. Instead, I turned on my TV, where Felix Hernandez had just breezed through the first inning on seven pitches.
Cool, I thought. A routine start for the King. I regretted not being in my usual spot at the Safe, but figured that as brilliant as Felix was, this would be an easy win, a strong start, nothing extraordinary.
By the 3rd inning, the tweets lauding his pitch count and prowess caught my attention. 24 pitches through 9 batters. An RBI single by Jesus Montero. Okay, this was getting cooler, and with Melky still on my mind, I was growing more upset with myself for passing up a chance to catch the game live.
Two innings later, it was apparent that Felix had something special. He’s made incredible starts this year: a two-hitter in Yankee Stadium, a 12-strikeout complete game against Texas, a flawless 8 innings spoiled by Brandon League’s blown save. This was different.