The closest known black hole to the Earth is called Sagittarius A* (pronounced “A-star”). It’s about 26,000 light-years from us, which sounds like a lot. Take the time it’s been since the earliest known example of human civilization, and that’s far less than half of the time it would take for the fastest thing in the known universe to reach Sgr A* (just a fancy way of naming that particular black hole). It’s over four million times the mass of the sun. There’s not a lot of context for that number, but considering that the sun is so massive that you would be crushed into something resembling a pancake upon arriving on its surface, know that it’s big. Here’s Sgr A*, by the way.
I know, it’s a black hole, so it doesn’t actually make light. People aren’t quite sure what made that light, but one plausible explanation is that it’s the residual energy from an asteroid being torn apart upon entering the black hole. Some things are just so overpowering that you can’t escape them. Asteroids are pretty solid. Even they get shredded. Maybe there’s some allegory here.
One thing that you might be somewhat familiar with is what would happen when you find yourself on the surface of a black hole. It’s a process referred to by scientists somewhat fondly as “spaghettification.” Basically, it’s a result of something called tidal forces, which, yes, cause tides. The force of gravity is stronger the closer you get to something. With a black hole, it’s a lot stronger. If you were to find yourself standing on a black hole, your legs would feel a lot more gravity than your head. They would, therefore, be pulled into the black hole a whole lot faster than your head would. The end result is that your legs would be pulled away from your head, and you’d be a piece of spaghetti. Only a whole lot less delicious. Here is an extremely poor rendering of what would happen to you.
Sgr A* is not actually very far away from us. That 26,000 light-years is actually less than one millionth of the radius of the observable universe. It’s a big place. Almost the entire universe is composed of virtually empty space. A vacuum, of sorts. Space isn’t really ever completely empty, by the way. Even the deepest parts of space have particle densities of around one atom per cubic meter. There’s always something, even at its emptiest. There’s probably another allegory in there somewhere.
The last few games before this game were a lot of fun. This game snapped a four-game winning streak, and it did it with emphasis. The Mariners offense felt a lot like a black hole, and this season has felt pretty empty. Yovani Gallardo’s pitching didn’t feel a whole lot like anything outer-space-related, but jeez, it sure felt pretty bad anyway.
There were exactly two highlights from this game. The first came back when the game felt like a real baseball game, back when most of the fan-base was filled with something resembling optimism. Yovani Gallardo had given up a couple of hard-hit balls, and was in something of a jam. His BABIP against was truly unlucky tonight, but he surrendered enough hard contact that he probably deserved all four of the runs that he ended up surrendering. He would have given up three more had Guillermo Heredia not robbed Marcell Ozuna in the first inning.
Heredia didn’t have to make a spectacular play to rob this dinger, but it still felt good. Gallardo got pretty fired up, which felt kinda weird, but alright.
The second highlight came nine innings later, from who else but Mitch Haniger. This was just a totally normal double, and it didn’t have any particular significance.
Haniger extended his hitting streak to 12 games, which is cool. He has been a truly bright spot this season, and that Taijuan Walker trade just keeps looking better and better.
Between those two highlights, there was a whole lot of nothing. You don’t need me to tell you what happened.
The bullpen looked good. Yovani Gallardo did not. The hitters did not. This game didn’t erase all of the good feels accumulated over the last four games, but it sure did its very best.
We’ve got Felix pitching tomorrow, with a good chance to take the series. Until then, I’m gonna do my best to not think about every Mariner not named Mitch Haniger.