I was delighted to read about the A’s shortstop Marcus Semien, who went to high school and university in my old adopted hometown of Berkeley, California and has returned home this year to play in the Coliseum. Young Marcus will turn 25 in September and is hitting .307 with 6 stolen bases as the regular Oakland shortstop.
How does this relate to Venezuela? Yesterday, Marcus went yard twice on Seattle’s King of the Hill, Félix Hernández of Valencia. And that’s all that Oakland got.
Wearing a bright pink long-sleeve t-shirt under his jersey (in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Day and Mother’s Day), The King struck out Sam Fuld on a full-count fastball in the fifth to reach 2,000 career strikeouts.
In the King’s Court, his personal fan section, Félix’s subjects went wild, replacing the standard yellow “K” placards with bright pink ones in honor of the day.
Félix got one more strikeout and completed 7 innings to run his record to 6-0, while his ERA remains a miserly 1.89. It actually rose a notch thanks to the heroics of Mr. Semien of Berkeley.
The King’s final pitch was a nasty curveball in the dirt (according to MLB’s Gameday, it broke 14 inches!) which Eric Sogard swung at and missed. Hernández’s compatriot Jesus Sucre, Seattle’s catcher on the day, blocked the ball. A’s manager and former catcher Bob Melvin protested, briefly (I know because I streamed the audio feed from KXRO out of Abderdeen).
But Melvin, an old Cal-Berkeley alum himself, surrendered, for as Major League Baseball is re-discovering this season, against the King, Resistance is Futile.
Felix told El Universal in Venezuela: Above all it was a really special moment, doing this on Mother’s Day. My mom is in Venezuela; I dedicate this to her and I’m really happy,” said Hernandez. (“Primero que nada fue un momento bastante especial, lograrlo un día de las madres, mi mamá está en Venezuela, se lo dedico a mi mamá y estoy súper contento”.)