Felix the person

Dave · November 26, 2006 at 12:37 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Geoff Baker pens a long and interesting column from Velencia, Venezuela after spending time with Felix Hernandez and his family at their home in South America. While there’s nothing earth shattering in the piece, it is enjoyable to read, and a huge step up from the offseason stuff we grew accustomed to from Bob Finnigan.

And, if you’re wondering what Felix’s workout program is like, well, let’s just say it’s not a big surprise.


49 Responses to “Felix the person”

  1. Colorado M's Fan on November 26th, 2006 1:27 pm

    Good, albeit long article. No one will ever confuse me with a professor of geography, but I was surprised to see that Felix lived in such a dangerous area. The part about the truck blockade was particlarly amazing.

  2. Newby on November 26th, 2006 1:46 pm

    I know hes a young guy and everything but this part seems like he may not be destined for the greatness we all envision.

    “All I do all day is sleep and watch TV,” Hernandez says with a shrug and a grin. “I don’t even want to think about baseball. Sleeping and watching TV. That’s what I want to do.”

    The best of the best don’t think like this.

  3. F-Rod on November 26th, 2006 1:47 pm

    If your gonna bring 13 bags of goods home, wouldn’t you consider a flat screen tv or two?

  4. Colorado M's Fan on November 26th, 2006 1:54 pm

    #2, yeah I thought that too. Although, there are a lot of all-star caliber players across pro-sports who only do it because they are good at it. Michael Jordan was one such player.

  5. Mr. Egaas on November 26th, 2006 1:58 pm

    He’s a Jr.?

    So he actually is a prince…

  6. EnglishMariner on November 26th, 2006 2:00 pm

    A Prince maybe, but after reading the article, I think I’d rather stay a pauper in my humble Manchester instead of living with the threat of my parents being kidnapped because I am famous in Valencia!

  7. Newby on November 26th, 2006 2:06 pm

    #4- HUH???? Jordan was the hardest working athlete in sports.

  8. Colorado M's Fan on November 26th, 2006 2:17 pm

    #7, Jordan also left the game in his prime to play for a minor league baseball team.

    In the Felix article, Felix talks about how his real passion was playing basketball, but he ended up playing baseball because his mom wanted him to.

  9. Lifelong_Fan on November 26th, 2006 2:19 pm

    I sure hope he starts working out and getting off the coach, or else we may have a Bartolo Colon look-a-like next season.

  10. imissbluewave on November 26th, 2006 2:20 pm

    Yeah, but even if the article says the basketball was Felix’s first love, it also talks about Felix wanting to play winter ball, and ends with “I played baseball because it was fun. I enjoyed it. It wasn’t about having money. . . . I like playing baseball, so I play. All I wanted to do was play and have fun. And that’s what I’m still doing. So, for me, I’m very happy. I don’t need more.”

    So it’s not like Felix is upset about the way things worked out.

  11. lisa gray on November 26th, 2006 2:44 pm


    i can understand wanting to do nothing for a month or so after the season ends to just relax, but

    it might could have been a lot smarter for the Ms to let him play winter ball. because sitting around sleeping all day, watching tv and drinking beer is worse. he gonna be fat and out of shape when he shows up on jan 10 that’s fer SHER

  12. msb on November 26th, 2006 3:35 pm

    oh, no that would never happen 🙂

    oh, to have the resiliant body of the 20 year old.

  13. bellacaramella on November 26th, 2006 3:38 pm

    11: Sitting around all day and drinking beer worked for Babe Ruth. Too bad Felix doesn’t bat left-handed. They could convert him to a slugger and have him play left field.

    I don’t know what to make of this article, other than to say it lowered my expectations about the guy. He has all the responsibilities of a full-grown man but still needs his mother to get him out of bed in the morning.

  14. Mr. Egaas on November 26th, 2006 3:39 pm

    Is it possible that I have a healthier lifestyle than a major league pitcher? Really?

  15. Russ on November 26th, 2006 3:42 pm

    I wonder how many years he will waste, having seasons far below his potential, before he figures out that tv doesn’t do a body good?

    I laugh at his arrogence. All of his peers have natural talent. All of his comparables worked harder then he does. I just have to wonder when his natural talent will carry him no further? Last season is a good indicator that his natural abilities will not be enough to succeed on a consistent basis. I’m not saying he had a poor season but there are a few rookies who have less talent and won more games.

