Category Archives: Brennan Boesch

Some more important Spring Training matters.


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

Here we are at the tail end of Spring Training. It is a wonder that we have arrived at this point, is it not? Many of us are looking out our windows right now at piles of snow surrounding more or less indifferently cleared sidewalks, piles of snow obliterating perfectly good on-street parking spaces, piles of snow melting off of rooftops onto the unlucky, uncovered heads of passersby, piles of snow that someone’s labradoodle has peed on. But real live Baseball That Counts is starting in two weeks. Truly it is enough to make one ponder the mysteries of the universe, or at least the mysteries of summer-associated sports played in April in northern climes.

In any event, things have been occurring. We all learned that Jhonny Peralta is allergic to shellfish, for instance. This vital information came to light after he consumed what he thought was clubhouse potato soup, later to be revealed as treacherously potato-white and potato-chunky clam chowder.

There are lessons to be learned here. The first one is for the kids still in school: don’t make fun of your peers for food allergies, because that stuff is serious, and also they might one day grow up to be a Major League Baseball player and then won’t you look dumb? You will. Be nice. Secondly: maybe the clubhouse spread should be labeled. Like, really clearly. With big black letters on brightly colored pieces of cardstock. In English and Spanish. Thirdly: Jhonny Peralta has a serious food allergy. This was not widely known information before this incident. Now you know.

Another thing that occurred: Miguel Cabrera was involved in a MLB Network video art project. It involved Rihanna and Adam Jones and the kind of digital video effects that one would in fact expect from video art created by, say, your average contemporary art student– a little more Ryan Trecartin than Nam June Paik, you know.

As much as I love Miguel Cabrera, obviously, I have to note that Adam Jones is near-criminally underused in this project. From his brief appearances it is clear that the man can, and more importantly, wants to (over)act, with a readiness and enthusiasm that all the props in the world cannot approximate. But while ruing our lost opportunities to see Adam Jones flower into his full performative potential, we must not fail to appreciate that which we are given, that being Miguel Cabrera flailing around in a scuba mask and having some sort of emotional moment with a baguette, for reasons that remain obscure even upon repeated viewings. I am sure you have all seen it by now, but I urge you to spend some more time with it: this is art that resists easy and immediate interpretation.

Another thing that occurred a while ago and it is just now showing up in this section of the internet because GRAD SKOOL: Spring Training, as we all know, is the period during which all the most important stories have the space and time to be written. The Detroit baseball writers stretch their fingers with ease in the humid Floridian air. Their minds are sharp, honed on a long offseason of laughing at the misfortunes of the hockey beat writers; sometimes this involves laughing at themselves, and this too serves to sharpen the mind. They are at the pinnacle of their unathletic game, and the athletes, lulled into a calm good mood by renewed baseball activities and covert clubhouse clam chowder, are willing to give them a little more attention than usual.

All this led to the most important reportage of the Tigers’ Spring: Phil Coke (the relief pitcher) met and conversed with Phil Coke’s Brain (the Twitter account).

MLive’s Chris Iott is a gentleman and a scholar. Phil Coke is hilarious and a jolly good sport. His Brain abides.

One last thing: Brennan Boesch, he of the surfer-boy hair and dubious oblique and frustrating 2012 stats, was finally jettisoned from the team. Mr. D said many expected things about “moving forward” and “potential” and “a change of scenery” and all those related phrases that mean the team believes there might still be a cache of talent lurking somewhere within the corporeal person of Brennan Boesch, but they’ve tired of trying to coax it out of hiding and have decided that someone else can give it a shot if they’re feeling feisty.

The Yankees are not feeling particularly feisty these days, but since they are already gunning hard for the prestigious Most Injured Outfield of 2013 award, they extended their grubby little Yankee paws and snatched Brennan up almost immediately. May he enjoy his time in New York, although not to the point where he’s enjoying it because they are actually winning games of baseball.

Lately, in cartoons.


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

You knew, in your deepest readerly heart, that I would lead with this. You did. You knew it and you accept it, because you read Roar of the Tigers and you know that HATERS GONNA HATE, but not here. No. Here we are excited by the return of Brandon Inge.

