a few dispatches from Detroit


photos and illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

So I was in Detroit, very briefly, and here are some of the things that happened.

There are so rarely opportunities to break out the 2009 Brandon Inge All Star Game jersey in Boston, you know?

Watching Justin Verlander during the anthem, I make a discovery…

Dude is balding! Truly the combination of stress and baseball hats is an inauspicious one.

Ian Kinsler slides–

Remains too hot for even his own self to handle.

The gentleman I saw chewing tobacco in the stands, spitting into an empty metal beer bottlecan needs to stop or be banned from the stadium or something. It is just gross. And what if an innocent child asks about what they are seeing? “Mommy, what is that man doing?” “He’s being f—ing disgusting, kiddo.” Do we really need to ruin the innocence of children with a bro in the lightest denim Ed Hardy-looking jeans I have ever seen out in the wild? Is this what you really want for your society, MLB? You’ve even banned e-cigarettes from the park. Think about your choices.

I got to see the Triple Crown, finally. It is an actual crown that looks like the cartoon and it has blue velvet and three ‘prongs’ around the fabric, each of which bears one of Miguel Cabrera’s trophy-winning stats. My only regret is that Miggy was not there, wearing it on his head.

What is probably the best office in Comerica Park belongs to Jerry Lewis, the Director of Fantasy Camps. It is astonishing and wonderful. There are Tigers things on every available surface, and there are Tigers things of all sorts, all eras, all levels of dignified gravity and high camp and everything in between. It is a little bit like a museum and a little bit like the den of a madman and if it was plopped down in a white box art gallery show, it would be installation art and nobody in the whole art world would fault its inclusion.

A few details that do not even begin to scratch the surface of everything that was here:

I don’t want to embarrass him by putting him on the blog if he’s not into that, but there is a certain Tigers employee who is a very good person and knows that this is exactly the sort of thing to make my eyes bug out of my head in a sort of overclocked delight, and deserves a great deal of thanks for finding ways to make me even happier to be in Comerica (as impossible as that seems).

What else happened?

Paws came over to our section and wowed everyone with his charm, his wit, his ability to communicate with ease while not uttering so much as a purr. His handler was not so much handling him as trailing helplessly behind, shaking his head as Paws repeatedly stopped to interact with fans instead of moving off to wherever he was supposed to be next. At one point Paws sat down behind me and took the hat off of my head and made it into a rally cap and put it back on my head and I made him take a selfie with me on my phone because I had the wrong lens on my real camera for selfies and I was afraid that if I took the time to change lenses he would disappear, poof, like Cinderella’s coach turning back into a pumpkin at midnight, because Paws is a magical creature and time spent with him is magical, delicate time indeed.

He is also a champion dancer.

The old crazed kitten-swinging-a-bat logo is making a comeback, which is all to the good… although one has to wonder how Paws will feel about it.

There were fireworks, but very little wind, which meant… smokeworks!

I also took a whole heck of a lot of photos of players, but for now there’s just this–

Austin Jackson offers Miguel Cabrera some advice after facing a new Cleveland pitcher late in the game. Because that is what teamwork is. Gossiping about the other team at every available opportunity: personal, professional, and otherwise.

Paws bless this game of baseball!

AMERICA


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Happy 4th of July weekend from Captain Paws, Brad ‘Bucky’ Ausmus, and Roar of the Tigers!

Completely FredFred


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Rick Porcello is on some kind of pitcher’s high right now. He’s thrown two complete game shut-outs in a row, this latest requiring only 95 pitches. Do you know how you throw a complete game in 95 pitches?

–A lot of sinking fastballs that induce relatively easy ground-ball outs.
–A gentle and loving relationship with the baseball.
–An effective training regimen and sufficient hydration.
–The skill of Being Good at Baseball.

You know the last time the Tigers had a pitcher who threw back-to-back complete game shut-outs? It was 1986 and the pitcher was Jack Morris and FredFred was not even a living human being on this earth yet, because he is a child who was born in 1988. He has never existed in a world that has contained a Tigers pitcher who has thrown back-to-back complete game shut-outs until now, and he is himself that pitcher. Glorious.

Rajai Davis walks off.



illustration by Samara Pearlstein

A grand slam walk-off into a pile of WIN.

a proposed solution


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

We all, at this point, know that Justin Verlander has had his struggles. Now, if the cold and unfeeling universe happens into a spurt of goodwill, he will be coming out of this funk sooner rather than later, and will resume his old dominant-pitching ways. But just in case that does not happen in a timely fashion, I think we have a possible solution for Justin.

Give him a few months to work on his running, and he could make this transition easily. Right? Right. Justin gets to keep feeling good about himself as a professional athlete, the USMNT gains a player who can make the best throw-ins FIFA has ever seen, the Tigers get the positive karma associated with making a personal sacrifice for the good of the nation, the fans get to see Justin in one of those really tight soccer jerseys. EVERYONE WINS.

Also, apparently this happened:

Torii Hunter had hurt legbits, so Miguel Cabrera carried him into the clubhouse. Because Tigers are love. And we just have to hope that the Tigers will be carried through any and all rough patches on this vast and beautiful, uh, raft of love. The metaphor is getting away from me here so just look at the cartoon and we’ll call it a post.

Max completes himself.


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

The Tigers won last night on the strength of Max Scherzer’s very first complete game! And it was a shut-out. A beautiful blue-eye-pitched game if we’ve ever seen one.

The revolving door and other such things.


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

One of the funny things that happens when you’ve had only half an ear to the Tigers thus far this season: you have no idea who the shortstop is, because apparently there have been 10,478 shortstops stuck in a sort of revolving door hell of injuries, incompetence, general baseball malaise, and so on. Every so often someone stumbles out of the door, dizzy as heck, and takes a few tentative cuts at the plate, but as of right now it still seems like everyone and anyone could just get shoved right back into the spinning fray, and who knows what it will spit out next? I mean, I assume Paws knows, but for us mere mortals it is somewhat more mysterious.

I am not even fully certain who has been playing at shortstop for the Tigers this year. The problem seems to be that Jose Iglesias, who by rights should have been The One, has legs that are filled with stress fractures, just bundles of dry kindling all up in those limbs, and this has kept him off the field. So the Tigers turned to… I am not sure. Danny Worth, who I assume just kind of Danny Worth’d around? Andrew Romine, who… well, I actually have no idea. Played baseball in some kind of unsatisfactory way? The internet is telling me that Alex Gonzalez was out there at one point, and not some young, freshly promoted kid who happens to share a name with Alex Gonzalez, but the actual original 37-year-old, 16-year-veteran Alex Gonzalez. Did… did we actually think that would work? Huh.

I know that right now it is a gentleman by the name of Eugenio Suarez, and I know that he has hit some home runs, which is a thing worthy of much note in these sort of grim times. Here is what else I know about Eugenio Suarez:

–He will be turning 23 in July.
–He is Venezuelan.
–He is a human being with hopes and dreams, at least some of which have to do with playing baseball.

Will that be enough to go on? Only time, the adjustments of the rest of the league, the logical thoughts and capricious whims of Brad Ausmus and Dave Dombrowski will tell.