    I know, I know…the W-L column isn’t the only thing that shows his greatness (or at least potential) but in the end, only teams that win alot go to the World Series. Frankly I don’t care about any of his stats without wins to go with them. He can have gaudy stats and I still won’t be impressed in October if he didn’t win 20 games and do his fair share to get the M’s closer. Yeah, Felix’s fare share is 20 if you consider his talent. I’d like to see about 15-17 from others and Felix needs to carry what he is capable of.

  16. jglongball1 on November 26th, 2006 3:43 pm

    While the article was interesting, I was pretty disappointed to read about his apparent lack of off-season conditioning – more disappointed that the Mariners don’t appear to be doing anything about it. (To be fair, the author was in Venezuela in October, and everyone should get a little downtime. But really, you can get a decent off-season pitching workout with a yoga mat and a couple of med-balls – plus some motivation….)

    This could make for a GREAT reality show for mlb.tv in the off season – have Felix move in with Roger Clemens! It’d be like Wife Swap only with a better ending (if a bit of Roger’s attitude and work ethic rubs off on the Dauphin).

  17. SoulofaCitizen on November 26th, 2006 4:02 pm

    I’ve never understood why teams don’t make greater investments in trainers. If Felix reaches his potential, he’ll sign a fifty million dollar contract some day, or more, but the Mariners won’t spend $30,000-40,000 to send a decent trainer down to Venezuela for a few months to ensure that he arrives in the best possible shape that he can. This assumes Felix would be responsive, but they out to at least challenge him to respond.

  18. msb on November 26th, 2006 4:02 pm

    did Wirtala send him home with a workout & he’s not doing it? did he get sent home without one? Or is he doing it, and just didn’t mention it to Baker?

  19. Mike Snow on November 26th, 2006 4:03 pm

    Jordan also left the game in his prime to play for a minor league baseball team.

    Perhaps you should consider some of the stories about why Jordan “retired” the first time.

    Whether or not Jordan loved any particular sport, or which one he loved best, what’s universally agreed about him is that he’s a driven competitor, in basically everything he does. The relaxed attitude of Felix in this article is completely foreign to Jordan’s character.

  20. msb on November 26th, 2006 4:11 pm

    from a 2004 PI article:
    Missions pitching coach Scott Budner said Hernandez also has traits similar to someone who wasn’t much of a baseball player.

    “The thing that’s going to make him special is that he’s (fiery) on the mound,” said Budner, using a salty baseball term that refers to ultra-competitive players (think Lou Piniella). “He doesn’t like to lose. He’s a great competitor, and when things get tough, he gets tougher — at 18 years old.

    “That’s why Michael Jordan is so far above everybody else. Michael Jordan had incredible talent, but a lot of guys do. Jordan wanted to win more than anybody did, and that’s why he dominated. Felix has that nice combination that you look for of raw talent, and he … wants to beat you. That’s a beautiful thing.”

    “He wants to win everything,” said fellow Missions pitcher Renee Cortez. “Playing cards, PlayStation, whatever we do, he has to win. That’s what I like about Felix. Whatever he has to do to win, he’ll do it.”


    Like any supremely talented person, Hernandez has always been able to get by on less than his best effort. The path gets much steeper from here, and the club would like to see more commitment to conditioning.
    Hernandez has a body type similar to Bartolo Colon, and there is concern Hernandez will have weight issues as he ages.

  21. mark s. on November 26th, 2006 4:16 pm

    the interview visited in early October? Kind-of sounds like a lot of 20yr olds on holiday: sleeping late, drinking beer, hanging out with friends and his girl.

    Sure, it would have been nice to hear about him being more of an jock. I wonder how this compares to other baseball players at age 20. Both those in the minors and those in college.

  22. Edgar For Pres on November 26th, 2006 4:25 pm

    This isn’t the perfect spot for this but [deleted, off-topic]

  23. lisa gray on November 26th, 2006 4:51 pm

    a question here –

    i know when a ballplayer sign a ML contract, there’s all KINDS of things written right in it about what he can NOT do – like washing your truck (hahahaha)


    can the team send a trainer down to work with a guy if he don’t wanna work and it ain’t in his contract?

    and i guess i somehow missed the early october part. that is different – he just got back home. a person deserve a little relaxing time off after a 7 month hard working spell like that. i was counting 7-8 weeks after the season because of reading this today.

    but bartolo colon is only 230 or so pounds (snicker) just like carlos lard is only (snort, giggle) 235. so yall don’t got nothing to worry about…

  24. DMZ on November 26th, 2006 4:56 pm

    You don’t need to mention Carlos Lee every comment you make. You don’t like him, we get it.