Against all reason? Yes. Against all currently accepted baseball wisdom? Yes, mostly. Once you accept the irrationality, it becomes quite pleasant, this place where up is down, black is white, and Brandon Inge is getting real actual at-bats.

You know what else happened recently? Of course the Terrible Cartoon tells you: everyone’s favorite walking emoticon made his big league debut.

It went ok. He only lasted 4 innings, and threw 90 pitches in that time, which is kind of… you know… not so great. But he managed to only give up one run. It was a Carlos Pena home run, which is not so great and also painful as it just makes us all miss the cats out of Carlos Pena (we waited so long for you, Carlos! SO LONG!).

He did walk three Rays, which is not so good when considered in the context of the aforementioned four innings. But none of them came home, which is… you know what, let’s just forget about it. He made his debut, now he’s got that out of the way, the team rallied ’round and won the game– let’s leave it there.

(In addition, this happened. IT BEGINS.)

Someone had a birthdaaaaaay! Happy 27th, Mr. Boesch.

In order to make room for Smyly, the Tigers had to put Clete Thomas on waivers, as he was out of options. I’m not sure what they thought would happen, but what did happen was this: the Twins snatched him up, and have accepted him into their loving sticky snackcake embrace.

Also, bears.

Sunday was Jackie Robinson Day. Forty-two for all! It is the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, you know.

Doug Fister is all about the Ks.


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Is Doug Fister seducing you? NO. His sexy strikeouts are seducing you. You’re a baseball fan, you are susceptible. Doug Fister was all about the strikeouts on Sunday and you love it.

He lasted 8 innings, throwing 101 pitches. Efficient deliciousness! He allowed two runs, only one of which was earned. He allowed four hits, only one an extra base hit, and that was a Fukudome home run very late in his outing. He walked one. He cut his usual dashingly overlong figure on the mound.

He struck out thirteen. Thirteen. That’s the most Ks he’s thrown in any single game this season. It is the most he’s thrown in any single game in his career. Thirteen Ks in 8 innings is a whole freakin’ lot of strikeouts. I was going to say it was more than even Justin Verlander had thrown, but no, he had that game this year where he struck out 14 Diamondbacks and sent them whimpering away as if he were some sort of snake-killing mongoose. Anyways.

While Fister didn’t get a ton of run support, he did get enough for the win. This is more than he could have said in the first half of the season. Ubaldo Jimenez was pretty good, but Fister was great. This is why we got him, right? Decisive pitching performances against division rivals come September as summer ticks over into fall… that’s the whole POINT of having acquired Doug Fister, isn’t it? It is. It is, and it is particularly lovely to see it work out so well.

Other bits:

–BRENNAN BOESCH IS DONE FOR THE YEAR. His thumb will require surgery, and although they are trying to get him in as quickly as they can, it is pretty much a given that he won’t be ready to return this season. Ugh. No offense to Andy Dirks or the Rhino or whatever, but really… ugh.

–Omir Santos is finally up, so we can expect Alex Avila to get a break. At some point. Probably.

–I got multiple reports, via Twitter and email, that there was a mantis in the Detroit stands for the Sunday game. A mantis! A very large mantis! In the stands! With the fans!

Of course that was the game where the Tigers ripped off 18 runs. This is clearly no coincidence.

–Where is the evil Jason Kipnis? He’s on the DL with a hamstring thing. Although he could be back soonish, it should not be for the Tigers series. I believe I speak for us all when I say: GOOD.

lots of busted Tiger hands, but Max has no such excuse


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Ryan Raburn jammed a finger on his hand while sliding into second base. Brennan Boesch has a torn ligament in his thumb that will require surgery at some point. Both were out of the lineup Monday with their pained paws.

But what was Max Scherzer’s excuse? His paws were in great shape, so far as any of us know, and after we all saw him get tormented by the Royals, you would think that if there WAS an injury brewing in his fingerbits, the team would be quick to get that news out. Injuries explain bad outings. Suddenly forgetting how to pitch to Alex Gordon and his royal blue buddies… that probably does not have a good explanation behind it.

There is a bit of a cushion in the division, but the Tigers DO need to string some wins together, and with the games at home… well. We need to win. You hear, Max? DO YOU HEAR?

