Aug 15, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez (34) celebrates with first baseman Justin Smoak (17) and Dustin Ackley (13) after the final out of a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE
The King is crowned.
At 82 degrees, with the city surrounded by deep, blue mountains, contrasting with buildings bleached white by sun reflected off the sparkling waters of the Puget Sound, it was a perfect day in Seattle.
And with the city's best breeze whipping through the ballpark, Safeco Field was the perfect place to witness perfection.
People started to notice, early in the game.
"Felix is pitching pretty well."
In the 5th inning a father finally broke down and told his son what could happen, jinx be damned.
"There's never been one in Seattle."
In the 6th, a boyfriend (and alleged avid SB Nation Seattle reader), risked quietly telling his girlfriend what was afoot.
By the 7th, a shirtless man, as inebriated as only $10 beers can make someone, broke the tension, frantically running around to tell somebody, anybody, everybody what was about to happen.
Meanwhile, Felix just kept getting stronger.
Truthfully, Felix wasn't unhittable at the start. The Rays got some solid contact, and the pitcher who would be perfect wasn't exactly mowing down batters.
But The King kicked it into gear, striking out the side in the sixth to show his perfect game bid was for real. Then, in the seventh, his fastball hit 96 miles per hour, after sitting around 93 all afternoon. Yes, Felix was rising to the occasion. The best ones always do.
"Dammit Blue! You're going to squeeze him now?"
By the 8th inning the crowd was electric, Kings Court urging on their hero, fans pleading with the ump to just let history play out, and all the boys and girls there for summer camp day just enjoying the chance to scream about something.
"Please! Please just give us this!"
And Felix refused to disappoint, getting strikeouts and groundouts, each out more of a relief than a victory.
"I called it in the fifth inning!"
And in the ninth inning Felix, like all pitchers going for a perfect game, got to face the bottom of the Rays order and when two pinch hitters couldn't crack Felix, everyone knew Sean Rodriguez wouldn't be able to as well.
And with that, he was the best the city had ever had. Better than Randy Johnson or Jamie Moyer. Better than Edgar Martinez, better than Alex Rodriguez or even Griffey. He was the best Seattle had ever had.
He was, perfect.