The radar gun pops as a Felix Hernandez fastball hits the high 90s. A little on the inside half perhaps, but with Kenji Johjima's reputation around the league his pitchers will get a close call every now and again.
This heat-gunning phenom began what seems like ages ago (late 2005), and is now a Major League veteran at the age of 23. He sure seems like one.
This year, the ever-smiling righty struck out 217 batters in 238 innings pitched. He would usually rack up punch outs in single games instead of being orthodox about his totals.
What separates him from the league, as well as other elite hurlers such as Tim Lincecum is just that; he's unorthodox. From his sideways cap to his and Lincecum's funky deliveries, unorthodox is becoming the norm for the Major Leagues.
In an era where the batter who lets his stick rest at the oddest angle is the best hitter (Pujols), maybe it is these signature styles that both separate these players from their counterparts, but make them worthy of recognition.
Felix Hernandez is worthy of this year's AL Cy Young.
He lifts his leg and coils himself up, then darts out in one smooth motion. Curveball in the dirt, hacked at, strike two.
Competing with the likes of C.C. Sabathia and Justin Verlander is always daunting, but Hernandez was 19-5 with a sparkling 2.49 ERA. Sure, he may not have Verlander's strikeouts or Sabathia's winning machine of a team, but he has something else.
He has his youth. He still smiles and pumps his fist when a great play is made in the outfield, and you just know he loves to see his teammates do well too.
He is a reminder of how baseball should be played, and sparks nostalgia of the game when it was just a game. As salaries skyrocket, baseball is undoubtedly a business.
This is not true for Felix Hernandez, the happy-go-lucky hurler who pitches for Seattle and may just win the Cy Young award this year.
Fastball down the middle, strike three called.