Because of the cushion, I am refusing to freak out. Pitchers have bad outings. Even Justin Verlander has days when he’s off, and Max is not Justin Verlander (nobody but Justin Verlander is Justin Verlander). So I am calm. I am totally calm. Calm calm calm.

surfing lessons with the Tigers


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Or just one Tiger, really. You see, a couple of days ago, Rod Allen said this:

Well, you can understand what had to be done here. If there were photos of this momentous occasion it would obviously be better for everyone, but in the absence of such documentation, we will have to be content with a Terrible Cartoon.

bats, bats galore


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Sometimes you see a baseball game that’s just stupid, and nobody deserves to win. There’s no way the Tigers should win a game where Max Scherzer lasts only 5 innings and gives up 5 runs, and then Charlie Furbush has to come in for long relief and he gives up 2 runs, and then the back end of the bullpen is so frustrating that Jim Leyland has to bring in Joaquin Benoit to get an out even though Benoit was supposed to have a firm night off. I don’t know what that is, but it’s not a game that the Tigers win.

Except they did, because HITS HITS BATS HITS CATS WIELDING BATS HOLY CATS HITSSSSSSSS, and Colby Lewis was crying on the inside. You know who got a hit today? EVERYONE. In fact there were only two Tigers hitters who didn’t get extra base hits: Don Kelly and Ryan Raburn. Don Kelly is Don Kelly, and Raburn probably used his entire week’s extra base hit allotment yesterday. Everybody else just went crazy out there.

Especially Brennan Boesch. Clearly the Texas-hot air and the nature of the ballpark lent themselves to home runs– there were 6 total in the game, some of them absolutely crushed– but it still bears mentioning, because Brennan hit TWO home runs all by himself, and a double just for the heck of it. He was responsible for 5 RBIs, which is often more than the entire Detroit offense can manage. Skow.

Other notes from this one:

–Max eats a huge roast beef sandwich before every start. He also hates bananas, but will eat one before deadly hot Texas starts, because he knows he needs his potassium.

–Austin Jackson has been using Victor Martinez’s bats lately.

–Glorious moment captured by the FSD cameras tonight. Leyland was leaning on the dugout rail next to Lloyd McClendon. He took a big wad of bubble gum out of his mouth and stuck it on the rail right where Legendary Lloyd was sure to put his elbow in it. He then kept glancing over and grinning to himself, quickly suppressing it each time so McClendon wouldn’t notice. This went on for a while, with the cameras cutting between game action and the shot of the coaches, Rod and Mario beside themselves with glee.

Eventually McClendon did notice and took the gum off. He gave Leyland a look like, “Dude, seriously?” Leyland responded to this with hearty laughter while McClendon shook his head in what we might safely assume was fond disgust.

During the regular season we all get used to Stoic One Word Answer Jim Leyland, and we’re familiar with Angry Sweary Jim Leyland, but Simple Prankster Jim Leyland is something else. A welcome something else, I might add.

–Rod and Mario mentioned Alex Avila’s superpower! They noted that he has the ability to appear clean-shaven one night, goatee’d the next, and full bearded a day after that. I KNOW GUYS ISN’T IT GREAT?

–Craig Monroe (!) was in the ballpark and stopped by the booth to say hi. Rod said that he had “saved his nickels” and in his baseball-retirement had opened a restaurant and bar. Sure enough, The Internet found it for me: the Twenty7 Sports Bar and Grill. Note the photo of Mr. Monroe posing with his own 2006 Detroit Tigers jersey on the homepage.

–Fabulous MLB article headline for this game.

the creature in the lineup


illustrations by Samara Pearlstein

No, I am not talking about Don Kelly. I’m talking about that moment however many games ago, when Rod Allen referred to Miguel Cabrera and Brennan Boesch together in the lineup as a “two-headed beast”. From the moment those words were uttered, this cartoon became inevitable.

Miggy is currently batting .333 and OPSing 1.079. Brennan is batting .333 and OPSing .906. Beastly.

Other stuff that’s been happening

–Ryan Perry is back. He appears to have two functioning eyeballs, although really if they replaced one with a glass model, or perhaps a cybernetic robot eye, I don’t think I would be able to tell even on an HD broadcast. So we might be making some assumptions here. In any event, Perry is on the roster, and Enrique Gonzalez was sent down to make room for him. Papa Grande lost his shopping-for-the-rookies buddy.

