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A feeling about Felix: perfect game premonition

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel had a feeling that Wednesday's Mariners game was going to be special. And that feeling was confirmed once Felix Hernandez started dominating on the mound.

"I tweeted out in the seventh inning 'If you can get off work and get down here, be here...because history is about to happen.' And it sure did."

The perfect game that followed was a first for Felix and the Mariners.

Felix was due

Art says he could've gone to the Seahawks practice on Wednesday. Or watched the Huskies run drills. But he decided to go Safeco Field because  it was a day game against a weak-hitting team and he knew that Felix was irked at himself.

"He had a bad game the previous game. He blew a five-run lead against the Angels on August 10. And they lost that game. And normally, when Felix gets a 5-0 lead, it's a lock. So, he was mad at himself. And I just felt like Tampa was barely a better-hitting team than the Mariners. So, I went to the game."

And, boy, was he glad he went!

"After the second inning watching Felix just make Tampa look helpless, I tweeted out 'Does this feel like no-hitter Wednesday?' And it was true because Felix just kept getting more and more dominant. The velocity of his fast ball was 92 mph in the first three innings, 93 mph in the second third of innings, and in the final three it was 94 mph. He was getting stronger and better as the game went on. So, I tweeted out in the seventh inning 'If you can get off work and get down here, be here...because history is about to happen.' And it sure did."

There have only been 23 perfect games in Major League history. Three of them have happened this season. And two of them have happened at Safeco Field.

There's something about Safeco

Art says it's been an interesting few months at Safeco Field.

"On April 21st, Chicago's Philip Humber pitched a perfect game. Then there was the six-pitcher no-hitter that the Mariners laid on the Dodgers in June. And now this. This one was expectable because all of us who'd followed Felix had seen his maturity, seen his dominance. This year, he may be the most dominant pitcher in the American League - he and Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers. And I think that Felix is now in the Cy Young hunt this year."

Art says the sunshine at Safeco may also be a factor.

"Some players will say it's hard to hit at Safeco in the daylight. Sometimes it's hard to pick up the speed and rotation of the ball. But I'll leave it to (KING 5 meteorologist) Jeff Renner and other people who are smarter than me to determine if the sun is actually brighter in Seattle than it is anywhere else on days like Wednesday."

Felix's future

This year, Felix has reiterated his desire to stay in Seattle and try to lead the team to an appearance in the World Series. Art says that bodes well for fans, but he also has a warning.

"He has expressed more irrational passion for staying in Seattle than any other baseball player I know. And if he's being sincere - and there's no reason to doubt him - maybe this is the guy to invest in if the Mariner ownership really wants to do it because he wants to be here. He genuinely likes where he is and what he's doing. So, that would be priority No. 1. But I would also tell Mariner fans: 'Wait a minute. This guy is going to be, maybe, the best available pitcher at age 27 in his free agency year. And don't be surprised if he waits to see how things go. Because to sign now, may be denying him millions that he could make from the Yankees, the Red Sox or any of the other rich teams that want to prey on the Mariners, which we've seen once or twice before.'"

You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest.

Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.
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