illustrations and photos by Samara Pearlstein
This past Saturday was Max Scherzer’s 29th birthday. July 27 is always extra special, because not only is it Max Scherzer’s birthday, it is also Mr. Dombrowski’s birthday. This year it was extra extra special, because it was also a Max Scherzer start. It was extra extra EXTRA special because Max pitched with the blue eye, and it was extra extra EXTRA EXTRA special because his teammates all chipped in to get him 10 runs of support so that he could get his 15th win. A happy birthday for all.
The Tigers acquired Jose Veras. The excitement was infinite. Who needs an incontrovertible closer when you have 10,000 middle relievers? Not these cats.
On Sunday the great Tigers vs. Umpires War of Major League Baseball continued, as Miguel Cabrera was ejected in the third inning for no immediately and readily discernible reason. It soon turned out that Chad Fairchild, the homeplate ump, had taken a dislike to Miggy’s dislike of his strike calling. Apparently Cabrera said something after the first pitch, Fairchild told him to can it, and when Miggy piped up again after the second pitch, Fairchild threw him out with great immediacy and extreme prejudice. Thing is, Cabrera had not even turned around to voice his complaints or show up the umpire in any way. Even if he really said something that bad, it was as much to himself as anything else. It was a totally uncalled-for ejection in the opinions of Miguel Cabrera and the entirety of the crowd, which proceeded to scream at Fairchild sporadically throughout the remainder of the game (a repeated opinion: “We didn’t pay to see you, Chad!”).
Also deeply unimpressed was Jim Leyland, who stormed onto the field and was ejected in his turn. Of course, his feelings about the umpires are well known.
I was at the game, and let me assure you, he was quite displeased.
On Tuesday Alex Avila hit the first grand slam of his career. Even if you were not watching the FSD broadcast, you already knew in your heart of hearts that Rod Allen called it a grand salami. You knew, and you were glad.
As I said, I was in Detroit this past weekend for the games. Both were highly enjoyable for a variety of reasons, but something extra special and exciting happened at the Saturday game. Here is a little preview:
But you will have to wait a little bit to get the full photographic report.
illustration by Samara Pearlstein
Perhaps not the most appropriate or likely Tigers for a New Years image in many ways, but in one way they are the most appropriate of all. Happy 2013, kids and kittens!
illustrations by Samara Pearlstein
I’m just going to lead with that one because it makes me happy in my optic nerves. Everyone in the wide world of Tigers fans has his or her own opinion about the team. There is naturally a great deal of disagreement. But there is one thing upon which we can all agree, one thing that may be safely and universally acknowledged as an unequivocally beautiful sight: Alex Avila, pleased with his own walk-off hit, being doused in purple Gatorade by an almost unhealthily giddy Papa Grande. It is a fine thing, a fine thing indeed.
Especially when Avila’s jersey then gets all wet and it’s all sticking to his torso and it’s a home jersey so it’s white and bits get translucent when soaked, and you get all mad at FSD for not getting longer and more torso-inclusive shots post-soaking, and now I’ve said too much. Thank you, Papa Grande.
This keeps on happening, and I suppose it too is a fine thing. Every silver lining, of course, has its cloud, and Scherzer’s high K-counts are still tagging along with the logically attendant high pitch counts, but for now we will accept it.
Doug Fister injured his groin. The jokes came thick and fast and inevitably. Everyone is just real sorry about that, Mister Fister, but what do you expect from us? We are baseball fans. We are all ten years old.
Miguel Cabrera’s ankle has been sore for a while, and Leyland is finally paying attention, giving him some DH time and just now a day off. I haven’t seen anything more specific than “sore” to describe the State of Miggy’s Ankle, aside from this Mothership blurb earlier in the month:
During the Boston series, Miguel Cabrera fouled a ball off his left shin and, as a result, the third baseman has been experiencing some “drainage” in his ankle, head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said on Sunday morning.
“He’s just getting some drainage in his ankle from that,” Rand said. “His [lower] leg gets sore just the more he’s on it.”
Jason Beck/Anthony Odoardi, DetroitTigers.com
What in the world does that mean? How can an ankle be experiencing ‘drainage’? That sounds anatomically difficult and worrying. I cannot know, I can only draw.
Drew Smyly is back! He got a spot start and should be sticking around in the bullpen even when he gets bumped from the rotation.
The persistence of Delmon Young’s mustache should be a source of concern for us all. But he has also been on a bit of a hitting tear lately. Does this… does this mean that the mustache is actually doing the hitting for him?? I think this is a possibility that we need to deeply consider. It would explain how that upper lip décor has hung around this long, despite (what must surely be) the strong recommendations of everyone who knows Delmon personally and also has eyes.