–I found this note to myself in my email account, but I have no idea where it came from. Probably the Tuesday game?

“The only time anyone calls me Phillip is my mother when I’ve done something wrong.” -Phil Coke, via Mario

–Don Kelly batting third, Ryan Raburn getting regular playing time at second base. Why is this happening to us?

–Raburn became the first person ever to hit the roof of Safeco Field in Seattle with a popup. This seems kind of unbelievable but I have no way to fact-check it so I suppose we’ll all just have to believe the Man when he tells us that this is so. Regardless, it was fun when it happened because the ball changed directions when it hit the roof, and we all got to see Chone Figgins run around like a crazy person in pursuit.

–There was some ‘news’ on Joel Zumaya, but it basically amounted to “yeah, he’s still injured, but we are sharing with him the quiet delusion that he can return at some point and pitch in the Majors without his arm exploding. Shhh. Shhh. He wants to believe.”

–Victor Martinez is on the DL with strained groin-bits. He tried to play through them but it was extremely clear that sheer willpower alone was not going to be enough; he could barely move around on the field, and even a DH has to be able to stagger semi-competently around the bases. Omir Santos is up to take his place so we will hopefully never ever need to see Don Kelly, emergency backup catcher, wearing the gear.

MORE IMPORTANTLY. We were informed that Victor Martinez plays the accordion. In fact he played Happy Birthday on his accordion to Miguel Cabrera.

I repeat: VICTOR MARTINEZ PLAYS THE ACCORDION. He owns an accordion. We have a baseball player on the Detroit Tigers who plays the accordion. A-C-C-O-R-D-I-O-N. The fact that there are no photos of this yet is a tragedy of a scope that cannot be comprehended, but until such time as the universe/team photographers see fit to bless us with photographic evidence of Victor Martinez playing the accordion, you’ll have to make do with a Terrible Cartoon.

the Tigers are a mess and so is this blog post


illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Hey so April 12 is Brennan Boesch’s birthday! He turns 26 years old. We’re leading with this because things have become so dire and awful that I think we need to concentrate on the positive. And what is more positive than Brennan Boesch with cake? I know, I know: Brennan Boesch with kittens and also cake. But there can only be one Matt Joyce, you know.

I was going to try to do some kind of comprehensive round-up of all the things that have happened since I last posted here, but I can’t handle something that organized so you’re just getting whatever is rattling around my head on the general subject of the Tigers at the moment.

Good like Brennan’s birthday: Phil Coke, Justin Verlander. Sure, they both ended up with losses, but they both pitched well and that’s what we like to see. Verlander, of course, pitched spectacularly well yesterday, and had no run support to back him up. Phil Coke is no Justin Verlander, but he more than held his own on Saturday as he went 6.2 innings, giving up only two runs on four walks and three hits (all singles). Heck, he struck out 7. Verlander only struck out 4 on Monday. Both had very encouraging outings that were ruined by the fact that the bats hate them. Apparently.

Not good: EVERYTHING ELSE.

–Seriously guys, we need to stop it with the Bruce Chen thing. He’s Bruce Chen. But against the Tigers suddenly he morphs into Roy Halladay? It’s unbelievable. Everyone knows the universe can only support one Roy Halladay at a time.

–Joel Zumaya has been shut down again due to continuing arm pain. Are you surprised? Is anyone, anywhere surprised? Even Zoom’s arm itself is sitting there like, “Ugh, this again? I knew this was going to happen.”

–Now Magglio Ordonez is resting with soreness in his Achilles tendon. I am only mildly surprised by the specific injury– if they call out the Achilles itself, does that mean it’s NOT his Surgically Repaired ankle?– but not at all by the fact of the injured-ness.

–ERRORS. What in the bloody badgers happened on Sunday? There were errors from Porcello, Raburn, Inge, Schlereth… is it possible for a Major League Baseball team to be so deficient in the fundamentals? I mean, yes, obviously it is possible because the Tigers play Major League Baseball and the errors are things that definitely happened, but… but… you know?