  25. Jerry Pezzino on November 26th, 2006 5:08 pm

    Let’s put things in perspective here..

    I wouldn’t care if Ichiro went home to Japan every offseason and watched Speed Racer every day and drank Sake until he passed out to “Turning Japanese” while throwing his baseball glove at his wife and kids.


    When it’s game time, he’s in game shape.

    Felix. He’s got 1.5 major league seasons under his belt. He showed up to Seattle last year out of shape and suffering from shinsplints when they even tried to push his conditioning. The fact that he admits that he isn’t even trying to improve that situation during the offseason shows a lack of maturity, and perhaps a lack of initiative to become the Cy Young winner we’re all expecting out of him.

    Now that this news is out, I’ll be interested to see how he shows up next season.

    Fat Felix = Average #3 Starter
    Fit Felix = Cy-Young, Perrenial All-Star

    I know who I’d rather have.

  26. msb on November 26th, 2006 5:37 pm

    The fact that he admits that he isn’t even trying to improve that situation during the offseason shows a lack of maturity, and perhaps a lack of initiative to become the Cy Young winner we’re all expecting out of him.

    of course, the closest Baker gets to discussing the rest of the off-season is to mention they plan to move into their own home in Dec, before he heads up to Peoria for his pre-ST workout. Who is to know what he does when it is not “just the second week in October … The desire for some down time after the 162-game schedule is overwhelming, and his family patiently obliges his skipped mornings and lazy afternoons.”

  27. Mike Hargrove's Cameltoe on November 26th, 2006 5:50 pm

    I wonder if Felix’s pre-game preparation includes eating a bag of Cheesy Poofs.

  28. JAS on November 26th, 2006 6:07 pm

    Nothing like a little bit of overreaction to spark a completely irrelevant conversation. Did anyone happen to read that the setting for this article is just after the season ended?

    Felix earned the right to relax. Does that mean he will do nothing but the entire offseason? I don’t recall that being a topic in the article, and it is very presumptuous to assume he will be completely irresponsible.

  29. David J. Corcoran I on November 26th, 2006 6:11 pm

    Why did you remove comment numbers? This complicates things

  30. shaunmc on November 26th, 2006 6:15 pm

    Bullet Point: Not really. Look how easy this is for me to address your comment. There’s no way this could ever get confusing!

  31. DMZ on November 26th, 2006 6:16 pm


  32. David J. Corcoran I on November 26th, 2006 6:28 pm

    31: there were multiple spelling errors, the comment was incoherent, and there were grammatical errors.

    Responding to numbers is easier, and I will continue to do so even if I have to manually count the posts.

  33. Deanna on November 26th, 2006 6:33 pm

    Regardless of what Felix should or shouldn’t be doing, I thought it was a really interesting article; it’s always interesting to find out more about players as people. Thanks for forwarding it.

  34. Colorado M's Fan on November 26th, 2006 6:39 pm

    Personally, I don’t see why Felix being a relaxed guy is such a bad thing. Certainly, you would hope that he gets in shape eventually, but even if he becomes another Bartolo Colon, I can think of worse things. Colon was a pretty good pitcher for a pretty decent length of time.

  35. David J. Corcoran I on November 26th, 2006 6:46 pm

    Baker >> Finnigan

  36. Jim Thomsen on November 26th, 2006 6:50 pm

    “Baseball, women and beer … that’s all I do.”

    Felix is my God; I shall not want.

    I think the carping about his offseason conditioning is ridiculous. He’s coming back to Seattle on Jan. 10, more than a month ahead of spring training, to whip into shape. Let the guy enjoy his family and friends for a few months, for Chrissake.

    Or to put it into perspective ….

    Right now, Willie Bloomquist is probably completing a strenuous everyday workout … and then heading for a couple of hours in the Peoria batting cage. And to what end?

    Talent matters most, folks.

