As a lifelong Mariners fan, I am not quite sure what to make of today’s epic 5-2 victory over the much-better-than-us New York Mets and their superstar ace, Johan Santana. The game was full of ups and downs, all centering around a certain Felix Hernandez. King Felix was nothing short of dominant as he mercilessly and effortlessly destroyed the Mets lineup, top to bottom. And what did he do when his offense completely let him down, as was expected? Oh, he only hit a grand slam. (That was sarcasm, folks.) Felix’s opposite-field bomb came in what was merely his 9th career at-bat, and was the first home run by a pitcher in Mariners history. In fact, he was the first AL pitcher to hit a grand slam in 37 years! Keep in mind the fact that he hit this epic blast off of one of the greatest pitchers in recent memory, two-time Cy Young winner Johan Santana. Let’s face it: the guy pisses excellence. However, tragedy struck in the 5th inning when Felix was trying to prevent Carlos Beltran from scoring from third base on a passed ball. As Beltran neared home, Felix blocked the plate and was subsequently spiked by Beltran in the calf, causing Felix to roll his ankle. It was determined that Felix had sprained his ankle on the play, which was a real bummer for everybody watching the game.
When people in the future (wait, since it’s the future, they might be robots) think of this game, they will look at King Felix as the true hero, as he provided the offense and the defense that secured the Mariners a much-needed victory. However, the real hero in this game was the often-disappointing Willie Bloomquist. No, that was not a typo. I repeat myself; Willie Bloomquist was the true unsung hero. Maybe its because I have such low expectations of him, but he really surprised me today. Bloomquist is kind of known as being a waste of space in Seattle, as he has always been somewhat of a utility idiot on the diamond. However, if he deserves praise and/or respect for one thing, its that he plays baseball with the brain of an eight-year-old. Bloomquist has always played with a love for the game, which is ironic, because baseball has obviously never loved him back. Bloomquist isn’t out there for the money; he’s just out there to have fun and to try hard, like most Little League players. While this usually results in frustration and annoyance for all involved, it finally paid off today. With Hernandez on deck and two outs in the second inning, Bloomquist hit a routine grounder to David Wright, the elite Mets third-baseman. However, Wright fumbled the ball as he fielded it, but quickly recovered and threw the ball to first. As the crowd and the TV audience shifted their attention to first base, they were all shocked and amazed to see Slick Willie hustling and bustling his way past the bag before the ball arrived. While any other player would have merely jogged out such a crappy ground ball, the childlike Bloomquist ran as fast as he could to first, again conjuring images in my mind of a 10-year old gap-toothed Little Leaguer. After arriving safely at first on Wright’s error, the plate was set for Hernandez’s colossal home run. While everybody will remember King Felix’s heroics from tonight’s game, I will think of the horrible player Willie Bloomquist and how he somehow got to first base safely, keeping the inning alive and saving the day for the Mariners. And I can only hope that his parents took him out for ice cream after the game, just like any other Little League mom and dad would do.