On Thursday night, Felix Hernandez made what's likely to be the final start of his Seattle Mariners career. He did it at home, at what's now called T-Mobile Park, against the Oakland Athletics. Predictably, the Mariners did their best to make it a special night for their longtime ace.
That began with a slick video tribute to Hernandez, who has been undoubtedly the brightest spot for the Mariners franchise during his run in the pacific northwest:
☀️🍭🌈#HappyFélixDay pic.twitter.com/ecIg5vJ4n8— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) September 26, 2019
Later, the rest of the Mariners -- who donned shirts honoring Hernandez -- permitted him to take the field alone as a sign of respect.
Hernandez's fan section -- the well-named King's Court -- also played a part throughout the night. Hernandez acknowledged the group before his first pitch:
Long live the King. #HappyFélixDay👑 pic.twitter.com/EhGPOdBHIE— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) September 27, 2019
And then again following a strikeout:
"That one's for you." #HappyFélixDay👑 pic.twitter.com/qxJNRIiGLV— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) September 27, 2019
To begin the sixth inning, the Mariners' fielders again allowed Hernandez to take the field (and warm up) on his own.
For as many cool moments as the night provided, Hernandez's pitching didn't quite turn back the clock. He permitted five hits and three earned runs while walking four batters and fanning just three across 5 1/3 innings. He hugged manager Scott Servais and catcher Omar Narvaez, among others, before doffing his cap to the fans on his way to the dugout.
Long live @RealKingFelix. pic.twitter.com/cs1yIhmT93— MLB (@MLB) September 27, 2019
Hernandez entered the night with a 6.51 ERA over 14 starts this season. For Hernandez's career, he'll potentially depart Seattle having started 418 times with 169 wins, two ERA titles, a Cy Young award, and six All-Star Games.