Community activity is an inevitable offshoot of a high profile. Hernandez and his wife, Sandra, are involved with charities including the Humane Society and the Seattle Children's Hospital, and the Mariners routinely catch wind of a visit he's made or a sick kid whose day he has brightened unbeknownst to the team. The Mariners enjoyed a rare home off-day on April 10 this season, yet Hernandez agreed to show up and film an anti-bullying public service announcement at Safeco Field. When he and rapper Macklemore popped out of the dugouts, the kids went wild.
As hokey as it sounds, some things transcend money and fame. Hernandez's bond with the locals is strengthened whenever he takes the mound and the fans in the "King's Court" hang on every pitch. This year, the Mariners took the concept a step further and turned Safeco Field into the "Supreme Court" for his first home start against Oakland. The first 25,000 fans received a T-shirt and a "K" card to wave in response to every strikeout.
Will Seattle fans cheer Hernandez in a postseason game one day, or is he destined to keep plugging away with no October stage? Jenkins, Jim Bunning and Ted Lyons all reached the Hall of Fame without a postseason appearance. But Roy Halladay made his playoff debut at age 33, so there's still reason to believe.
In this, his 10th season with the Mariners, Hernandez knows the only thing he can do to change his place in history is go out every fifth day and deal. He's enjoying the journey and trusting that his time will come.