–Deliberately putting Miguel Cabrera on base as the tying run, deciding you want to face the next batter in the lineup rather than give Miggy a chance to cut you down… this was precisely the sort of thing that Victor Martinez batting behind Miggy was supposed to eliminate. But the Rangers did it yesterday and it worked out perfectly for them (Victor grounded out to second). I have nothing interesting to say about this. It’s just super wicked frustratingly frustrating.

–Like, ok, there are some things we kind of knew were not going to work (Zoom’s arm, Carlos Guillen’s body). They failed very early, which is unfortunate, but we knew. There are things we hoped would work very well, and for the most part they are (Verlander in a vacuum, to a lesser extent Alex Avila). But there are also things that REALLY OUGHT TO BE WORKING and they just aren’t. Like Rick Porcello. Like facing the Royals at home. Like walking a guy to get to Victor.

These are the things that make fans want to gnaw their own hands off.

(I know it’s still April. But you can only tell yourself that for so long.)

–ALL THESE DAY GAMES. I know they’re trying to outsmart April in the D weather and so far it’s been working, but that doesn’t mean I have to unreservedly love it. Maybe this is why so many things have been so, for lack of a better phrase, topsy-turvy. This many day games in a row is just strange for MLB players. Their usual pregame routines are going to be all out of whack, their meal rotations… even their sleep cycles are probably different.

I am totally going to seize upon this as an explanation. It’s a comfortable one, because the day games won’t go on forever… of course as soon as this series of daylight baseball ends, the Tigers head west where they will be all wonked out on time zone differences. So they will still be off-schedule and tired, just for different reasons, and we will all miss games because we’ve fallen asleep, instead of missing games because we’re at work/school.

SPECTACULAR.

So, um… happy birthday, Brennan!

at least we’re leaving New York now


photo by Samara Pearlstein

What is rational thought? It is the ability to consider things from a standpoint of reason and logic. It is free from overwrought emotions, irrational superstitions, dogged belief without proof, and sea cucumbers (a truly illogical creature). Rational thought is in evidence when someone says, “I would rather my team not play the Yankees because stats X, Y, and Z show that the Yankees are provably, numerically better than my team Q% of the time, where Q is some number greater than 50.”

Rational thought is NOT in evidence when you sit me down in front of a Yankee game and I start frothing at the mouth with foamy, rabid, Boston-bred loathing. I have no rational reasons, although if you ask me for reasons I’ll give you a million, some more solidly based in fact than others. Mark Teixeira? He snubbed Boston, then his wife super-snubbed Boston, so he’s a coprolite for life. Let’s make fun of his stupid face. Bartolo Colon? Call him a digestive tract. ARod? Don’t get me started.

Even some of the definitely fact-based points of rage cannot truly be called rational. For instance, I would like to see Nick Swisher be eaten by wolves, because he’s a filthy Buckeye, you see. That’s a real fact, but rational it is not.

Thus the mere IDEA that the Tigers might lose their entire 2011 opening series to these no-chin-hair-dictator cretins was, therefore, bordering on the nauseating. I KNOW it’s only three games and, in the grand scheme of the season, means very little. I know– rationally– that the Yankees should not be the main concern of the Tigers, who will have plenty to worry about in the Central. I know that struggles against Yankee players should not worry me as much as, say, comparable struggles against the Wrong Sox this year should. I know that we are currently dealing with super small sample sizes and things can change. Things WILL change.

But holy freakin’ cats, if we had been swept by the Yankees, I would have been obligated to melt down in some fashion. The Red Sox were swept in their opening series and the sky is totally falling all over New England. It’s Look Out Below around here, except for the tiny bit David Ortiz is holding up by himself. It may not be rational, but it is how things are done in this region.

I thought I was doomed, because Max Scherzer was not exactly what I would have called ‘sharp’. One of the home runs he gave up (Cano’s) was a cheap ballpark shot, the short-porch kind of hit that wouldn’t be a home run anywhere else in MLB… but Max gave up four home runs all by himself, and they weren’t ALL cheapies. Yeah. That kind of a day.

Thank cats for the offense. Thank cats for Miguel Cabrera, who homered twice, and Brennan Boesch, who went 4-for-4 with 4 RBI and 4 runs scored.

Mr. Boesch is currently batting .625 (in the two games that he’s played). This is most splendid and glorious and ridiculously unsustainable, but his attack on all things Yankee today was so wondrous to behold that we can maybe imagine, just for now, what life would be like if Brennan Boesch continued to hit .625 or thereabouts for the rest of the year. Even just the rest of the month.

