Okay, so maybe not the worst, but the bottom of the 5th was bad. Felix Hernandez was throwing goose eggs and had already given up four runs on four hits with three walks. His location was off and his pitches looked flat—flat like the contents of an old 2-liter bottle of root beer from last week flat. San Francisco first baseman, Brandon Belt had already roped an RBI single off Felix in the first and looked eager to add to the Giants’ pizza party. He hit a bomb and made it 5-0.
I was sipping on a bottle of Coors NA at the Sloop when the bartender saw that Felix was imploding and decided to cheer us up with a bizarre story about a homeless guy that shimmied in between the floors of the Ballard Smoke Shop and fell through the ceiling of the bar, picked himself up and dusted himself off and demanded a beer from the awestruck bartender. Felix threw a walk.
“Can’t explain it, a homeless guy’s in Ballard,” a gravel-throated and fish-gilled pooka faced fisherman said, “now that Nicklesville was driven out by the bourgeoisie, I find that damn near impossible.”
“Well,” The bartender responded, “Get used to disappointment.”
A young man entered the bar and sat next to me. He handed the bartender his student ID from the Czech Republic. NO DICE. He then handed over his expired American driver’s license and said, “Here’s my driver’s license, but it’s expired.” NO DICE. Felix was rushing things. “I found my passport,” the kid said. CANNOLI! The kid gets his beer.
Felix walks Andrew McKutchen.
Mariners catcher, the young and vibrant Mike Marjama used an MV (mound visit, duh) to hush the troubled veteran. “Pull him,” I said. “Pull. Him.” However, Mariners manager, Scott Servais was too busy talking with his pitching coach, Mel Stottlemyre Jr. to hear me from Ballard. In hindsight, I realize now that they were too busy getting their story straight about blaming the weather for Felix’s poor outing to notice the obvious—that Felix couldn’t beat Panda.
Pablo “Panda” Sandoval to the dish. Pitch after pitch, the futility of The King’s situation became obvious. “Shit,” Some old voice rebounded off the glass of the Sloop Yacht Club trophy case. “Shit on shit, he don’t have shit, got shit, or will produce the shit he needs to get this guy.”
“The old fucker’s right,” I said to myself.
Panda’s blast landed in the Bay for three more runs.
At this point, it’s 8-0. Felix walked off the field; I’m not even sure if Servias came out to take the ball from him; he may have just taken himself out.
James Pazos took the King’s place and hocked a meatball down the pipe and Brandon Crawford said, “Oh hell yeah,” and crushed another dinger to right field. 20 something pitches later the inning was over.
The game ended 10-1.
Nearly a 40-minute inning. A Slooper waste of life. An ending of the guard. Yet another fall of the King. Hope hangs in the balance. Optimism muted.
Luckily, there’s baseball tomorrow, and in a winter wonderland and not in the hell of today.