Just throwing this one in for good luck. The mantises have been back in attendance, all over MLB, and yes, they have been spotted– and occasionally photographed– in Detroit. Praise be!
illustration by Samara Pearlstein
–Quintin Berry hitting a walkoff single for the win.
–A variety of scraptastic Tigers small-ballin’ it up to get into position for a Quintin Berry single to win the game.
–Taking two of three from the Cardinals, and hitting the road after winning four out of six games in Detroit.
–Prince Fielder’s big blast.
–An effective bullpen. MADNESS!
–Jacob Turner issuing five walks in five innings.
–Don Kelly barking his knee on the wall.
–Very little offensive production over the course of the game, including the usual collective refusal/inability to work walks.
Alex Avila is back from the DL! DO NOT INJURE HIM AGAIN, BASEBALL. This statement would hold true regardless, but it’s especially vital in the face of G-Money’s crampy sore hamstrings and the excision of Bryan Holaday. Just… just keep him in good condition, ok? I know that he’s far from a precious delicate snowflake, but I can’t stand to see him injured, you can’t stand to see him injured, the pitchers don’t like to see him injured, Jim Leyland doesn’t like dealing with him constantly whining about getting back into the lineup when he’s injured, and so on.
I don’t care how this is done. Mummify him in caution tape and bubblewrap, put him in a small unbreakable box, hire Kyle Farnswoth to physically threaten opposing players who attempt to slide sharply into him– whatever. He is (nominally) healthy right now. Keep him that way. There are important things in the game of baseball but keeping Alex Avila and his magical fast-renewing facial hair fresh and healthy and in front of our baseball-watchin’ eyes is one of the Most Important Things. See to it, MLB.
drawings by Samara Pearlstein
Just a little Tigers affection for all you cats!
Well, here we are. The postseason is over. The preseason is many months away. Roar of the Tigers has stopped watching TV in the name of actually (gasp!) doing work. This season… what season is this? It is a season constructed by Major League Baseball in an attempt to appease us, to give us something to talk about that isn’t trades involving Melky Cabrera or the sad state of Oriole affairs. Yes, we are firmly in the midst of Stupid Awards Season.
Stupid Awards Season asks you to care deeply about these poorly determined awards. And you want to care! You want to care because you want your favorite super wicked awesome baseball player to be recognized by everyone for his super wicked awesomeness. At the same time, you don’t want to care, because you (if you are a sane, moderately educated baseball fan) recognize that these awards are at some essential level mostly what Jim Leyland would call, ahem, horsesh!t.
drawings by Samara Pearlstein
Miguel Cabrera wins the batting title. Miguel Cabrera does not win the Silver Slugger. I would tell you how this makes sense, but I cannot, because it actually makes no sense whatsoever. Adrian Gonzalez is a good hitter and all, but Miguel was better than him at basically everything you can legally do with a bat in the game of baseball this year.
It’s ok, because Miguel loves his own bat and has no need for that stupid silver hardware, but it’s the principle of the thing.
Alex Avila wins the Silver Slugger at catcher. Did he catch more games than anyone else in the universe? Yes. Does this mean that, in my biased little fan-heart, I think he deserves all the awards ever? Yes, yes, of course. Were his overall numbers better than, saaaaay, those of Mike Napoli, who basically hit better across the board and went to the World Series to boot? Erm. Well.
But, you see: this we like. Alex Avila’s durability and (perhaps more importantly) dogged tenacity convince voters that he deserves a metal stick more than Mike Napoli’s 1.046 OPS does. Stupid Awards Season!
Then Austin Jackson fails to win a Gold Glove. Okay. The fact that I wanted him to win is almost certainly, in this case, the tiny Paws in my brain guiding my thoughts. And again, it’s not as if he desperately needs it to tell us all that sometimes he makes plays so good that Rod Allen loses his mind and control of his vocal cords. Just more Stupid Awards Season nonsense.
We are still waiting on the MVP results. But Justin Verlander did get another award recently. It was Player of the Year (or something?) in the Players Choice Awards (or something?). These are even MORE made-up than Silver Sluggers and Gold Gloves. They are nice because they involve charity, but basically they are a measure of how much a particular dude has impressed all the other dudes in the MLBPA in any given year.
Justin Verlander frightens his opposition and his stunning good looks have charmed his peers. He commands respect and he’s popular. This particular Stupid Award is perfect for him, and he has duly received it. Woo, yay, etc.
If a Tiger does not win the MVP award, it will not matter in the least. The award is not strictly based on merit. At root it is meaningless. But that won’t stop our righteous and strident indignation. Something to look forward to! Thanks, Stupid Awards Season!