Category Archives: Al Alburquerque

ALDS Games 1 and 2


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

You all know this story already. The Tigers attempted to kill us all on Sunday. They played as ridiculous a game as they could possibly play. It came down to the very last at-bats of the very last inning. With one out and the bases loaded, the big cats already stashed safely on first and second, Don Kelly came up. And what did he do?

He did not hit a towering grand slam of a home run into the center field foliage. He did not ground into a double play. He did no more and no less than what he absolutely needed to do, which was simply hit a ball far enough to score the cat on third. Not flashy. Not dramatic. Just Don Kelly– just baseball.

Also this happened: for those two of you who somehow didn’t see it/haven’t heard about it yet, AlAl fielded a huge out, and kissed the ball before tossing it to first. Was it a little hot-dog-ish? Sure. Was it a little rude? Sure. Was it premeditated? Absolutely not. Was it hilarious and sort of endearing? You bet your tiger-striped tail it was.

I know the A’s are all surly about it, but quite frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Game 1 was nice too.

Now, given the way the Tigers played going into the postseason, I had low expectations. I honestly had a hard time envisioning them making it out of the first round. Yet here we are, up 2-0, needing to win just one more game out of the coming three. Of course, all three are in Oakland, and it is not at all out of the realm of possibility for the Tigers to completely muck that up, especially as Verlander and Mister Fister have already pitched, and as we all know, things get a bit thin behind them in the rotation. But this is already so much better than I had dared to dream.

I mean, Don Kelly, you guys. The Tigers are heading west in this best of all possible positions thanks to Don Kelly. Roll that one around in your mind for a while.

Al Al gets screwed.


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

We’ve been toodling sedately along through this offseason, feeling good and generally unhurt. Carlos Guillen? Not particularly interested in doing that anymore. Magglio Ordonez? Nope. Joel Zumaya? No, we’ve had enough. Brandon Inge? Somehow escaped a car accident without getting hurt.

It was kind of nice, this whole Not Freaking Out About the Inevitable Injury Crew thing. Instead of worrying about what freak accident would strike Zumaya down, or which of Guillen’s various overstressed bodyparts would give up the ghost next, the Tigers seemed to have finally sidestepped the whole issue. Everything was proceeding nicely.

Then BAM! Out of nowhere! Al Alburquerque has surgery on his right elbow and will be out until the All Star Break at least. Sucks for you, Tigers bullpen!

Al Al had a screw inserted in the oleocranon, the bony protrusion at the tip of the elbow. This is supposed to stabilize a non-displaced stress fracture, something that almost certainly contributed to Al Al’s mystery arm pain and inflammation last year. So on the one paw: hooray, his previously unexplained issues have been illuminated and addressed! On the other paw, though: boo, no Al Al until half the season is already gone.

The signing of Dotel and the acquisition of Balester are starting to look pretty important now. This is only terrifying if you let yourself think about it too deeply. So, you know… don’t do that.

feel better soon, AlAl


photo by Samara Pearlstein

Cruelly struck down by a Robert Andino hit during batting practice. Ugh. Al Albuerquerque went down hard and flailed around in such obvious pain that teammates were frightened, and Andino was so disturbed that he reportedly couldn’t finish BP. When they took him off the field AlAl was conscious and able to move all his bits, but

“It wasn’t pretty,” manager Jim Leyland said. “That was no glancing blow. He got smoked bad. It was a concern of all the players who were out there. They didn’t like the way he was reacting at first.”
Tom Gage/Detroit News

He has a concussion, although there’s been no word as to the severity or grade of the concussion. It’s been reported that there was some ‘internal bleeding’, which is not super rare but is obviously not the greatest.

AlAl was held overnight at a U Maryland hospital for observation and has been placed on the 7-day DL for the time being. It could be the type of concussion where he bounces back pretty well after a week, but then again it might not be– there’s no way for us to tell, and really little way for even the team to know for sure. Josh Beckett suffered a BP concussion this spring and was fine within a couple of weeks. Justin Morneau suffered a concussion in early July of 2010 and was out for the rest of the season.

Let’s hope for the best.

(I know he ‘technically’ had nothing to do with the incident, but I’m blaming Luke Scott. I am reasonably certain that he guided Andino’s line drive with his evil Tiger-hating powers of telekinesis.)

Tigers drag in Leyland’s 1500th win with agonizing slowness, but there it is.


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

It may not have been quick, it may not have been tidy, but it was a win. And that makes it Jim Leyland’s 1,500th win as a manager! Only Tony The Russa has more. This is something to be celebrated, preferably with a dedication to achieving the 1,501st win, the 1,502nd win, and so on.

–This win also puts the Tigers back at .500 with a 7-7 record. Weak yay!

