Seattle Mariners All-Star pitcher Felix Hernandez has been the undeniable face of the franchise since he came up to the big leagues in 2005.
Since his tenure in the emerald city, he has been donned with the nickname “King Felix” purely due to his dominant performances on the mound and his strikeouts totals every season.
Thus began a very special promotion at Safeco Field during the 2011 season. On May 28, 2011, Mariners marketing director began the “King’s Court”, which is cheering squad for Hernandez located on the foul territory side of the left field pole at the ballpark.
King’s Court has become immensely popular over the past three seasons so much so that at the end of the 2011 season it expanded from two to three sections.
Fans in the King’s Court wear yellow shirts that say “King” on them with a picture of Hernandez his pitching stance replacing the “I” in King.
They also hold up a “K” sign for every strikeout that Hernandez records while starting at Safeco. Based on Felix’s career, that is a ton almost every game he pitches in his home ballpark.
And the strikeouts will continue to come for Mariners ace who is only 28 years of age. Hernandez recorded more than 200 strikeouts the past five seasons and it looks as though he is well on his way this season to have six straight seasons added on.
King’s Court will for sure be in the corner of his right eye every time. It’s the only known promotional fanbase that revolves around one player rather than one team.
Hernandez reportedly said he is a fan of the cheering squad, but learns to keep his focus on what pitches to throw on an 0-2 count even though the Court cheers for a fastball almost every single time.
But the matter of a pitcher enjoying a small section dedicated to him is something to be proud of. A section of about 1,500 spectators and fans give Hernandez an ear full of positive energy and the batter headaches.
King’s Court was their for King Felix’s perfect game during the 2012 season. On August 15, Hernandez gave the section more of a reason to be on top of its cheering with twelve recorded strikeouts, 27 batters faced and 27 batters set down.
It was magical moment for Hernandez’s career and power pitching performance that erupted Safeco.
More magical moments can certainly be possible for King’s Court and Hernandez, who as mentioned is still in his twenties.
Another perfect game or no-hitter is not certain but never ruled out. More importantly, King’s Court could witness Felix’s 3,000 strikeout, who is on pace to make it to the historical feat with 1,874 K’s so far.
The Mariners this season are also in the thick of a playoff push so with that in mind the season might be extended for King’s Court knowing Hernandez will pitch in more than one game in any series.
There is no doubt King Court’s is a fun and one of the more exciting fan bases in all of baseball.