Felix Hernandez’s Everett Rehab In Pictures (Better Late Than Never?)

Two Sundays ago, Felix Hernandez had a rehab start up in Everett with the Aquasox. I had tickets for that game for ages, because a a very old friend of mine from Portland was coming up for a few days, and I took an extended weekend so we could hang out. I wanted to take her to a Mariners game, but both the Ms and Rainiers were out of town before the All Star break, so I went to the next best option: the always-enjoyable Everett Aquasox. Then, the day before she was supposed to be up here, the Sox announced that Felix was going to have a start up there on his way back from injury, and suddenly, this casual little game we had planned to go to became a Very Big Deal. So Sunday around 2, we loaded up on iced coffee, hopped into her mini Cooper, and took a drive to Everett.

After parking and being told we couldn’t bring food in (a rule I don’t remember being in place, but that is neither here nor there), we managed to get in the gates and were greeted by a massive throng of people just inside, all waiting for Felix and the Sox to hit the field. The team lockers are in the building below, and the players have to walk out of this and across the end of a football field, and then through a set of gates to get to the field. Normally, this isn’t such a big problem for anyone, but that day, it was Felix, and people were waiting.

IMG_7905IMG_7907Felix braved a massive crowd to get through. You can see K cards the team had made up just for the occasion. It was also WSU day, so there were K cards in red and white as well.

After Felix was safely on the field and the guard rails were pulled back, my friend Wendy and I went to find our seats, and I was a bit dismayed to find out that I had overestimated the reach of the press box’s shade; we wound up sat in the sun. Fortunately, it wasn’t too hot, but we still had a bit of a challenge keeping ourselves shaded. Wendy loves the sun and was mostly fine. I wore my light sweater over my head and shoulders, taking it off occasionally when the clouds obscured the sun. I managed to avoid sunburn, thankfully, everything but my eyes (I kept having to take off my sunglasses to take pictures). The team on the field, from our seats.

IMG_7908And Felix taking some warmup shots.

IMG_7909IMG_7910The grounds crew comes out to make sure the mound is in good condition.

IMG_7911IMG_7912Because the team had printed out so many K cards, the entirety of Everett Memorial was the King’s Court. Even people who were sat out on the right field berm were waving them around.

IMG_7913And more photos of Felix in an Aquasox uni…

IMG_7915IMG_7916IMG_7917Felix strolls back to the dugout prior to the 4th inning…

IMG_7918Throwing some more…

IMG_7919IMG_7920And finally, leaving the game after pitching 3.2 innings, doffing his cap and waving it to the crowd. And yes, we were all standing.

IMG_7921IMG_7922Felix was, to be quite honest, a little creakier than I had hoped. I figured he’d just mow over single A bats, but he struggled and gave up three runs. I don’t know if he was attempting to take it easy in his 59 pitches, or if he was truly having some problems, but he assured everyone after the game that he was ready to come back on the timetable he was given. He also had a start in Tacoma, but I didn’t hear how that went.

But it doesn’t matter! Felix comes back today, for a matinee game against the White Sox, and a game that it has apparently gotten increasingly more difficult to get tickets for after his return was scheduled. I myself will not be there, though I did give some thought to showing up; but a mid-day game is a no-go for me and the job, so I’m just going to have to live vicariously through Twitter and friends. Let’s hope the King is back.

IMG_7923

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