Yes, imagine that world. The sky would be blue and free of pollution; the oceans would be clean, and filled with whales who would be endangered no longer. Rainforests would regrow. People would stop firing missiles at each other and there would be hugs all ’round. Will Rhymes would have cured the common cold. The dodo would reappear in the forests, frolicking with the ivory-billed woodpecker. The Tigers would be on top of the division, slaying all who would dare to stand in their way, because the amazingness of Brennan’s bat would have energized the rest of the team, inspiring them to great baseball feats of their own.

A more perfect world than the one we inhabit today, to be sure. But we can glimpse it right now, because of what Brennan Boesch did today. It’s a beautiful thing.

All that is a manifestation of the relief I feel because the Tigers are not going to be swept by the Yankees in their opening series. The Yankees are the worst jerks; losing every game of a series against them is near-intolerable. Ugh. UGH. But we’re ok. It didn’t happen. Brennan Boesch made sure that it was not going to happen. I’m taking deep breaths.

Now the Tigers head off to Baltimore. The Orioles are not the Yankees, and the Cats should be able to play appropriately.

But even if they lose, it will not be nearly as infuriating/sick-making as Yankee losses are. Does this make sense? Not really, of course: a loss is a loss, a win is a win, and the East isn’t the Central. They should all count the same, if we were using logic. Which I most definitely am not.

DIBS awards 2010


illustration by Samara Pearlstein, click to view larger

In previous years the DIBS (Detroit Independent Baseball Scribes) awards were things like Pitcher of the Year and Breakout Player of the Year and Overall Player of the Year, and it was always incredibly obvious who was going to win (Justin Verlander, whichever rookie had had the best season, and Miguel Cabrera respectively). This year I guess Kurt got bored, so he sent out an email asking everyone for suggestions for new categories.

Naturally I fired off a response full of stupidity, rambling, and categories like Most Creative Injury of the Year and The Kyle Farnsworth Brawl Enforcer Award. It is my way. I assumed that everyone else would pipe up with legitimate award categories and maybe I would sneak in one Best Pitching Face award or something and all would be well.

THEN FREAKING NOBODY ELSE RESPONDED and the Bless You Boys AXIS OF EVIL decided to go with a bunch of RotT-style awards as though that was normal and appropriate. It just goes to show that you cannot trust that massive blog-nopoly. I’ve got my eye on you cats from now on.

Best On-Field Celebration

Jose PAPA GRANDE Valverde

Best Hair, Facial or Otherwise

Phil DRINK ME Coke

Best Pitching Face

Justin WAIT THIS AWARD CLEARLY SHOULD HAVE GONE TO VALVERDE Verlander

Best Use of Social Media

Will INTERNETS Rhymes

Biggest Surprise

Brennan FIRST HALF Boesch

Best Value

Austin ACTUAL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR Jackson

Most Valuable

Miguel MVP OF OUR HEARTS Cabrera

So there you have it. You can probably guess which categories were RotT-generated.

The DIBS bloggers responsible for this ridiculousness are:

Bless You Boys AXIS OF EVIL: Kurt Mensching, Allison Hagen, Matt Wallace, David Tokarz and Al Beaton
the Daily Fungo: Mike McClary
DesigNate Robertson: Scott Rogowski
Detroit Tigers Scorecard: Austin Drake
Detroit Tigers Weblog/TigsTown: Billfer
MLive: James Schmehl and Matt Sussman
MLive/SB Nation Detroit: Ian Casselberry, aka THE FATHER OF THE AXIS OF EVIL
Motor City Bengals: John Parent, Matt Snyder, Zac Snyder, and Chris Hannum
Old English D: Jennifer Cosey
TigerBlog: Brian Borawski
Tigers Amateur Analysis: Erin Saelzler
Tigers by the Numbers: Mike Rogers who apparently ALSO writes for BYB, I tell you, it’s getting FRIGHTENING, they are MULTIPLYING like lemmings or zebra mussels
Tiger Tales: Lee Panas
Where Have You Gone, Johnny Grubb?: Greg Eno

And me, of course. So there you have it. Again.