  37. msb on November 26th, 2006 6:57 pm

    I like to imagine that after his time in the batting cage, Willie swings by the Payson Home Depot to shoot the breeze with Shane Monahan.

  38. Newby on November 26th, 2006 7:14 pm

    I have no issues with what he is doing. My only thing is that mariners fans are hoping for a hall of fame career out of this guy. Thats not gonna happen unless he works harder. Its one thing to lose a phenom to an injury, its another to lose him to bed sores.

  39. Evan on November 26th, 2006 9:06 pm

    But numbered comments make it obvious when Derek deletes comments, because then the numbering system doesn’t work.

  40. Mr. Egaas on November 26th, 2006 9:11 pm

    Use the em tags, people. No need for numbers that way.

  41. Zero Gravitas on November 26th, 2006 9:24 pm

    After reading this I was more worried about the security around his house than his workout regimen. If he shows up in ST completely out of shape he’s still the best pitcher we have. If he gets kidnapped to who knows where, then we’re in trouble. Way to emphasize the lack of physical security around Felix’s house, and the fact he’s easily found out on his front porch all day, Seattle Times!

  42. mln on November 26th, 2006 9:24 pm

    Just hope and pray that Felix does not get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in his pitching hand from clicking that TV remote all day.

  43. mstaples on November 26th, 2006 10:18 pm

    This is a real disappointment. In a nice bit of irony, I’m too lazy to find out whether, other than his showing up fat and out of shape last year, concerns have been voiced about his work ethic. I find it interesting that the article implies that weight training was responsible for bumping his fastball up to 94 — and no, I’m not saying that the weight training was the sole cause — but I have seen significant evidence that he has a poor work ethic and absolutely no indication that he has a good one. Perhaps his “fiery” nature that is noted above may one day serve as a nice kick in the pants to improve his work ethic, but a fiery competitiveness and a good work ethic are distinct.

  44. Mike Hargrove's Cameltoe on November 26th, 2006 11:09 pm

    If he gets kidnapped to who knows where, then we’re in trouble. Way to emphasize the lack of physical security around Felix’s house, and the fact he’s easily found out on his front porch all day, Seattle Times!

    Ugueth Urbina isn’t his next-door neighbor, I hope!

  45. GD on November 27th, 2006 6:37 am

    In defence of Felix, I’ve just spent 10 days down in Venezuela watching some games and “baseball, beer and women” are the obsessions of 90 per cent of the male population.
    Also, in local newspaper interviews with Santana’s family the day he won the Cy Young, they said he’s been relaxing with his PlayStation since the season ended.
    Felix’s habits and work ethic wouldn’t trouble his countrymen much.

  46. msb on November 27th, 2006 7:39 am

    and, as has been mentioned, we don’t know what has been happening en la casa Hernandez since October ended…

  47. frenchonion on November 27th, 2006 10:19 am

    Bill James (paraphrased):

    “I think you’ll find ballplayers that get hurt working out in the offseason have better careers than ballplayers that get hurt *during* the season.”

  48. mstaples on November 27th, 2006 10:35 am

    I acknowledge that we don’t know what Felix has done since October. Since he showed up fat and out of shape last year, though, I suspect strongly that he has continued to sleep until noon, drink beer, eat barbeque, and sit around with his buddies. He’ll probably continue to do so until spring.

    I don’t mean to give a holier-than-thou perspective here. If I was 20 years old, talented enough to be the best pitcher on my team without putting in serious training, and wealthy enough to not worry about money ever again, I might want to sleep until noon and drink some beer with my buddies as well.

    If, however, I wanted to be the very best I could be, and to give my teammates and fans my best effort, I’d work my butt off. I wonder if he cares about the HOF, perhaps winning one or more World Series crowns, and making up to $100 million more than he would if he just coasted on his talent. Anyone have Tony Robbins’ number?

  49. Wishhiker on November 27th, 2006 11:23 pm

    I would think that eventually minor league contracts being signed would include a specified minumum offseason workout program. Especially for bonus babies…Multi-Million dollar signing bonuses and you can’t even say ‘do this much to keep in shape’? I hope he doesn’t need an injury to listen to the Nolan Ryan/Roger Clemens/Randy Johnson talk about fitness. Hopefully he doesn’t need a thing and continues to improve his way to the throne.

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