In case you’re living under a rock (would be weird) or just didn’t pay attention to the Mariners in the last twelve hours (would be less weird), Mike Leake came three outs away from throwing the 24th perfect game in Major League Baseball history. It would have been the first since a guy named Félix Hernández did it in 2012.
I don’t know quite why, but Mike Leake might be my actual favorite Mariner. I think my love for him was first fostered when I was conscripted to write his 40-in-40 this offseason. While looking at his stats, I was taken aback at his consistency. The dude has been a steady league average starter for almost a decade, which is not an easy thing to do.
Him throwing a perfect game last night wouldn’t have been the first instance of a just-okay starting pitcher throwing one, but it would have been the first in the era of juiced balls.
It would have been an almost heavy-handed attempt by the universe to remind us that ordinary people are eminently capable of extraordinary feats. Here are some tweets and photos from last night’s almost-miracle.
Complete game shutout on 98 pitches, 8 perfect innings, shoutout Mike Leake for an unreal performance tonight pic.twitter.com/5ntSacewXV— Starting 9 (@Starting9) July 20, 2019
I could make this a Mike Leake-only links, but sadly there were some other things that happened yesterday too.
In boring Mariners non-Mike Leake news...
- Leake wasn’t the only Mariner to have an excellent game last night. Daniel Vogelbach managed to be the first Mariner to have multiple six-RBI games in a single season since... Alex Rodriguez in 2000.
- The Athletic’s Stephen Cohen recounts how the Mariners’ PR team helped lead the charge to get Edgar Martinez into the Hall of Fame. ($)
- Hayes Gardner of the Ames Tribune did a nice profile on West Virginia Power pitcher Evan Johnson, who the Mariners signed this year as an undrafted free agent.
- Félix Hernández threw his first bullpen session in a month yesterday as he continues to work his way back from injury.
- Mariners beat writer Greg Johns published a lovely oral history of Edgar Martinez’s legendary double.
In boring MLB non-Mike Leake news...
- Remember former Mariner Eric Thames? After his abysmal 40-game stretch in Seattle in 2012, he went and played in Korea for three years, winning the MVP award in one year. He’s since come back and is killing it with Milwaukee, currently slashing .266/.372/.514. He just did a profile with GQ, and claims his secret is... flexibility.
- The Angels are finally giving up on the $11 million Matt Harvey experiment. Harvey had a 7.09 ERA and a 6.35 FIP in 59.2 innings this season.
- The Astros have DFA’d first baseman Tyler White.
- The Athletic’s Marc Carig talks about how Aaron Boone’s recent publicized rant might change his public image. ($) Boone was suspended for one game for his tirade.
- The MLB Player’s Association, which has reportedly been growing increasingly discontent, has let go of longtime attorney Rick Shapiro. Shapiro had been getting paid $700,000 a year, which was the third largest salary in the union.
- It looks like the Phillies will be signing former Mariner Drew Smyly.
Zach’s boring non-Mike Leake picks
- The critically endangered tamaraw — or “dwarf cow” has seen its population re-stabilize in the Philippines. The re-wilding effort was led almost entirely by the indigenous people of the region.
- And finally, of course: today is the 50th anniversary of the first day that human beings set foot on the moon. Check out the following amazing moon clips. Here’s a video of Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong’s first steps.
- Two years later, David Scott of the Apollo 15 mission finally proved Galileo Galilei correct by performing an experiment that shows that, without air resistance, a hammer and a feather really do fall at the same speed.
- Check out this footage of Apollo 16’s lunar rover.
I dream that humans will one day find their way back to the moon. Human beings seem like they should only be capable of so much, but achievements like the Apollo missions remind us that our abilities are limited only in our minds. I dream that we can be reminded of this again soon, because these days, our limitations seem all too real.