–Someone had a vuvuzela at this game. Impossible to know if it was an Oakland or a Detroit fan, but whoever it was stuck around for the whole thing, because that sucker was buzzing away alllllll night long.

–Rod recognized some of Kenny Williams’ ‘lieutenants’ in the stands, scouting the Tigers. Look, nothing gets past Rod Allen, ok? He spies on the spies. He knows everyone, and he knows all. You aren’t going to pull any wool over our eyes so long as Rod Allen is on high watching, Wrong Sox.

–Extra innings in a game that started after 10:00pm for many of us are just… ugh. I appreciate the effort and all, but it’s almost 2:30am now because I forced myself to write this stupid blog and there were extra innings and, you know what, I blame Brian Fuentes. He seems responsible.

–Coco Crisp cut his ‘fro way back. I know it’s wicked difficult to maintain one as large as the puff he was sporting yesterday, but from a pure fashion standpoint, it’s disappointing. Anyways, this is what it USED to look like:

–The game felt so filled with struggles and angst and Not Hitting in the sixth that it was really remarkable that the score was only 1-0. It felt like the Tigers should have been down 10 by that point. Somehow, they weren’t. This failure on the part of the A’s to take advantage was what left the door open for the late feline rally, and turned a soul-crushing drag of a game into an unlikely Tiger win. If you let a not-awful team hang around for that long, they’ll make you pay for it eventually. Let this be a lesson to you all.

–Phil Coke was a wrestler in high school.

So when he challenged a Tigers reporter to a match during an early Spring Training appearance, he was being serious.

“I had a two-inning start and didn’t break a sweat,” Coke said. “I didn’t even get my adrenaline going. So I asked ‘Want to wrestle?’ He kept saying, ‘No, no, no.’ I said ‘There’s a soft sofa I can body slam you against.’ It wouldn’t have hurt at all.”
DetroitTigers.com/Rick Eymer

I… what?

–According to Rod, Al Alburquerque was so excited to be up that he got to the ballpark 6 hours early yesterday. Mario’s reaction: “What was he doing??” Good question. Rolling around on the grass, that’s my guess. It’s what I would do, anyways.

–He was wearing his socks up. YES. Also, when he came in, it was AlAl replacing FredFred, pitching to AlAv, which is the very thing we had all hoped for so much. There may or may not have been tears of joy in my eyes at the time.

–Rod: “Got that Mr. T starter kit on, I see!… That’s a big rope!”
Mario (laughing): “Did you just call it a rope?”
Rod (indignant): “That’s what they call it!”

They were talking about Alburquerque’s chain necklace. Although really it wasn’t all that big, he was just wearing it along with a beaded rosary, and the two together looked like one massive necklace at times.

–Brayan Villarreal’s hair looked extra soft and fluffy– dare I say snuggly?– in this one. I’m sure under the hat it looked like wet roadkill but the bit sticking out from the back was particularly nice tonight. I dunno. I wanted to pet it.

–At one point, after the game had gone to extras, they showed Miguel Cabrera sitting with Austin Jackson in the dugout. They were both kind of slouching on the bench, talking about something. Miggy says something that makes Austin laugh. They bump fists, bro-tastically. End scene. WITH LOVE.

–It was Jackie Robinson Day, so everyone was wearing 42. With no names on the uniforms and no identifying numbers, Jackie Robinson Day forces you to pay attention to and recognize the players themselves, by their faces, if you want to keep things straight. As an unintended consequence of the tribute it’s actually quite fitting.

Anyways, I drew a thing.

Could’ve used more reference… oh well. Deal.

–You know what’s the worst? I will tell you. It’s when the last thing you watch is a very late night FSD Tigers broadcast, where they play April in the D commercials at seemingly every single commercial break, so one of the last things you hear before trying to go to bed is the April in the D song. Yeah. You know where this is going.

The April in the D song gets stuck in your head when all you want to do is sleep. Sweet, sweet unconsciousness, I just want to slide headlong into you, but I cannot, because APRIL IN THE D APRIL IN THE D FOX SPORTS DEEEEE TROIT OH BLESSED PAWS SEVER MY BRAIN FROM MY SPINAL CORD AND END THIS AGONY

Albu(r)querque, here we come.


image by Samara Pearlstein

The Tigers just signed some guy named Al Alburquerque to a major league contract. He has absolutely no experience above the double-A level so I am not really clear on why we didn’t sign him to a minor league contract, but that’s not important.

HIS NAME IS AL ALBURQUERQUE

(and yeah, check that extra ‘R’ in there, that’s gonna even worse than Jhonny for the editors)

As commenter doowman pointed out in the previous post, we now have the opportunity for someone to introduce Al Al to FredFred. IS YOUR MIND BLOWN YET, BECAUSE LET ME ASSURE YOU THAT MY MIND IS BLOWN.

Anyways. You better watch out, New Mexico! You’re OURS now!