You should be watching Felix Hernandez already, but the next time you tune into one of his home starts, listen closely. Whenever Hernandez gets to a two-strike count on the batter, the chant begins. It starts softly, but quickly builds into an audible roar picked up by television cameras around the park.
"K! K! K! K! K!"
More often than not, King Felix grants his court's wishes with a strikeout.
The King's Court, a special section reserved for home games where Hernandez starts, was created in 2011. Spanning three sections, fans are given a t-shirt and a placard with a "K" on it, and tickets are sold at a discounted price. The marketing ploy has grown in popularity over the years, and has now made it to Houston. Last week, the Astros debuted "Keuchel's Korner," a similar section with t-shirts and fake beards among the door prizes for whenever their ace, lefthander Dallas Keuchel, takes the mound.
With a former Cy Young and MVP on the payroll, is it time that the Detroit Tigers looked into creating a similar phenomenon? Justin Verlander has been one of the faces of the Tigers franchise for the past decade, and would be an easy sell for the Tigers' promotional department. Verlander has four years remaining on his contract -- not including a vesting option for 2020 -- and the Tigers could afford to inject a little more excitement into the park on days that he pitches.
Of course, the timing for this isn't great. Hernandez has been one of the best pitchers in baseball since his Court was established, and the Astros are striking while Keuchel is at the top of his game. Verlander has struggled lately, and the Tigers are still unsure of what he will provide throughout the rest of his contract. Would fans flock to this section if Verlander continues to struggle? Or would the promotion fall on its face?
If the Tigers did create something like the King's Court for Verlander, naming it would also be an issue. Seattle took advantage of the "King Felix' moniker in a creative way. The alliteration in "Keuchel's Korner" is a little cheesy, but it works. Maybe it's just me, but I'm having trouble coming up with something catchy.
Do you think that the Tigers should do this for Justin Verlander? Where would you put it in Comerica Park? What would you call it?